Stress management, or learning how to manage stress better, is something that comes easier for some than others. But, understanding some of the basic stress management techniques can help you beat it!
Stress management is a term used a lot by companies who set up schemes for their workers. It relates most to situations where there has been a high incidence of stress related problems. The outcome usually affects the performance of the company.
Even so, practicing stress management is helpful for all individuals who are suffering from stress-related problems.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ method to stress management. Every person, and every situation, differs. But, there are enough common causes and symptoms to find a way out of your stress problems.
Note: Reading the master section will help you understand the causes of stress. By doing so, you can set about formulating actions to deal with it.
Dealing with Stress
In fact, stress management becomes a lot easier once you know what you are trying to deal with!
Stress Management in the Workplace.
The term ‘stress management’ has been hijacked to a certain extent by commercial undertakings. It is now more or less taken for granted that there is stress in the workplace.
Prior to that, it was in use by the armed services. They used it as a collective method to deal with such problems as battle fatigue and the like.
Stress Management for Individuals
For the individual (workplace excepted) it might be better to think in terms of ‘coping’ with stress, rather than the ‘management’ of stress. In some ways, personal stress management seems to have a certain negativity about it.
There is a general acceptance that stress is something that is with us at all times and needs managing. It is a sad fact of life that there are many causes of stress problems on a personal level.
Yet, there is a great deal of difference between coping with personal stress, often unavoidable in life. Not to mention dealing with stress imposed upon us by a poor working environment.
Employers should realise they have a responsibility to ensure a ‘safe’ working environment. It is in their commercial interest to ensure that. There would then be less need for the stress management programs that have been set up globally throughout most areas of industry.
Coping with Stress!
Everyday stress is part of modern life. So, we need to learn how to cope with the effects of this stress for a better, and more meaningful, life. Coping with stress and ‘dealing with stress’ might seem like one and the same thing. But that is not always the case.
Coping with stress is seen as a relatively long term aspect. There are several ways to cope with the ever-present problems that lead to prolonged or even permanent stress and it’s inevitable conclusions.
That said, stress is a normal reaction for the body, and the mind, and without it we would not survive.
The stress response was originally part of our makeup to take quick action and deal with a physical danger. It was the so-called ‘fight or flight’ response.
Nowadays, that same response is triggered not so much by physically dangerous situations, but by every-day living in modern society.
Instead of us being able to deal in an ‘instant’ way to problems – and thereby generally negating the ‘after effects’ of the stress response. We are stuck in a seemingly endless chain of events which we cannot avoid.
Typical everyday problems include some of the stress triggers in the list below. Yet, there are many other niggling problems that can cause a build up of stress problems.
- Workload: Most of us are having to work harder and longer, to ‘stand still’. This can be a recipe for long term stress problems that you will have to learn to cope with.
- Relationships: Marriages and relationships are not as stable as was once the case. Each unhappy relationship or breakup will cause long term stress problems.
- Financial Problems: You can skip this section if you have no money worries. But, most of us DO have financial concerns and may need to seek expert advice about debt.
- Children: As much as parents love their ‘little darlings’, they are often a cause of worries and stressful situations.
- Adults: Yes, the ‘big darlings’ often cause even more problems!
- Travel: Is your mode of daily travel relaxed and a time of happiness? Thought not!
- Time management: Do you have too much to do and nowhere near enough time to do it? Learn about time management or prepare yourself to cope with its effects.
- Lack of Vitality: It can be the cause (the stressor) or the effect.
- Weight: Losing and gaining weight can both cause stress problems. They can even be the result of stress in your life. There has to be better ways to lose or gain weight.
- Confidence (a lack of): This leads to prolonged stress. It CAN be overcome and it NEEDS to be overcome.
- Poor Performance: In anything, whether at work or during leisure time activities, a poor performance can be a result of stress. You can better prepare your body to give improved performance, at work and at play.
These types of stress-triggering problems are part of everyday life. We need to be able to cope with this type of stress or our lives. Failing to do so means we will suffer as a result of not being able to cope.
