By Natalia Moore of Life Tips
A little of everything is good for you, so the saying goes. This even applies to stress, but a lot is not good.
Stress has many faces. Its most common forms are feelings of being vaguely worried and anxious most of the time but not knowing why, constantly being grouchy and irritable, mulling over problems all the time and generally feeling unable to get on top of things.
People need some stress in their lives to achieve what they want. Without it they become bored and dissatisfied and do very little. Production-line work, much of the tedium of housework and being unemployed can all be extremely stressful because they offer no stimulation.
At the same time, too much stress is bad and can lead to strain and feelings of anxiety and worry.
Stress is the body’s way of adapting to demands made on it. Sometimes our response includes a chain of reactions that prepare us for action: muscles tense, the pulse quickens, breathing becomes quick and deep, blood pressure rises and adrenalin is released into the bloodstream.
You need your own ways of coping with stress. Establish a routine that works and suits you. Here are some approaches:
Work out what causes the stress. Think hard about situations and things that stress you. List those you always dread, especially those that you are preoccupied with before and after they happen, such as having a deadline to meet, traffic jams or disciplining children.
Look at stress realistically. Remind yourself that life has many stressful situations built into it. Accept that life is basically uncertain, that many things are out of your control. You cannot avoid stress, but remember that it is not the event itself but rather how we see the situation that causes stressful emotions. Learn to deal with them so that they don’t upset you.
Have a positive mental outlook. To help reduce stress:
- Cultivate a sense of humor: laughter is often the best medicine.
- Choose to be happy. Think and live positively and believe in yourself.
- Express your true feelings honestly wherever possible, but express them kindly.
- Treat people with the respect you would expect for yourself (including children).
- Believe that the worst can happen. Be prepared.
- Live in the present. Don’t dwell on past mistakes, nothing can change what has happened. Concentrate on what you want to do here and now.
- Remember that there is no outside stress, only a personal reaction to events. Remind yourself that you can learn to control this aspect.
Some approaches to help control stress by altering or changing daily routines and activities are:
- Avoid stressful situations by organizing your time. Get up earlier (and the family, too) to avoid rushed breakfasts, missed buses or traffic jams. Organize your work and plan ahead: work smarter, not harder. Make plans to avoid or deal with troublesome people and events.
- Learn how to be assertive without being rude. When people annoy you, try being nice to them and explain good-naturedly why their words and actions annoy you.
- Talk about your bad feelings. Friends and families often give a new slant on your worries.
- Have a short-term safety valve handy: listening to music, relaxing with a homemade bubble bath, five minutes gardening, a game of squash, a book to read, or an emergency babysitter.
- Take up some interest or hobbies that you enjoy and help you relax.
- If your life is too hectic, deliberately change pace. Concentrate on a few important goals. Don’t feel guilty when you say “no”!
- Learn to relax. Take some time out. Taking a break should help, but an excess of cigarettes and drinks will add to stress.
- Professional help. If you try to get on top of stress using these methods and still feel unable to cope, seek help from your doctor or community health center, who can refer you to programs and courses or to a specialist if needed.
As a lifestyle blogger and health expert from Life Tips, Natalia has a remarkable enthusiasm for reading, discovering, and writing informative health articles. Find more at www.lifetips.top.