Stress is not something that we cannot manage. There are ways to manage stress and reverse the negative consequences to our mental and physical health caused by stress. When we feel that stress is dominating our life we should take action immediately and find ways to manage our life and stress better.
Stress is created when we feel that the requirements in our lives go beyond those we can do and control. Stress is the physical defence of our organism. It is a good defence system in cases of emergency. At the same time it can cause problems to our physical and mental health if it continues for a long time. We should try and find ways to manage stress because our daily challenges and activities are full of stressful events and conditions.
All changes in our lives are causing stress, even the good ones (e.g. a marriage, the birth of a child). The reaction of people to a change in their life is crucial. The reaction to a life change is one of the major factors whether the stress created from this situation will be good or bad for our health. Stress can cause health problems or make existing problems worse.
Symptoms of stress
Anxiety, pain in the back, diarrhoea or constipation, depression, fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure,insomnia, problems in relationships, difficulty in breathing, neck pain, nausea, increase or decrease body weight, digestive problems, loss of desire for sex and heart disease are some of the symptoms of stress.
Causes of stress
Often we find ourselves in situations where time pressure and frustration is insurmountable. Our daily life obligations are constantly increasing but time is always the same. We are always running to catch up, always in a hurry, our head and mind are mixed up, we are trapped in a traffic jam and we have a number of people waiting from us to do something and satisfy an obligation.
All these problems make us nervous and irritable, the few hours of sleep are not enough, the risk of interpersonal and family conflicts, is increasing.
But when stress becomes chronic and prolonged, our organism has no opportunity to recover after repeated high alerts imposed from the stress hormones alarm. Eventually the long repetitive stress negatively affects almost all our body systems and functions.
Ways to manage stress
Fortunately there are ways to get away from the destructive vicious circle of chronic stress. It’s up to us to develop techniques to reduce or avoid situations that create intense stress.
The trophy for such success can be very high: less fatigue, more mental calm, fewer health problems and perhaps longevity.
Identify what causes you stress
The first step is to understand the environment we live and operate, what are these things that are causing us stress. Once we identify the major sources of stress we should try and change anything that is possible in order to minimize them.
A good approach is to remove or minimize the obligations that we have to deliver, either in our work or home environment. The fewer things we have to do the less stress we will have.
At the same time we should try and find ways to improve in the areas that are sources of stress. It will be of great benefit, if we develop ways to do better the things that are causing us stress and are inevitable and cannot be removed from our lives.
To achieve this we will need to try hard, with continuous effort. It is a self improvement exercise that will not only improve our self esteem and happiness but will also contribute in minimizing the levels of stress which by itself brings many more benefits to our health.
So, as a first step in managing stress we should:
1. Avoid and remove from our life and our environment, situations that increase the requirements we have to meet or deliver.
2. Develop better methods of handling the requirements that are inevitable in our lives
Take the positive approach to live
The second step is to change the way we see, thing and approach some life situations. The positive approach even for the most difficult situations, it may substantially reduce the level of stress in our lives.
Let us not engage in conflicts; let us better control our reactions and try to see what is happening from another perspective. Our internal self-analysis may allow us to understand why we sometimes react strongly and intensively. Perhaps from this analysis of our self we will understand that some things are not worth the trouble and over-reactions are misplaced.
A new, more sensible, balanced approach is a good way to make us calmer and help us reduce and manage psychological stress.
Relax – the best antidote to stress
The third step is to learn to relax. The relaxation is the opposite of stress. It is the perfect antidote and one of the best and most effective ways to manage stress.
There are many easy ways to achieve relaxation. The physical exercises, running, walking, swimming, cycling, the massage, laughter, a good comedy, yoga, are some of the ways that will help us relax.
Take care of your body
The fourth step, which is good not to forget, is taking care of our body. It is absolutely necessary to give our body the sleep and rest it needs and requires.
Also a healthy diet combined with physical activity is a very good way to fight stress and at the same time allowing our body to recover from the suffering of the many obligations imposed by the frenetic pace of our everyday life.
Finally, we should mention that tackling stress is a continuous and chronic effort. We need constant adjustment and we should be seeking ways to reduce, manage and abandon those things in our life that are causing us stress.
Success does not come immediately and there will be cases that we will not manage to control stress. Sometimes we may need the assistance of experts, psychologists or doctors. But we must not forget that the success in handling and combat stress will have beneficial effects on our physical and mental health. There are ways to manage stress and it is in our will to find them.