One of the definitions of stress in the Miriam Webster Dictionary is “something that causes strong feelings of worry or anxiety.” Did you know that stress can affect both your physical health and psychological well-being? Almost everybody deals with it on a daily basis. How come some people just go with the flow and others look like they are going to have a heart attack? Have you ever wondered how to overcome this thing called stress?
Can Stress be Good?
A small amount can be good for you. If you have a deadline coming up, it can motivate you to take action. It can also cause you to do something out of your comfort zone. For example, I love roller coasters and they can be a little stressful but it is worth it for me because I know how much fun they are. Sometimes you feel stress because you are in a situation where you don’t feel safe and the stress is actually a good way to protect yourself. It will cause you to be more alert and careful of your surroundings.
What happens if you don’t learn to handle your stress?
If you don’t learn how to cope, stress can cause you to be irritable, lose sleep, get headaches, depressed, ulcers, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or other immune problems. By not making any changes, your health and your relationships will suffer.
Are you willing to make some changes?
You can’t keep doing what you are doing everyday and expect your life to change. By learning some new skills you can change your future.
- IDENTIFY YOUR STRESS – are there things that keep happening that you have control over that you can change? Are you always running late and it stresses you? Try to leave an extra 5 or 10 minutes to give you some margin in your day. In You Stress Less by Michael F. Roizen, MD and Mehet C. Oz, MD, they say “whether it’s a cluttered closet, or cracked bathroom tiles that have been staring at you for years, or weekly paperwork that gnaws at you every Friday, these nagging unfinished tasks (we call he NUTs) are much more destructive than the low levels of stress we expect from life.”
- TAKE TIME OUT TO PLAY – It is important to have fun and relax. Laughter is good for the soul and it’s contagious. Make sure to take time out consistently to just have fun whether that means reading a book or going to a movie or something in between.
- EXERCISE – Any type of exercise and activity will not only help reduce your stress level but also give you energy. You can exercise with your family or friends and that way you are enjoying time together while working out at the same time.
- MAKE TIME FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIPS – Spend intentional time with your family and friends. Don’t just send them a Facebook message or text message, talk to them on the phone or make plans to get together. Relationships take time but they are so worth it. If you have kids, they grow up fast and need you to spend time with them.
- LEARN TO MANAGE YOUR ANGER – Figure out what makes you mad and try to come up with ways to overcome them. For example if somebody cuts you off in traffic, think they had an emergency and have to get to the hospital instead of trying to run you off the road.
- BE ASSERTIVE – Don’t be afraid to say no or feel like you have to justify all your decisions. You can speak up for yourself without being rude.
- MANAGE YOUR TIME – Try not to take on more responsibilities than you can handle. Make a list and prioritize it. Learn to delegate and how to ask for help. Group your errands and tasks together to save time. Set aside time to check email a few times a day instead of every hour.
- THINK REALISTICALLY – You can only control yourself and your actions. You are not responsible for somebody else’s behavior. Set realistic goals.
- STAY PRESENT – Learn to live in the moment and be present where you are. If you are playing with your kids, don’t think about what you need to do the next day at work. If you are on vacation, don’t worry about the long drive home.
I hope I have given you something to think about and shown you how you can start to make some small changes to improve your life. Please feel free to share this article or let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Life is too short to be stressed all the time!