How you cope with everyday stress is largely dependent upon your own attitude to life. Often, it links directly to the state of your health and wellness.
Try to determine whether or not you have the day to day energy requirements, in body and in mind. That is what you need to be able to take everyday stress in your stride.
But, there is some good news! There are positive things you can do to help you get into shape and deal with everyday stress. They include steps clinically proven to work and will more or less guarantee that you learn to cope with the everyday stresses of modern life.
The other good news is that you will almost certainly need a change of lifestyle. Hey – that’s real good news for most of us!
Stress and Relaxation: Learning How to Relax
Are you suffering from the effects of stress in any form? If so, you are probably thinking that it is impossible to relax in your own particular situation.
Acute and chronic stress are not conducive to natural bouts of relaxation! Even so, practicing relaxation techniques is without doubt one of the most effective ways of alleviating stress problems – instantly.
Please understand that we did not use the word ‘cure’. But, instead we refer to alleviating the issue. This is important, for if you do nothing to lower the stress levels, then it gets worse. That is a fact!
The great thing about learning relaxation techniques is that it costs nothing, other than little bit of your time. And you DO have time!
Another great thing about learning to relax, is that it can help move you forward in your general health. This is so even if you do not have stress symptoms. It can cure or negate many problems within the mind and the body.
Think of all the times in your life that you have messed things up. Was it simply because you were too tense or simply could not relax? Typical examples include:
- An exam or test fluffed (even when you knew the answers).
- The all-important interview (maybe you said too much or not enough because of tension or nerves).
- An argument (lost because of an inability to think straight).
- Simply being a parent (sometimes it happens)!
The inability to relax grows with us as we make the transition from baby (totally relaxed unless it is dirty or hungry) through to our childhood (when the first realization that life is not going to be too simple after all).
Then, it moves with us into our teenage years. It should be the best time of our lives. But, it is so often a time when tension starts to materialize itself to full effect.
It follows us into parenthood and middle age, and finally during the onset of old age.
Learn to Relax: Your Brain will Love You
One of the most important advantages of learning some relaxation techniques is they decrease tension. It is instrumental in sending a greater blood supply and oxygen to the brain.
This process encourages the brain to release endorphins into the body which are vital for feeling good. Endorphins are part of the feel-good factor, and affect all parts of your body, both physical and mental. It has to be worth a try right?
Try your best to avoid the chemicals route, whether prescribed or recreational usage, until you have tried some of the top relaxation techniques.
The likelihood is, that you will no longer have to rely on the quick drink, the extra cigarette, beta blockers, and the like. You will find that relaxation not only has benefits for your mental state, but is also instrumental in general improvements for all types of health matters.
Stress Relief Management Techniques
The management of stress is not a wonderful tool to enable you to combat the effects of the stress in your life. It is simply basic advice in healthcare, which we seem to have lost sight of in modern day lifestyle.
We have to take control of the matters which cause us stress, and also to ensure that our mind and body is up to the task of dealing with this stress.
Note: Doing nothing about stress is NOT an option. Long term exposure to it in lifestyles is a killer. Fact: Stress kills!
The good news is that stress relief is not too difficult. It takes a little bit of determination, a little bit of common sense, and an acceptance that if you do nothing, then the consequences of stress are dire.
In the medium to long term stressors can cause severe health problems (e.g. heart problems, stroke, weight increase or reduction, depression, and other mental illnesses). They call all be directly attributed to the long term exposure to stress.
There is much scientific proof arising out of extensive research showing you can relieve the effects of stress in your life. Some stress relief techniques simply need some of your ‘valuable’ time. Others require a change in lifestyle. The benefits of dealing with and relieving the stress in your life are measurable and noticeable in a very short time. So, why waste your life?
Stress Relief and Exercise
Going back to the basics of the stress response, it will be seen that originally it was for our survival against threat – normally of a physical nature.
Nowadays it is more likely to be of a ‘mental’ nature. The stress response enabled us to deal with a physical threat. The way to deal with such a threat was either to fight it physically, or to do a runner and get away from it. Both options required some physical action which utilized chemicals released into our body.
