Recently, my wife and I were having dinner with another couple when the topic of the pace of life came up. They were sharing with us the amount of things pulling at them, the responsibility of trying to respond and do everything and how stressful life has become.
The next day, as I reflected back on the conversation, it got me thinking about the stress epidemic we have in our nation. According to the American Institute of Stress, 75-90% of all visits to a primary care physician’s office are related to some type of stress disorder. The fact that the stress management industry is flourishing is another indication that many people feel overwhelmed.
Many take short courses or read books to learn techniques for stress management—things like time management skills, coping mechanisms, relaxation techniques and other strategies.
We’ve all heard and may even use a common phrase, “I’m stressed out!” But what does that really mean? Does it mean a person is in a panic mode while facing a deadline? Does it mean feeling overwhelmed for a day or having too much to do and too little time to do it?
I’m not sure, and I am certainly not a stress management expert, but I think stress is the pressure of life and how each individual perceives, believes, responds and copes with those pressures.
The potential sources of stress are everywhere. But one thing is for sure: all forms of stress produce well-documented physical reactions in the body. Webster’s defines stress as “a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.”
Our body’s stress response involves more than 1,400 known physical and chemical reactions. Excessive release of “stress hormones” is what damages cells, tissues and organs. This month, as another summer comes to end, school starts up, football season kicks off and a plethora of activities begin to fill our schedules, I want to remind you that while some things are out of our control, many things are under our control. The right perspective can help relieve and overcome stress. Here are just a few:
1. We can control our thoughts.
2. We can control our schedule.
3. We can control our social situations.
4. We can control, to a certain extent, our exposure to toxic environments.
There are many more things we all have control over, but the point is you have to be aware of them and own up to the truth that you do have control over significant portions of your life.
Dr. Albert Ellis, a renowned psychologist, once said, “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide the problems are your own. You don’t blame them on your mother, the ecology or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.” He was right.
Research has proven that positive habits like exercise, prayer and mediation, eating healthy, learning to relax and other things can help to significantly decrease stress in our lives. Perception is everything when it comes to stress. What one person perceives or believes to be an extremely stressful situation, another person may find enjoyable or exciting. So whatever situation you’re in, keep it all in perspective and choose to stress less.
In a mid-size town like Baton Rouge, our TV anchors and news personalities become de facto local celebrities for many reasons. Most of all, we see them each day and welcome these familiar faces into our homes to relay important information about our community. No one had done this longer in the Capital City than George Sells, who retired this summer after 24 years as a nightly news anchor for WAFB.
A Tennessee native, graduate of Northwestern University outside of Chicago, and a veteran of ABC News in New York City, Sells is a fascinating character, and a throwback to the days when veteran journalists lead off the nightly broadcast with hard news. Amy Alexander spent time with Sells during his last week on the job at WAFB, and her portrait of this one-of-a-kind newsman begins on page 32.
The Zach attack
With the season opener versus North Texas on Sept. 1, Baton Rougeans turn their eyes to Tiger football this month. And no one—not even returning Heisman finalist Tyrann Mathieu—is in a spotlight quite as bright as the one shining on junior quarterback and first-time starter Zach Mettenberger.
Leading a talent-loaded LSU team this fall is just the latest step in a long collegiate journey for the young Georgia native. 225 contributor Lee Feinswog interviewed an outspoken Mettenberger about what has brought him to LSU, how he’s learned from past mistakes and matured into a young man poised to lead the Bayou Bengals into battle ?in the SEC.
Avenue Rouge Runway
Tickets for 225’s and inRegister’s Avenue Rouge Runway Fashion Show are on sale now. The event is Thursday, Sept. 27, at Celtic Media Centre, and we will have an exciting New York City theme. We will have amazing food, music and unique “gourmet take out” dishes by Edible Event. Tickets are expected to sell out fast, so get yours at 225batonrouge.com/section/avenuerougerunway. And don’t forget, you are invited to join us for 225’s Hot Off the Press party celebrating the September fashion issue at the Renaissance Hotel on Aug. 29. Visit 225batonrouge.com/section/HOP for details.
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Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.
These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
On Saturday the two blocks between Bedford and Beverly drives on April 13, 2013, residents will get to see a model of what Government Street could look like if we push local and state officials to update the roadway to a safer, more "complete street" model.