Stress is a fact of everyday life. When people reach out for help, they are often dealing with circumstances, situations,and stressors in their lives that leave them feeling emotionally and physically overwhelmed.
Stress: What is it?
Although we all talk about stress, it often isn’t clear what stress is really about. Many people consider stress to be something that happens to them, an event such as an injury or a job loss. Others think that stress is what happens to our body, mind, and behavior in response to an event (E.g. heart pounding, anxiety, or nail biting). While stress does involve events and our response to then, these are not the most important factors. Our thoughts about the situations in which we find ourselves are the critical factor.
Stress is a normal part of life
When something happens to us, we automatically evaluate the situation mentally. We decide if it is threatening to us, how we need to deal with the situation, and what skills we can use. If we decide that the demands of the situation outweigh the skills we have, then we label the situation as “stressful” and react with the classic “stress response.” If we decide that our coping skills outweigh the demands of the situation, then we don’t see it as “stressful.”
How to recognize stress?
Many people feel that they have very little resources or skills to deal with the high levels of stress they are experiencing. Stress can come from any situation or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or anxious. Everyone sees situations differently and has different coping skills. For this reason, no two people will respond exactly the same way to a given situation.
Causes of Stress: Stress situations
Additionally, not all situations that are labeled “stressful” are negative. The birth of a child, being promoted at work, or moving to a new home may not be perceived as threatening. However, we may feel that situations are “stressful” because we don’t feel fully prepared to deal with them.
Stress is normal, stress is good
Stress is a normal part of life. In small quantities, stress is good; it can motivate you and help you become more productive. However, too much stress, or a strong response to stress can be harmful. How we perceive a stress provoking event and how we react to it determines its impact on our health. We may be motivated and invigorated by the events in our lives, or we may see some as “stressful” and respond in a manner that may have a negative effect on our physical, mental, and social well-being.
Consequences of Stress If we always respond in a negative way
, our health and happiness may suffer. By understanding ourselves and our reaction to stress-provoking situations, we can learn to handle stress more effectively. In the most accurate meaning, stress management is not about learning how to avoid or escape the pressures and turbulence of modern living; it is about learning to appreciate how the body reacts to these pressures, and about learning how to develop skills which enhance the body’s adjustment. To learn stress management is to learn about the mind-body connection and to the degree to which we can control our health in a positive sense.
Top 10 Tips for Coping with Stress
1. Avoid self medication with nicotine, too much coffee, alcohol or tranquillizers.
2. Work off stress – physical activity is a terrific outlet.
3. Don’t put off relaxing.
4. Get enough sleep to recharge your batteries.
5. If you become sick, don’t try to carry on as if you are not.
6. Agree with somebody – life should not be a constant battleground.
7. Learn to accept what you cannot change.
8. Manage your time better and learn to delegate.
9. Know when you are tired and do something about it.
10. Plan ahead by saying ‘no’ now. You may prevent too much pressure piling up in the future.
Maintaining a sense of humor is worth remembering too!
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