How to manage stress

by rodney on May 18, 2014

how to manage stressNow that we’ve looked at what stress is, how it happens and why it is dangerous, we’ll finally look at how to manage stress so that it has minimal negative impact for you.

We’ll never be able to fully eliminate stress from our lives. While there may be times when we are not stressed and it is not present, it will at some stage come back. It’s a normal response and as we previously discussed, it can have its benefits. The focus is then not on stress elimination but stress management.

There are many areas in our lives where we can use stress management techniques. It is possible for you to utilise pharmacological methods such as medications, you will need to discuss these with a Doctor. I’m not a Doctor and I’m not able to advise on medication, I’m not saying that it’s a good or a bad method. I’m just letting you know that it is an option and if you’d like to explore it further, consult your Doctor.

The three areas I’m going to focus on are emotional management, lifestyle management and practical management.

Emotional management refers to techniques which will help you to explore, vent and release the emotions that are associated with your stress. All too often, we see expression of emotions as a sign of weakness, especially men, and therefore supress these emotions. This is not a good thing. Holding onto these emotions means that they will sit and fester. Overtime, they build up and the pressure of these emotions will cause or add to the stress you’re experiencing. In the worst case scenario, they will eventually explode and come to the surface like a volcano.

Some ways you can manage your emotions include journaling, talking-either with family and friends or professionals such as counsellors, psychologists and Doctors, creative endeavours such as creative writing and art, meditation and visualisation.

Lifestyle management is all about creating habits that help manage and vent physical stress symptoms.  When we are stressed, the body releases stress hormones and chemicals such as adrenalin. These are designed to help us with fight or flight, however, due to the nature of today’s modern world, fight or flight is not appropriate for a lot of stress triggers. If we don’t find some way to vent these chemicals, they store up in your body and can cause several health concerns.

Some ways you can manage your lifestyle include regular exercise or even just exercise when you’re stressed will help, eating healthier by incorporating fruit and vegetables into your diet and cutting out salts, sugars and caffeine, reducing the amount of alcohol you consume, drinking more water and incorporating regular deep breathing exercises into your day.

Finally, we’re going to look at practical management. These are practical habits you can adopt which will help by reducing stress triggers in the first place. Mostly it is pressures on today’s modern world which cause stress in the first place. The more tools we have to manage our day to day life, the less stressed we’ll become.

Some ways to do this include getting enough sleep, focusing on circumstances and events that you can control, leaving enough time to avoid being late, creating a to do list on making that your focus for the day, having something to look forward to, being realistic about your goals and what you can achieve and setting believable deadlines.

At the end of the day, managing your stress is not a one shot deal. There is not one miracle cure to fix everything so don’t try to look for the Holy Grail. Managing your stress is a long term commitment. You must gradually make lifestyle changes that will help you to manage and cope with stress. If you’re having trouble making these changes, consider seeking professional help.

 

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