Stress is an unavoidable factor in anyone’s lives these days. Whether it is through work, family, school or other situations, stress is a dangerous and silent monster. Stress can pop up at anytime, and has an adverse effect on a number of things, from your general well-being, to your heart, to your sleeping habits, to your interpersonal relationships. Stress can make good things bad, and bad things worse. Coping with stress is an important skill today, and something that they simply don’t teach in school. Here are a couple of tips for coping with stress.
One of the first things you need to know when coping with stress is your “stressor(s)”. This is the circumstance, food, drink, or place that heightens your feelings of stress. Some of these are obvious: a high-pressure job. Others aren’t so simple, such as particular dietary choices. Learning about what stresses you out is a key first step in coping with stress.
Knowing what stresses you out is sometimes all it takes; being aware of your stressors will sometimes eliminate themselves. Many people “feel” stress by feeling helpless and unknowledgeable. Many people feel better simply knowing what is going on. Obviously, if this isn’t the case, you would do well in coping with stress by eliminating the circumstances that stress you out. Some of this is impossible; you can’t get rid of your kids because they stress you out. But you would be surprised what getting some babysitting once in while “just for a break” could do to help with that. That is to say, if you can’t eliminate the stressor, perhaps you can minimize it or cut back.
Finally, you might have a stressor that you can’t get rid of or diminish. In this case, I follow my dad’s advice: deal with it. This isn’t some John Wayne, tough-love stuff, either. He meant, deal with the stress, as in, find a way to “de-stress”. Many people find that exercise, a natural mood-booster, also works greatly in lowering stress levels. Apart from exercise, there are many de-stressing activities. To cope with your stress, find one of these activities and set aside time for it each day.
I think Elvis Presley called it, “Taking Care Of Business”. If you have a problem that needs to be taken care of, stop procrastinating and just do what needs to be done. It may be hard to face, but once it’s dealt with the stress in your life will go way down.
Surround youself with positive people: If you have toxic people in your life, that is, people who make you feel uncomfortable, bad about yourself, lacking in some way, jumpy, sad, essentially too much negative emotion, limit the amount of time you spend with those people, or cut them out of your life. It’s impossible to cut out certain people like beloved family members and co-workers, but you can in these cases, organize your life in such a way that you spend less time with them than you ordinarily would. And when you do have to spend time with a toxic person, schedule some time with a person whom you find uplifting afterward. It will be a positive antitode.
Try positive visualization and affirmations: There are loads of books on the market with instructions on how to use these powerful tools. Many of us run negative stress-producing thoughts without even realizing we’re doing it 24/7. It is possible to replace these with positive thoughts and mental pictures. In fact, it is imperative to do so to reduce stress and living a more rewarding life.
Stay away from caffeine: The temporary boost it gives you isn’t worth its cost in added jumpiness and roller coaster energy swings.
Start writing down your thoughts in a journal, both everything that worries you and everything you love about your life (that you can think of in one sitting). Then be done with it for the day, and go about living.
Get plenty of exercise: Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good. It’s also very good for your overall health and can often pop you out of a worried state of mind. It’s also very beneficial for people who have depressive tendencies.
Try seeing a counselor or hypnotherapist. There’s nothing quite like having the attention of a trained professional, someone who listens well and has some insights and ideas for you to try. Each of us is unique, and good therapists realize this, knowing that what works to reduce stress for one person isn’t going to work for another person. It’s always good to get a helping hand.
Allow yourself a few minutes each day, a very limited time, to worry to the hilt. Exaggerate your fears and negative mental images. Then when your time’s up. Let is go until your next scheduled worry session.
Take a break from the media for a while-TV, radio, newspaper, magazines. Read a good, uplifting book instead, and go for long walks. It’s amazing what even just a few days of this can do to improve your frame of mind. You might want to make it permanent.
Bottom line, coping with stress is important, and not just for your mood. Stress has been linked as a major risk factor in a number if illnesses, especially heart disease. Stress also makes your immune system weaker, making you more susceptible to common colds and flus. Removing or reducing stress, as well as finding de-stressing activities are crucial when coping with stress, and, by default, improving your life.