Of course, stress isn't always a bad thing. In small doses it can help motivate you by providing the edge needed to gear up to a higher level of performance.
Quite often it can be the push that propels you to do your best; however, if you always operate at full throttle, it will take a hazardous toll on your mind and body.
Stress is a normal physical response to real or imagined
threats. It is
the body's 'fight-or-flight' reaction to impending harm or danger - a
necessary defense mechanism wired into us since the beginning of our
existence. When working properly the stress response helps us stay
focused and alert. In extreme cases it's what gives us both that extra
boost of strength and energy to defend ourselves in life threatening
situations, as well as the ability to react with extraordinary speed
and presence of mind in the face of imminent danger.
Of course, the type of stress we deal with daily is somewhat different from the stress needed to keep us alert and vigilant. The stress that we need management strategies for is the type that makes us feel 'not in control' and damages health, productivity, relationships and overall quality of life. While it may appear that we have no control over this type of stress, we have more than we realize.
For one thing, while we may not be able to control certain stressful situations in our lives, we can certainly control how we respond to them and we can respond by taking charge of our thoughts, emotions and manner in which deal with them.
Stress management entails changing what we can about a stressful situation when possible, or changing our response to it when we cannot. Ultimately, the goal is to live a balanced life with time for work, leisure and relationships by having the ability to deal with pressure and stressful situations with resilience and composure.
See article: 5 Tips for a Well Balanced Life
➢ Reduce effects of stress by eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. I don't know about you, but when I'm hungry, sluggish (from inactivity) or tired, I am very stressed and grumpy! Not getting the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy causes both mental and physical stress; so does not getting enough sleep. And regular exercise not only releases tension and stress while you're doing it, it builds stamina and endurance enabling you to handle stress better. Most people totally underestimate the importance of maintaining good physical health to ward off stress and anxiety.
of Regular Exercise
➢ Accept that there are things you cannot change. As we all know, there are many things in life beyond our control such as the death of a loved one, job loss, illness, or even the behavior of others. As difficult as it may be at first, in such cases, the best thing we can do is accept things as they are. Secondly, we can choose how to react to the event. Some constructive ways include:
✓ expressing what you are going through to a friend or
✓ keeping a journal to record thoughts and feelings (cathartic)
✓ looking for opportunities for growth; learning from the experience (productive)
✓ developing resilience (building inner strength)
There are also more common causes of unavoidable stress such as job interviews, taking an exam, having to make a presentation, a disagreement with someone, and similar situations. In such cases it helps to to know how to stay as composed as possible. Deep breathing techniques, visualization (mentally rehearsing the event) and preparing yourself as much in advance as you can, dramatically lessens the stress you will experience.
➢ Manage stress in healthy ways.
Do you currently
cope with stress in healthy or unhealthy ways? If your current coping
mechanisms are unhealthy, you are compounding the problem. Unhealthy
ways of handling stress include, abusing alcohol, taking various pills,
smoking, over or under eating, watching too much television, taking
your frustrations out on others, and
avoidance of your
problems. If you are already under stress and dealing with it in ways that are detrimental to your health, you are making matters much worse by compounding the stress.
Not surprisingly, we all have unique responses to
stress and how we choose to handle it. The trick is to find what works
One of the best studied stress relievers is the relaxation response, first described by Harvard's Herbert Benson, M.D. The beauty of this technique is that it requires no special posture or place. For instance, if you happen to be stuck in traffic, or if you're having trouble falling asleep you can do it. Here's how: