June 18 is International Panic Day. Use it as an excuse to panic about everything under the Sun, or take the day to evaluate your priorities and eliminate anything that causes you stress and anxiety.
It is a fact of life that as we grow older, life can get complicated. This made-up holiday is an acknowledgement that work, finances, health and relationships can all sometimes get overwhelming and that it is necessary to take a pause once in a while and relax. The holiday encourages people to find ways to reduce and manage their stress.
A similar holiday, called Panic Day is also sometimes observed on March 9.
Harmful to Health
Stress is not always a bad thing. In the short-term, stress is the body's response to threats. Stress hormones released in the body increase heartbeat and the flow of oxygen to the brain, and help an individual appropriately react and respond to the threat. However, in the long-term, anxiety and stress can be harmful to a person's physical, mental and social health. Chronic stress can negatively affect the heart, the immune system and the digestive system. People with chronic stress are more likely to suffer from aches and pains, and may be at a higher risk for heart diseases, stroke, type II diabetes, and a weak immune system.
Negative Social Impact
Chronic stress can also lead to depression and other mental health issues. Studies have shown that people who are stressed tend to be socially withdrawn, and have trouble forging new and supportive relationships. This can lead to a vicious cycle – people who suffer from chronic stress need social and personal support to deal with their anxieties, but these very anxieties do not let them create strong and supportive social bonds.
Managing stress is not easy, but with a little bit of determination and support, it can be done. Experts suggest that the first step to stress management is to recognize the sources of your anxieties. Once you have done that, find ways to either eliminate them or work on reducing your interaction with them. For example, if you are stressed because of a person, one way to help yourself is to find a way to reduce your interaction with her or him. If driving to work is stressing you out, ask your boss if you can work from home some days of the week?
How to Observe?
Take the day off and relax. It is for good reason that today is also International Picnic Day. What better way to relax and forget all your stresses than by going on a picnic?
Go to the store and treat yourself to some aromatic candles. It has been shown that soothing music and pleasant smells can help reduce stress.
Go for a long walk in the park and commune with nature.
Read, get a new hobby or get involved in social activities. The more you are busy, the less time you will have to think about your stressors.
Recruit a stress buddy – someone who can calm you and work through the futility of panicking with you. Every time you feel life is overwhelming you, call them and ask them for their help.
Did You Know…
…that the word panic is derived from the Greek word associated with the Greek shepherd god Pan? According to mythology, Pan amused himself by striking fear among travellers in the woods.