Stress Management: Coping with Stress

 


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Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life. In fact, stress is a natural part of life.

Your ability to identify stress, manage it, cope with it and reduce it where possible can have a dramatic impact on your life and on the lives of those around you. How well you do these things will ultimately determine if this impact is for the better or for the worse.

Types of Stress

There are two major types of stress, good stress (eustress) and bad stress (distress).

Eustress is the positive tension that we experience when we get a job promotion, purchase a new home, go on holidays or have a baby. This type of stress can be helpful to us because it can provide motivate and other essential things to help us grow as individuals.

Distress is negative tension caused by things like increased work demands, running late for an appointment, financial difficulties or experiencing sickness in the family. Because stress is cumulative (it builds up in our body), too much distress over a long period of time can be very bad for us and may lead to unhappiness, serious illness, and even death.

Identifying Your Stressors.

Stress affects us all differently. Understanding what causes you stress is critical if you want to reduce its negative impacts on your life. To help you identify your stressors, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is stressful to me?
  • How does stress affect me?
  • When am I most vulnerable to stress?

    Once you understand the stresses in your life and how and when they affect you most is the first step to minimizing bad stress and negative impact on your life. Remember this old saying, ‘once you have defined the problem, you are half way to finding a solution’.

    Managing and Coping with Stress.

    Once you’ve identified your stressors there are many things you can do to help you cope better and reduce its negative impacts. Here are just a few examples:

  • Improve your time management skills
  • Eat a healthier diet
  • Start an exercise program
  • Create some eustress in your life
  • Use relaxation techniques

    The best ways to relax.

    Relaxing is one of the easiest and best ways to cope with stress and there are many different ways to achieve a relaxed state. Most relaxation techniques are simple, inexpensive or free, can be performed anywhere at anytime, and don’t need to take up a lot of time.

    Here are some of the best relaxation techniques we know:

    Deep Breathing
    Stretching
    Meditation
    Tai Chi
    Yoga
    Massage
    Prayer
    Visualization
    Progressive Relaxation
    Exercise

    Reducing Stress in your life

    It is difficult to reduce your stress levels if you haven’t identified the major causes of stress in your life. Once you’ve identified the causes, you can devise an action plan to reduce the stresses you experience.

    If work is a main cause of stress for example, speak to your boss about ways to ease your workload or find a new job. If being around certain people causes you stress, make plans to avoid them as much as possible. If lack of time or money is a major stressor for you, attend a course on time or money management, keep a daily and money diary or start to plan your time and budget.

    Coping well with stress is a three-pronged process. First, identify the stressors in your life by asking yourself questions and taking note of how you respond to the various pressures of life. Next, reduce the amount of stress that has accumulated in your body by employing one or more of the many relaxation techniques available to you. Finally, try to remove the major stressors in your life where you can.

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    Scott Haywood

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