Unfortunately, there are many times in our lives when stress creeps in and causes great angst. If you are over 40 and stressed you are not alone. Life is busy and work, kids, school and responsibilities can seem overwhelming at times. Do you feel stress getting you down? Here are some tips to help deal with stress and its after-effects.

Stress has become a major cause of anxiety and panic attacks. If not dealt with, it can have an incapacitating effect on your life. More often than not, most people with A-type personalities are prime candidates for stress induced symptoms. The perfectionism they seek in everything they do never quite measures up to their expectations. This is not a perfect world; and it’s time those who live in it realize they aren’t perfect either.

Most people deal with stress in different ways; either they ignore the initial problem which caused it; retreat within themselves, or fall apart. However, those who recognize the signs nip it in the bud before it completely takes over.

Using simple exercises can relieve the onset of stress. For example: While sitting at your desk at work, breathing exercises can bring you back to a calm state. Going outside for some fresh air also helps. Walking or running for 20 minutes can release endorphins which relieve stress.

Listening to classical music lowers the blood pressure, and brings calm within.

Sometimes, however, stress reveals itself in other ways. Light-headedness, an inability to focus, feelings of pressure and palpitations are all symptoms of stress. Moreover, continued stress can produce anxiety, panic, and the fright or flight syndrome.

Here is one such case of how stress can simply overwhelm and, in some cases, debilitate. A secretary was called into her administrator’s office, which was quite large and comfortable. As she was taking dictation, she suddenly found it hard to breathe; began to lose focus; and a queasy feeling in her stomach ensued. She could no longer concentrate on his voice, and ran out of the room.

Unbeknownst to her, she had just experienced an anxiety attack brought on by stress. However, while there was nothing stressful going on at the time, she later identified the cause. An unpleasant thought had entered her mind while she was taking dictation, causing fear to take over forcing her to flee the office. Upon further examination, it was determined the stress in her home life simply became too much, and filtered its way in to her work day.

If stress is getting you down, examine the cause. Determine the origin, and discuss it with a professional or a loved one. Stress, if not acted upon, can cause serious health problems. Avoid it getting out of control, if you can and remember — it is not the event that is the stressor but how you are dealing with it. Learn to master your reaction to events and your stress levels will drop dramatically.