It’s no surprise that major life events – such as a death in the family or job loss – can cause harmful stress. But so can other factors beyond your control, such as heartbreaking news of flooding victims that leaves you feeling helpless and stressed. Then there’s life’s more day-to-day worries, hassles and demands – such as ever-rising petrol prices that are putting a pinch on your finances, or disturbing headlines in your morning newspaper.
Experiencing ongoing stress – even at low levels – can have a negative effect on your health and well-being. That’s why stress management isn’t something to reserve only for difficult times, but something to practice on a daily, ongoing basis.
What you can do
You likely can’t change the cause of world events. Certain stressful situations in your own life may not have an immediate remedy. However, you might be able to begin managing the stress you feel. Steps you can take include:
- Catching it early – Any Number of signs and symptoms, such as headache , gut discomfort, tense muscles and fidgety sleep, maybe early indicators of too much stress. When you feel stress coming on, it may be time to step back, take a breath and put your stress management techniques into practice.
- Exercise – People who exercise are better able to cope with stress and less likely to become depressed or anxious. Even a short walk can improve mood and reduce feelings of stress.
- Eating well – A healthy diet gives you the energy to handle daily stress. Conversely, skipping meals and making poor food choices can contribute to fatigue, greater susceptibility to illness and a general feeling of poor health.
- Getting adequate sleep – Fatigue can make stress worse. When you feel refreshed and alert, you’re better able to tackle problems.
- Setting limits – It may be difficult to say no, but saying no to some tasks can help make you more productive and successful with the tasks you choose to take on.
- Find a friend – Whether venting your frustrations or listening to words of encouragement, friends can provide needed social support. If your friend can make you laugh, all the better, laughter has been shown to reduce stress and tension. Practice asking for help but does if you could benefit from assistance. That can be a friend to, taking your mind of daily worries.
- Pleasant distractions – A good book or a movie can help redirect your thoughts from unproductive worry.
- Relaxing – True relaxation involves a feeling of peace of mind. You may find a hobby or certain form of exercise particularly relaxing. You may relax with medication or prayer. Deep, slow breathing or simply tensing and releasing different muscle groups throughout your body are other ways of feeling calm.
- Positive thinking – Throughout The day, stop and evaluate the endless stream of thoughts that run through your mind each day. Are they positive or negative? If they’re negative, try to reframe to thoughts in a positive way.
- Getting help if needed – If stress is affecting your ability to work on find pleasure in life, seek help from your doctor or a mental health professionals. Getting outside help isn’t a sign of weakness. It takes strength to admit that you may need help – and getting help is the sign of a good judgement.
Stress and Your Health
Not all stress is bad. Life without can be boring. Tolerable amount of stress can make a challenging task exciting and increase productivity. In fact, studies have shown that short-lived bouts of stress may boost your immune system.
Situations that create stress vary from person to person. Your personality, genes, experiences and your ability to cope influence how you deal with stressors. For you, preparing the annual sales chart may be stressful, but an altercation with a traffic cop hardly bothers you. Others might be just the opposite.
But stress can become overwhelming. It can cause you to feel out of control or to feel like you’re under constant or intense pressure. Many of the physical reactions that accompany severe stress can suppress your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness, or increasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. Stress may also worsen certain health conditions, such as asthma, gastrointestinal problems, skin disorders, chronic pain and cardiac and mental health problems.
Identify and practice stress management strategies to lessen any impact of life’s major and minor stressors.