Without that physical action (or reaction), other than being a meal for a predator or the recipient of a bashing, the released chemicals would hang about in the body, and eventually cause health problems (if not used up).
Thus, it stands to reason that one of the most effective ways of relieving stress is by doing something physical. In short – exercise!
It does not necessarily mean trips to the gym, but it usually requires a little bit of a change in attitude and lifestyle. And exercise, besides being a great way to relieve the effects of stress related problems, has many more benefits for general health as well.
Relaxing to Relieve Stressors
You will probably have to train yourself to relax. There are many ways and forms of relaxation – all of which can help relieve stress symptoms. The simple action (or non-action) of relaxation releases chemicals and hormones around the body, that can have short term and long term health advantages.
Changes happen in your body and brain that are indispensable in giving you the feel good factor. Of course, you need to find the time to exercise. But to do some relaxation is not beyond anyone.
There are many forms of relaxation that will help relieve stress. They range from simple breathing exercises to meditation. Both of these, and many more, have scientific proof to back them up with realistic resources to help relieve stress.
The simple act of deep breathing does a lot to help you relax. Once again, there are wonder chemicals and hormones released that can, for instance, reduce pain and certainly reduce any feelings of tension.
The same is true of any of the other forms of relaxation. many practiced for years by different cultures the world over. In the so-called developed nations, we often think such practices are a nonsense. Yet, science has proven otherwise. It needs our acceptance and practice of the various relaxation techniques if we want relief from stress by relaxation.
Diet and Nutrition are Important in Combating Stress
The phrase ‘You Are What You Eat’ usually has physical connotations relating to a weight problem. We all know – even if we ignore it – that diet plays an most important part in our overall health and well being. Once again, it often associates itself with physical health problems (e.g. obesity… resulting in heart disease and the like).
Note: There are many other physical failures attributed to eating a poor diet.
We are dealing with the effect that poor diet and nutrition has on our mental well-being, and in particular our ability to deal with or relieve stress problems.
Taking it further, there are some foods which can actually exacerbate the problems of stress. Poor diet and the resultant lack of proper nutrition can put the body (and mind) in a situation where perhaps ‘normal’ stress situations become more severe and long lasting.
Food is not only the stuff we ram down our throats at the behest of the manufacturers – and let’s face it, much of our food is now ‘manufactured! Food really does have a direct relationship with the state of our health.
It can be a good relationship, but all too often it is not. Yet we all still eat far too much of what we know deep down is probably not doing us any good at all.
If you are serious about relief from stress, then good nutrition is absolutely essential. A good diet with the right nutrients are paramount in the constant battle that our minds and bodies have with the results of exposure to stress.
Good diet and nutrition, probably require more of a lifestyle change, than a commitment to exercise or relaxation. There are foods that can help you attain relief from stress. There are other foods that can ensure that you will always be trying to find ways in relieving stress in your life.
Training Your Brain to Avoid Stress
Chronic stress is basically a mental health issue, which if not dealt with, can become a general health issue with many associated problems. It stands to reason then, that the brain and our thoughts, are an integral part of the stress process. After all, it is our brain that sends out the initial messages to the other organs in the body to get moving and deal with the stress that entered our lives.
The thought of trying to ‘train our brain’ will probably seem an impossible task for many. After all, isn’t it our brain that makes us who we are?
Think on this before you go too far down that line of thought. Many billions of dollars are spent each year by huge commercial organisations who employ advertising agents to do precisely that… advertise!
You CAN train your brain in the search of things to help you relieve stress problems. The great plus point, is that it does not take up any extra time, unlike relaxation and exercise, or even good diet.
You can start to train your brain the moment you have finished reading this article. Train your brain to avoid stress, or at least to help you get relief from stressful situations. Don’t let others do it for you in order to meet their own ends. Take control of your brain in the quest for personal stress relief.
In short, give yourself a ‘happy’ brain instead of a sad brain. Banish negative thinking and change to some positive thinking. It takes some effort. But, you can do it as you go about your everyday business activities or even in your own family life.