How To Keep Stress In Check
Who isn’t stressed these days? Deadlines at work, traffic jams, chores at home and these are just the most trivial of examples. Stressors in our everyday life are numerous and varied but their effects on our health and peace of mind are invariably negative. Chronic stress can cause physical reactions such as pain in the chest, headache, increased heart rate, shortness of breath and other unpleasantries and it could very well lead to serious problems such as high blood pressure, sleeplessness and weight fluctuations. There are scores of tips and advice about how to reduce your levels of stress, from meditation to jogging but before starting to try them one by one, heed the warning of the American Institute of Stress: there is no universal remedy for stress.
Like psychological therapy, stress management strategies should focus on the individual and the specific things that cause the stress. You are supposed to be the one who knows yourself the best, so ask yourself what’s stressing you every day, make a list if you think that’ll help, and it usually does. After you’ve identified your major stressors — you could never eliminate all stressors, great and small, so focusing on the great ones is the smart thing to do — think about how you can get rid of them or change your own attitude to them. For example, if you really hate to be stuck in traffic every single day, give public transport a try. Yet if you’re likely to feel even more anxious and nervous on the bus than in your own car, maybe a change of perception is in order. Think of the positive sides to driving to and from work, such as enjoying the peace and quiet alone in the car, having your own personal space, things like that. There is never just a negative side to such a situation, with a little effort you could see a silver lining in almost every cloud.
Positivity, according to the Mayo Clinic Center for Integrative and Complementary Medicine, is one of the key factors for successful stress management. Being optimistic, says scientific research, reduces the harmful effects of stressful situations on your mind and body and it helps you deal better with such situations. Also, you could change the way you respond to a potentially stressful event, even though you can’t change the event itself. Think about, for instance, how important it is for you to get to work at exactly 9am and not a second later. Is it a question of life and death? If the answer is yes, why don’t you consider starting off earlier than usual to minimize the risk of coming in late? There is usually more than one solution to a problem, and some are better than others, just pick the one that suits you best.
The best way to manage stress is to prevent it to the greatest degree possible. Try to get enough sleep, eat well and try to drop or at least cut bad habits. Knowing they are bad habits is a stressor in itself. From there on, choose the technique, hobby or therapy that you trust, be it acupuncture, yoga, listening to music or drawing. Whenever you do something you enjoy, you are pushing back stress.