The Truth About Stress Management
No matter what you have heard or how many self-help books you have read, you can not eliminate stress in a minute of meditation each day! We all know stress. It is what motivates us to function in life. Without it, we could not survive. However, there is a point where normal stress ends and the associated problems begin. This is when stress management becomes necessary in order to protect both mental and physical well-being. Go to the US National Library of Medicine to learn more about the serious effects of stress.
Having too much to deal with can cause you to experience too much stress. Often, you may not even realize what is causing you to feel stress until you feel the sense of relief that comes when the cause is no longer an issue. In order to use stress management, you must first identify the source of your stress.
Effective Stress Management Depends on the Type of Stress You Have
Stress is your body’s way of responding to the demands that are placed on you. There are two different types of stress. Acute stress is a type of stress that is triggered when something new is the cause while that which results from an ongoing issue is chronic stress.
The fight-or-flight response that is the body’s instant response to a threat is the same thing as acute stress. While this type of stress occurs when you have an accident on your way home from work, it is also the type of stress that your body feels when you ride on a roller coaster. Stress management isn’t something you normally have to consider with this type of stress. Acute stress happens instantly and then it is over. There are instances, however, where it can cause such an intense response that it can lead to mental or physical problems.
Chronic stress is a different issue altogether. It is the type of stress that builds up and overwhelms your mind and your body. Without stress management, chronic stress can cause illness including headaches and sleep disorders as well as more serious conditions.
For Stress Management, Determine what is Stressing You Out
You can't fix a problem when you don’t know what it is and you can’t use stress management without knowing what you are managing. It may help you to make a list of the things that are causing you to stress. Include things that you consider obstacles or worries. While some of these are likely outside issues or events and situations that are happening in your life. Major life changes are included in this category such as moving, getting married or divorced, having a baby, or a serious illness.
Stress management techniques for these types of stressors include managing your lifestyle by eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise, and getting the required amount of sleep. Improving your organizational skills to help you manage your time and responsibilities can also be effective methods of stress management.
Other types of stress are those which you cause yourself. Phobias can cause stress by causing you to worry about having to face your fears. Another self-induced stressor includes predicting an unhappy outcome to a future event such as considering what the result of a medical test will be, how a job interview will go, or whether a party you are hosting will be a success.
Using Stress Management
Once you have identified what is causing your stress, it is time to put stress management to work for you. It is important to understand that you can only improve the way you handle, or “manage”, stress. It isn’t possible to eliminate it or you could not survive and function.
Different people respond to stressful situations in different ways. Overeating is a common response to stressful situations and so is getting angry, becoming depressed, or indulging in smoking or drinking.
Simple Steps in Stress Management
- Once you know the source of your stress, cut back on your responsibilities if at all possible. Delegate authority at work and at home.
- Get organized and be prepared for what is ahead of you. Determine what you want from each event and leave room for things to go wrong. For instance, if you have an important meeting at 8 am, don’t go in at the last minute. Consider the traffic that might keep you from getting there on time and leave early enough “just in case”.
- Find something that you enjoy and which relaxes you and set aside time for it each day. If that means reading a book by your favorite author for fifteen minutes in the evening, then do that. If you start walking around the block for thirty minutes at lunch, go for it! Find the activity that makes you feel calm and relaxed and give yourself permission to enjoy it.
- Get enough sleep. Just because you are in the habit of sleeping for six hours doesn’t mean that’s enough.
- If following the stress management techniques don't work, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.
- Make sure you get all the nutrients your body needs! If - like many people - you cannot achieve this through your diet, think about supplementing your diet. It can have a greater impact than you'd imagine!
Stress management is important because stress doesn’t go away on its own. Don’t ignore stress; take control so that you won’t pay the price with poor health!