Is stress killing us?

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Bees and StressAs I dug into my spring-maintenance work mowing the lawn, spraying weeds and waiting for my plants to bloom, I was entranced by two bees buzzing around my garden. Although these busy bugs seem to have a fairly simple life — hanging around flowers and honey all day — I’ve found it might not be all a bed of roses.

In an article from Kim Flottum on CNN, the Bee Culture magazine editor shares how more than half of all the honeybees died almost all at once this spring, instead of the normal 30 percent that vanishes each year.

On the search for the cause, beekeepers have found malnourished, diseased and generally unhealthy bees. But what’s making them sick is what caught my eye the most: “Their world is overrun with stress.”

“With humans, if we get too little sleep, have a poor diet and take on too much pressure, our stress levels rise and we succumb to ailments our otherwise healthy immune system could easily handle,” Flottum told CNN. “And we get sick. So it is with the bees.”

If flying around the great outdoors is causing bees to drop dead, what chance do we stand with all of life’s pressures? Here are tips for lowering your stress level.

1. Eat right. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. So, making sure you give your body the right fuel helps maintain mental and physical strength. Find superfoods for stress relief.

2. Find the source. Although you may be fuming about your employee being late one day, that might not be the cause of your stress. If you describe your life as “always crazy” or that you have a “million things going on,” you may feel overwhelmed and feel stress from small disruptions. You need to find the root of the issue to feel more in control and less upset. Once you do that, you can avoid those situations, people or topics that you know will raise your stress level.

3. Just relax. As a high-strung person myself, finding the right type of relaxing activity can mean a world of difference. Whether you talk to your spouse, watch your favorite show, take a walk or play fetch with the dog, it’s important to actually relax — instead of thinking about what made you wound up to begin with.

All of these tips may sound like common sense: eat healthily, know what’s bothering you and just have a good time. But, if they were so easy, there would be fewer stressed-out people. And maybe a few extra bees.

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