Stress — the word itself causes the shoulders to tense, the neck to ache, and the slow throb of the infamous headache to ebb its way around the temples and stretch across the eyes. There are many forms of and reasons for stress, but allowing it to reign over you is one of the ultimate mistakes you can make. One of the first steps to take in dealing with stress is to first recognize what type of stress it is.
There are basically two types of stress; that which is brought on by work and then the emotion-based type. Stress evolving from work can actually be considered normal and even useful. To a degree, this type of stress can aid in maintaining focus on a task or assignment that needs to be completed in a certain time frame. Hence, time management skills take effect and thereby cause you to react by completing the job accordingly. However, if emotional elements enter into the work arena, the outcome could be less productive and more intrusive.
When this occurs the emotional elements impact the physical domain. The immune system can weaken, thus bringing about unnecessary illness. In addition, as the emotions are given the opportunity to escalate your character is altered. Mood swings, depression, tension and anxiety are only some of the effects. The ability to function at work or in any social or interactive circle can suffer greatly as well.
Furthermore, studies have shown how intense the physical impact stress can have on your body if you allow it to take over. Some of the most common symptoms are ulcers, upset stomach, headaches, trouble sleeping, and muscle aches and pain. The combination of mental strain and physical distress can be so severe that the only means to overcome or cope is medication prescribed under a physician’s care. When things turn this sour, it is extremely important to seek out appropriate means such as consulting your physician and following the advice provided by this professional.
However, research has shown various coping strategies, which are most successful in dealing with stress in our lives and can aid us in preventing its impact from becoming most extreme.
Learn to Manage Time
One key element in coping with stress is time management. Studies have found that if you learn to better schedule your time, learn to prioritize and structure how you utilize your day your stress level would lower considerably. Somewhere within managing your time, you must also learn to schedule in some form of exercise. Exercise has been shown to reduce stress and responses to stress factors. One of the most single and successful approaches in dealing with stress is having a routine physical activity incorporated into your daily living. Such physical activity may include walking, jogging, swimming, or such everyday activities as yard work and housecleaning.
Breathe & Do What You Enjoy
Conducting the simple and mindless task such as breathing is one of the best skills to utilize in fighting the war against stress. Sounds basic and simple, right? But sometimes you can become so consumed with what is making you tense, anxious, and worried that you tend to forget the one thing that keeps you alive —- breathing! Just by taking a moment to stop whatever it is you are doing and turning your focus on taking a big, deep breath can be the most crucial moment and task you succeed in doing for the day. If you need to relearn how to breathe yoga is an excellent form of exercise in learning proper breathing techniques. Another great way to relieve stress is by just doing something you enjoy.
Finding an outlet for stress such as reading, walking the dog, or meeting a friend for coffee are all yet other substantial means in lowering the stress level.
Giggle, Chuckle, Smile
Moreover, the most newfound tool in coping with stress is humor therapy. Scientists have found physical proof in how laughter can actually alter your mental state and even heighten your immune system. Laughter is a physical act and such an activity can give you a release from your anxieties and frustrations. Hence, along with breathing, humor can be the quintessential weapon in fighting stress.
Needless to say, there are many coping strategies to utilize in confronting stress. One of the foremost steps in taking, however, is first recognizing what is making you feel stressed out! When you begin to feel your heart race, your blood pressure rise, and your shoulders tense — stop everything, take a deep breath and then focus on what is upsetting you.
Is the matter at hand truly worth allowing yourself to get upset? Or is it something in which using one or several of the above-mentioned coping strategies can be used?
You might even want to try seeking out the friend(s) who can usually provide you with a good laugh for the day. Above all else, Lily Tomlin seems to have said it best, “For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.” A motto we should all live by — and maybe by doing so the rest of the world will slow down with us.
For more information on Humor Therapy and stress management go to www.webmd.com or the American Heart Association website at www.americanheart.org for additional information on the mental and physical strains caused by stress and the appropriate physician’s care to seek out.