We experience stress whenever we feel that the demand for us to do or react to something is more than what we can bear. Managing everyday stress is very important because our health depends so much on how we take and handle it.
Stress is often interpreted by most people as negative; it causes psychological fatigue that can even lead to physical illness. On the other hand, stress actually becomes an opportunity for us to vent out our pent-up energy and explore ways to manage it.
But before you begin managing stress, you must first be able to identify its causes. Your efforts to deal with stress will only be successful once you know what stresses you in the first place. Is it the pressure of meeting deadlines or quotas when at work? Is it a recent or an ongoing argument with a spouse or a loved one? Is it a threatening situation?
Depending on what your stressors are, there are innumerable ways to manage them. Following are the more general ones:
- Eat healthy and get sufficient sleep. This tip may be a dead duck, but it works, nonetheless. Having a balanced diet doesn't make you feel bloated, and sleeping a full 6 to 8 hours a day refreshes your mind and body.
- Exercise. It is a very healthy relief to stress because moving shakes off your tension. Also, exercise helps you to be in good shape to combat fatigue, thus, it makes you feel better.
- Meditate. This can be as methodical as Yoga and Tai Chi, or as freely as just being still and staring blankly for several minutes.
- Breathe in rhythms. Since you breathe all the time, you can learn to control your breaths to feel calm. Avoid shallow breathing when in a stressful situation. Breathe in deeply, hold for a few seconds, and slowly breathe out. Do it repeatedly for 5 to 10 minutes everyday. This is absolutely healthy, unlike smoking.
- Set realistic and attainable goals. It's all right to take challenges and risks, but don't let them get the best of you. Make sure you take tasks that are well within your capabilities.
- Resolve your conflicts and issues with other people. Holding grudges adds to stress. Learn to be more forgiving and try to work out a solution to the conflict. This helps you put the stress of the argument behind you and move on.
- Prepare yourself for events that you know can be stressful. May it be overtime work or an aggravating situation, take things in as they come. Try your best not to react negatively.
- Welcome change as positive challenge, not threat. When change is introduced to your routine, don't worry about adjusting. Look at it as something new to learn.
- Don't be bothered with things beyond your control.
- Have a support system. You can lean on others when stress arises. Those people may be your family, your friends, professionals, or a peer group in organizations.
Ultimately, how you handle stress makes a difference.
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