We all recognize that stress management is a good thing - even a necessary thing - but in today's world, how do you do it?
And, everyone experiences stressful situations in their lives, yet as Pamela Peake says in her book Fit to Live the problem isn't so much the stressful situations - it's our distress as a reaction. Distress is when we're feeling helpless, hopeless, or defeated.
The effects of chronic stress can be serious. It can lead to elevated blood pressure. Acute stress can lead to blockage of the arteries. Mental stress can decrease the electrical stability of the heart, which can lead to arrhythmias and sudden cardiac arrest.
But to put things in perspective, let's remember that stress is very personal. What causes distress for one person may be invigorating for another. The first step is to understand the sources of stress in your life and then to learn to use the tips and techniques that are most appropriate for each situation and for you.
"For fast acting relief, try slowing down."
Keep a balance in your life. Make sure you plan time for for the things that are important to you - be it family, fitness, leisure, socializing, and hobbies. If you have heart disease, you've had a wake up call. This is your chance to make some changes.
Recognize what you can change and what you can't. Change the things you can and learn to accept the things you can't.
Learn to say no. If you are like me, you find it difficult to say no when someone asks to you do something or be involved in something. In order to keep a balance in your life, sometimes you just have to say "no." Now you have a reason - you have your health to keep in mind.
When you are feeling stressed:
What about pets and stress management?
While pets aren't for everyone and not every pet is a joy to have (in fact some pets create stress), recent research shows that pets can help reduce stress. For example, pets are great listeners! They don't talk back, and their love is unconditional (well, as long as you feed them). Research actually shows that, when conducting a stressful task, people experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present!
Are you stressed at work?
Although we spend most of our waking hours at work, for many of us it's not a healthy place to be. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to be dealing with high levels of job associated stress. See our strategies to help you find some work stress relief.
There are many stress related websites. One that we think is particularly good and offers a wide range of useful information is Stress-Relief-Tools.com. Check it out.
What stress management techniques have helped you? Send us your tips.