Stress management is the controlling and reducing of tension that occurs in stressful situations. Everyone copes with stress everyday. “I’m SO stressed out!” – It seems like you hear it all the time from nearly every one you know . Most people are unprepared to deal with stressors that trigger feelings that can make us sick. Literally, sick.
The statistics are staggering. Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse by men. One in every eight Americans age 18-54 suffers from an anxiety disorder. This totals over 19 million people! Anxiety is the most common mental health issue facing adults over the age of 65. Treating anxiety disorders costs the U.S. $46.6 billion annually.
Health Psychology magazine reports that chronic stress can interfere with the normal function of the body’s immune system. And studies have proven that stressed individuals are more vulnerable to allergic, autoimmune, and cardiovascular diseases.
Stress often prompts people to respond in unhealthy ways such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating poorly, or becoming physically inactive. This causes damage to the mind and body.
There are 3 common types of stress:
Mini-stress – the annoying hassles of day to day life: – Heavy traffic – Cells phones with no power
Moderate-stress – the more significant day-to-day hassles that comes from deadlines and time pressures constraints – Project deadline at work – Holidays
Severe-stress – those events that are traumatic long term or permanent – Divorce or separation – Loss of job
Although there is no definitive answer to any of specific stressor you may experience, it’s your coping skills that support your ability to manage stress.
Here are 7 coping skills to stress proof your life.
1.Know how to relax – find a quiet place, get comfy make sure your body is well supported. Breath slowly and deeply.
2. Eat right and exercise often – avoid caffeine and refined sugar, eat dairy products which may improve your mood. Make exercise a part of your daily life-even if it’s only taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking at the far end of the lot.
3. Learn it is OK to say ‘no’. Often, many of us feel we have to say ‘yes’ to everyone, every time we’re asked for help. You can’t be all things to all people. You must first meet your own needs before you can truly give others what they need.
4. Take a mini-vacation from stress. If you can find fifteen minutes a day, or one hour a week if daily isn’t possible, make a date with yourself. Schedule a walk around the block, lunch in the park, a sunrise or sunset alone, a bubble bath without interruptions.
5. Make time for yourself, your number one priority; once your own needs are met you will find you have more time for others. And you may find more pleasure in helping others when you don’t feel that you must always put others needs before your own.
6. Go outside and enjoy Mother Nature. A little sunshine and activity can have amazing ramifications on your stress level and will enhance your entire outlook towards life. Your improved attitude will have a positive effect on everyone. Not only will you be less stressed, you will be healthier, happier, and more energetic; ready to face whatever obstacles come your way.
7. Have a good sense of humor. Be a resource to yourself. Try something new, learn to play again. Laugh. Laughter releases endorphins, chemicals in the brain that restore calm.
Stress management and how you cope with stress is part of your daily life. It’s how you react to stress that makes all the difference in maintaining your health and well-being. Just like causes of stress differ from person to person, what relieves stress is not the same for everyone. You’ll never completely get rid of stress, but you can learn to manage stress with coping techniques that work for you. I hope that I’ve given you some great ideas on how you can deal with stress.