How to Manage Stress

How to Manage Stress

Everyone experiences stress in their lives and we all react differently to different types of stress or stressful conditions. The more knowledge, tools and skills we have for understanding stress and the various coping strategies-the better the quality of our lives and our health. Stress can be short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). This article will give some tips and advice on how to manage stress.

Tips

1. Short-term (acute) stress is usually caused by a temporary situation or emotion that can be resolved quickly, for example, locking the car keys in the car or waiting in long lines. Although the stressful feelings can be very intense, they usually disappear after a short time.

2. Long-term (chronic) stress is constant, relentless pressure that can last for months or years. Many situations or conditions can cause chronic stress. Type A personalities or high-pressure lifestyles can be major factors in causing chronic stress. Some people get so used to the stress that they can't even recognize it anymore. Chronic stress predisposes people to higher risks of depression, mental illness, high blood pressure and various other medical conditions.

3. Manage your stress by identifying the sources, recognizing your reactions to the stress and changing your behavior. Taking stress management classes or rescheduling your work and personal lives can be a start to reducing stress. Having a supportive network of friends, family and professionals can also be useful in helping to reduce stress.

4. Learn and understand your reactions and behavior resulting from stress. It is so important to recognize your own stress profile and understand your body, mind and reactions to stress. The body reacts in certain physical ways to stress, for example, symptoms like stomach pain, rapid heartbeat, muscle tension and headaches are common complaints.

5. Identify the major stressors causing the problems. Knowing the stressors will help you find ways to manage stress. Feeling helpless is a sign of chronic stress. You may feel overwhelmed and fatigued and that you have no control over your life. If left unchecked it can lead to depression. Find ways to eliminate the stressors and talk with your doctor or a counselor to help you cope with your depression.

6. Changing your response to stress is a powerful tool for managing stress. Having realistic expectations and understanding what you can and can't do will help you let go of stressful ways of thinking and change your response to stress. Organization and planning ahead of time are ways to help manage stress. Flexibility and patience are keys to reducing stress. Also, putting everything in perspective wil help to reduce anxiety and sttress.

7. Reduce stress by incorporating physical activity such as exercising, walking, stretching and breathing techniques into your daily schedule. Learning relaxation techniques such as deep breathing will also increase the quality of your life and be a helpful tool in managing stress by relieving tension and calming the mind so that you feel more centered and focused.

8. Taking time for yourself or a vacation is important for the mind, body and spirit. Make time for rest and recreation. Get enough of it and treat yourself. Have fun and laughter in your life. Humor is a great form of therapy to reduce stress and decrease the risk of illness and disease.