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Stress sometimes gets a bad rap; like vegetables or your boss. But it’s important to realize that stress isn’t always the bad guy! Sometimes stress can push you to achieve your goals. Think of it this way. Would a high school student be as motivated to get good grades without the stress of getting accepted into a good college? Would you be as excited for your big presentation at work without the stress of impressing the bigwigs and hopefully scoring a raise? Me thinks not. In both cases, stress is a good thing! But we have to learn to manage it so that it doesn’t take control of our lives.
Each individual reacts to stress differently. Therefore there is no one-size-fits all solution for dealing with stress. For example, a person who flourishes on constant change would suffer from tremendous boredom and stress in a job that is calm and steady and involves all the excitement of sorting paper clips. Meanwhile an individual that avoids change would be filled with anxiety and stress in a career that involves a lot of travel or crazy personalities.
It is believed that a lot of illnesses are tied to stress. If you find that you are always sick or fatigued or that you are always nervous and anxious, it is time to learn to cope with your stress. Stress management takes patience and practice. If you persist at it, you will master the art of effectively dealing with stress like a Jedi master.
First figure out what main things cause your stress. Is it your morning commute? Preparing for a public speaking engagement at work? Dealing with your kids after school? Most of these things are unavoidable, but still manageable. If your morning commute stresses you out, try leaving for work a few minutes earlier. If public speaking horrifies you, try working with a life coach to help you deal with your fears. If your kids drive you crazy, arrange organized activities that you can all enjoy together. It is important to understand what causes you stress, and think of constructive ways that you can deal with them. Getting rid of your kids and honking at other commuters doesn’t count.
For this reason it’s important to control your emotional reactions to your stressful situations. Stress can cause those damaging negative thoughts that tend to creep into your head like an insidious virus. Instead of letting stress get to you, think of it as an opportunity for self-improvement. Like turning lemons into lemonade. Or sour grapes into wine. If you find yourself blowing your stack in every situation, it may be time to take a step back and think of ways to cope.
You might not be able to do anything about your stressors, but you can control how you react to them. For example you can try deep breathing and meditation. And no I’m not talking about huffing and puffing after a workout. I’m talking about closing your eyes for at least 10 minutes a day and taking slow deep breaths. If your physical reactions to stress are severe, make sure you seek medical attention to avoid hypertension or heart problems. Sometimes the best way to avoid stress is by simply taking a time out in order to regroup and refresh. Watch a movie. Go for a stroll. Get a massage.
Another positive way to combat stress is to exercise. If going to the gym bores you try Zumba or Barre! Nothing will get you more pumped than an instructor telling you to work those buns! Those are powerful outlets for stress. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, (put down that donut) and avoid excessive caffeine. One to two cups is fine. Twelve is not. It may be easier said than done but try to get a full night’s sleep every night as well. Those zzz’s are important for combating stress, aging, and weight. Miss out on sleep and you might as well kiss your sanity and health good bye. Following these easy peasy strategies will help you to cope with stress. Before you know it, those old worries will just melt away.
Stress is part of life. Like death and taxes, you cannot avoid it. But by engaging in effective management techniques, you can effectively deal with stress and become a stronger and happier person for it.
If you really want to take hold of your life and learn to manage your stress, contact us so that we can match you with one of our stress management coaches. Let’s get you loving life again.