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Stress Management. How to Deal With Stress

Stress management basically refers to the broad range of strategies aimed at how to relieve stress. The overall objective being to better your everyday functioning in every area of your life.

What is stress? What is the cause of stress? There are quite a number of divergent opinions as to what the definition of stress is - and what its causes are as everyone's experience is unique. There's no "one size fits all" definition that can be applied to everyone.

However, the generally accepted consensus definition of stress is that "it's a condition or feeling experienced when you perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources that you are able to marshal to handle the situation," leaving you feeling stressed out.

Good Stress and Bad Stress

Good stress? Yes, some stress is good - up to a point. It can help provide you with that extra "push." e.g, in accomplishing a challenging or urgent task at work, or in situations that require fast reaction such as in an athletic event. Such "stress" is actually beneficial and necessary.

When stress occurs too frequently, or lasts too long, it becomes bad stress. It's been linked to many health problems and immune system impairment - making it easier for you to fall sick or worsening already existing health conditions.

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How To Deal With Stress. Help With Stress
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Stress Relief Tips

What can you do to manage and cope with stress? First establish its cause then seek out ways to decrease or eliminate it and learn healthy ways to minimize its adverse effects. Also, don't ignore your own "stress breeding" feelings, thoughts and behaviors that may have contributed to the situation in the first place.

Stress Relief Techniques

Many stress management techniques exist that offer help with managing the condition. However, they all require some degree of change on your part. Either changing the stress causing situation or changing your reaction to it.

Here are six stress management options. Experiment with them and adopt those stress relief techniques that work best for you:

1) Change the Situation by Avoiding Needless Stress:

  • Don't take on more than you can handle. Set your limits, stick to them and learn how to say NO.
  • Minimize the amount of time you spend with people that cause you stress. End the relationship if the situation becomes intolerable.
  • Take charge of your surroundings. Don't plunge headlong into stress inducing situations when you can readily avoid them.
  • Avoid controversial discussion topics that are bound to raise temperatures and cause heated arguments.
  • Examine your daily order of business and responsibilities. Differentiate between those that must be done and those that can wait and act accordingly.

2) Change the Situation by Altering the Way You Operate and Communicate:

  • Be more assertive and deal with problems head on. This is your life. Take charge of it.
  • Be willing to compromise. If you seek behavioral change in others, be ready to do the same. There's a good chance for an agreeable middle ground solution if both of you are ready to be "bend" over backwards just a little bit.
  • If someone or something is bugging you, state what bothers you in an open and respectful way. Don't bottle up your feelings.
  • Plan ahead. Poor time management can be stress inducing. Manage your time more effectively and don't spread yourself out too thin.

3) Change Yourself and Adapt to the Stress Inducing Situation:

  • Focus on the positive. Take time to reflect on all the things in your life that you have reason to be grateful for. When stress seems overwhelming, this simple strategy will help you keep things in proper perspective.
  • Stop setting yourself up for disappointment by demanding perfection from yourself and others. Set reasonable standards and learn to be satisfied with what is good enough.
  • Look at the bigger picture. Is what is stressing you really worth getting worried about? How important will it be in a week, month or year from now? If your answers to both questions are in the negative, focus your time and energies elsewhere.
  • Rather than fuming, ranting and raving about a stressful situation, Look at it from a more positive angle. The situation may just provide an opportunity for you to pause and recharge your "batteries."

4) Accept Situations That You Can't Change:

  • Many situations in life are simply beyond your control e.g death of a loved one and the behavior of others. Instead of getting stressed over them, shift your focus to the things that you can do and control such as  your choice of reaction to the situation.
  • When you are faced with major challenges, look for the "silver lining." There's always a solution "lurking" within the challenge.
  • These challenges could also present opportunities for self reflection and personal growth.

5) Create Time for Rest, Fun and Relaxation

  • Set aside some time for relaxation to recharge and reinvigorate yourself. Connect with other positive people who will uplift you. Engage in fun activities that bring you happiness.
  • A sense of humor is an added plus. It's one of the most effective stress management techniques. Don't take yourself too seriously. Laugh at yourself sometimes. You'll be amazed at how that simple act can help you "chase" stress away.

6) Follow and Maintain a healthy lifestyle.

You will strengthen your overall physical health and bolster your resistance to stress by adopting these additional stress management tips:

  • Eating a healthy nutritious diet.
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes 3 times a week - the more the better.
  • Limiting or eliminating the intake of cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
  • Getting enough sleep. This will rest and revitalize your body and mind.

Everyone is different and there is no "one size fits all" strategy on how to deal with stress. Experiment with the various stress management techniques. Single out and adopt the ones that work best for you in overcoming stress triggers and avoiding feeling stressed out.

"Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, "I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me." - Ann Landers

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