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Stress is a phenomenon that we are all familiar with. Reports, articles and news stories bombard us with news about the increased stress in our daily life and warn us of the dangers of long-term stress.
Although most of us experience some kind of stress on a daily basis (even if it’s only from something like burning the dinner), few may actually know what stress actually is. Stress is our physical, mental, and emotional response to the various demands, changes, and events in our life.
In some cases, stress motivates and encourages us to complete a task we find difficult so that we can take pride in ourselves and what we achieve.
In an ideal world, we would have just enough stress to keep us working to our full potential, but not enough to cause overwhelm or excessive anxiety. Too much or too little stress is where we run into problems.
Stress symptoms begin to manifest themselves when we perceive or feel that life demands are exceeding our ability to deal with them. When stress begins to take its toll, we may experience both physical and psychological effects.
Stress management is a collection of skills, tools, and techniques that help you reduce, manage, and even counteract the negative side-effects of stress.
There are four main strategies for stress management:
- Change the stressors or environment causing your stress
- Change your direct response to these stressors
- Change your attitude and perceptions that affect your responses
- Take active steps to recover from stress
Recommended Resource: 300 Strategies for a Stress-Free Life
It is important to realize that the stress you experience is your unique response to a situation or event. For example, a change such as moving may not be stressful for you, but it could be stressful for your spouse, friend or coworker. It’s actually not the stressor itself that’s harmful, but rather how we respond to these stressors.
Stress affects everyone differently. Some people are naturally good at stress management. Others, however, need a little help. The important thing to remember is that every one needs to find positive ways to cope with stressors and the effects of stress.
Changing the Stressors or Environment
One important aspect of stress management is changing your environment. If your home or office is unorganized, then this can be a source of major stress.
A well organized and calm environment can help improve stress levels and productivity. Other areas that you can improve include air quality, lighting, decorations, noise, and furniture.
Poor air quality can make life unpleasant and poor lighting can cause eyestrain and fatigue. Most people enjoy the bright sunshine, which releases chemicals for improved mood and emotional well-being.
Artificial light does not have the same effect on mood as sunlight. Loud noises can also cause severe stress. Ringing telephones and background noise can hinder your ability to concentrate. Prolonged noise can cause irritability, tension and headaches.
Changing Your Direct Response to Stressors
Managing your reaction to various stressors is also an important stress management strategy. Examples include changing the way you deal with conflict, learning to stop worrying too much, and managing your daily hassles in better ways.
Changing Your Attitude and Perceptions
If you do not have the power to change the stress directly, then the next best thing is to change your mindset and how you view the situation.
Techniques that help you do this include journaling as a way to better understand your thought patterns, examining your beliefs and attitudes, and stress resiliency.
Recover From Stress
There are a number of ways to combat the effects of stress. Many people use specific relaxation techniques including yoga, meditation and breathing techniques.
Other people rely on exercise and participating in their favorite sports and games to spend pent up energy. A healthy diet is also important to help you reduce stress.
Others use journaling and art techniques like painting to help channel their stress.
Choose whatever works for you; but make certain that you find ways to relieve the inevitable stress that life brings.
Stress Management Techniques
Below you'll find links to other stress management techniques and resources available on this website.
- Meditation to induce the relaxation response
- Self hypnosis and visualization
- How to worry less
- Coping with stress by walking
- 300 Strategies for a Stress-Free Life
- Definition of Stress
- Managing Stress
- Stress Balls
- Causes of Stress - Fight or Flight
- Stress relievers
- Stress vitamins
- Stress in the workplace
- Stress relief games
- Stress resiliency
- Depression treatment
Performance coaching for busy executives is a great way to improve your productivity and performance while reducing and managing stress.
If you want to learn how to become a life coach, just follow the link to a great resource website.
Warning: Stress symptoms can be associated with serious medical conditions. The stress management information and techniques in this section are provided as general guidelines for informational purposes only. You should seek the help of qualified medical professionals if you have health or mental concerns over stress. You should also consult with your health care provider before making major changes in your diet or exercise levels.
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