07 Jan Understanding and Coping with Stress
They say life begins at forty; while this is also the peak life stress point. Home, career, relationships and even your self are all stress contributors. Some stress, especially when kept under reasonable control is positive and healthy and can help us perform gracefully under pressure. On the other hand, mishandled stress can pose several serious and even life threatening health threats.
Stress is an adrenaline-related response to the various events that we perceive as threats. The nervous system releases hormones that prepare us for fight or flight. Your muscles become tense, the heart starts pounding faster, and your breath starts to quicken. These are some of the physiologic responses to stressful agents.
Chronic stress can disrupt the important organ functions in the body. It may cause sleep disorders, widespread pain, obesity, skin problems, digestive problems and an unsound mind. It can go as far as contributing to heart diseases, lowered immune system responses, early signs of aging, and serious problems related to anxiety and depression. Stress can also exacerbate present health problems. The need for a healthy way of managing stress is imperative to prevent these dreaded diseases before they materialize.
Be aware of the ill-effects of stress. It is very important to realize that mismanaged stress is a silent assassin that can easily cripple a happy and healthy life. Once you have an understanding of the bad effects of stress, it convinces you to exert a conscious effort in controlling these stressors in your life.
Identify your stressors and know how you respond to each. As the saying goes, keep your friends close and your enemies closer; and uncontrolled stress is the enemy. Create a journal that lists the things, people and events that make you feel uncomfortable, and make another list of your responses to various stressors. The goal is to get a clear picture of which stressors you handle well, and which ones are problematic. There’s no such thing as zero stress. Write down even the littlest detail as it can also be a rewarding experience to know that there are stress agents that you can handle smoothly.
Once you have reviewed your list, you may want to concentrate on the ones that you’re having a hard time dealing with. Sort out those situations or people that bring out the monster in you, and follow these simple steps to properly managing them.
Avoid unnecessary stress, and adapt to the ones which cannot be altered. Unnecessary stressors are the ones that can be easily avoided by saying “no”. It just takes the proper heart and attitude to learn to be self protective. Say you know your job skills well, and your boss asks you to do a task you know you can’t handle. Don’t push yourself. Politely decline your employer stating that the project might turn out more successful if another skilled colleague handles it. Adapting to the stressor is a heroic and fulfilling act. Learning to accept and adjusting to the things you can’t change can add more years to your life.
Learn proper time management. It is a wise idea to keep a planner. It gives you an idea of how a busy day in your life goes, and you get to evaluate which events are important, and weed out activities which are stressfully unproductive.
Live a healthy lifestyle. Avoid cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. Engage in regular exercise and a balanced diet. Get enough rest and ample amounts of fluid.
Relax, relax, relax!!! Indulge in periods of refreshing moments with family and friends at least once a week! Doing something you enjoy adds to your sense of well-being. You will build stronger relationships and brighten your life outlook.
Want more tips in stress-reduction? Tune in daily for Boomer Yearbook’s self-help and coaching articles.
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