We all respond to stress differently so, there’s no “one size fits all” solution to managing stress. But if you feel like the stress in your life is out of control, it’s time to take action. Stress management can teach you healthier ways to cope with stress, help you reduce its harmful effects, and prevent stress from spiraling out of control again in the future. The answer matters a lot for your health. If you’re stressed often over time, it puts you at risk for heart disease, depression, and other problems.
It’s easy to identify sources of stress following a major life event such as changing jobs, moving home, or losing a loved one, but pinpointing the sources of everyday stress can be more complicated. It’s all too easy to overlook your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your stress levels. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that is causing the stress.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
• Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
• Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)?
• Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
1. Ask yourself what you can do about the sources of your stress. Think through the pros and cons. Take action where you can.
2. Keep a positive, realistic attitude. Accept that although you can’t control certain things, you’re in charge of how you respond.
3. Stand up for yourself in a polite way. Share your feelings, opinions, or beliefs, instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
4. Learn and practice relaxation techniques. Try breathing exercises or prayer.
5. Exercise regularly. You’ll feel better and be more prepared to handle problems.
6. Eat healthy. When you’re stressed, you’ll probably want less-nutritious comfort foods, but if you overdo them, they’ll add to your problems.
7. Try to manage your time wisely.
8. Say no, where you can, to things that would add more stress to your life.
9. Make time for hobbies and interests.
10. Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
11. Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or food to help against stress.
12. Spend time with people you love.
13. Talk with a counselor or take a stress management class for more help.
How Does Stress Affect Health?
Stress that continues without relief can lead to headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, problems with sleeping or sex, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.
On top of that, if you handle stress with food, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling, overspending, or other things that don’t solve the problem, you’re going to end up with more stress.
What Are the Warning Signs of Stress?
Chronic, ongoing stress can wear down the body’s natural defenses, leading to symptoms including:
• Dizziness or a general feeling of “being out of it”
• General aches and pains
• Grinding teeth, clenched jaw
• Indigestion or acid reflux symptoms
• Increase in, or loss of, appetite
• Muscle tension in neck, face, or shoulders
• Problems sleeping
• Racing heart
• Cold and sweaty palms
• Tiredness, exhaustion
• Trembling or shaking
• Weight gain or loss
• Upset stomach, diarrhea
• Sexual problems
• Being irritable, impatient, or forgetful http://ow.ly/i/hjAld