What is Stress?
Stress is experienced when we encounter changes. Many people feel "stressed out" by the pressures and fast pace of modern life, as we are constantly changing, sometimes in rather rapid succession.
Managing stress involves taking charge of your thoughts, emotions, environment (including schedule) and the way you deal with challenges.
The stress reaction activates a cascade of events in your body in response to a perceived threat. Hormones are released that increase your heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure; alter your metabolism; and cause many other physical changes intended to help you survive the threat.
Stress Management 101
- Avoid unnecessary stress.
- Learn how to say no.
- Avoid people who stress you out.
- Avoid lengthy to-do lists (ask yourself what is essential to be done today).
- Control your environment to reduce stress (change traffic route or avoid news if those are stressful to you).
- Alter the situation.
- Express your feelings rather than bottling them up.
- Be willing to compromise.
- Be more assertive.
- Manage your time more effectively.
- Adapt to the stressor.
- Reframe problems.
- Look at big picture.
- Adjust your standards.
- Focus on the positive.
- Accept the things you can't change.
- Learn to forgive.
- Realize that you can't control everything.
Most Stressful Life Events
Both positive and negative events can increase stress, as the stress reaction is what helps us adapt to change. Here are the top 10 most stressful life events:
- Death of a partner or spouse
- Separation from a partner or spouse (due to injury, illness, employment or other circumstances)
- Death of a close family member
- Personal injury or illness
- Dismissal from work
- Change of job/starting a new job
Make Time For You
It is important to do something you enjoy every day. A good sense of humor can help during stressful times, and getting enough sleep is essential. Also, make sure you are not isolating yourself. We all need people in our lives. Try to avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs as these tend to make matters worse in the long run.
Here are a few ways you may choose to relax and unwind.
- Go for a walk.
- Spend time with a friend.
- Take a bath.
- Write in your journal.
- Light some candles.
- Listen to some positive music.
- Watch a comedy.
- Play with your pet.
- Read a book.
- Work in your garden.
- Have a massage.
- Have an aromatherapy session.