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Stress Management - How To Cope With Stress

Aug 17, 2007
Identifying stress and being aware of its effect on our lives is not enough for reducing its harmful effects. Just as there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities to manage it. But it requires work toward relief: change the source of stress and change your reaction to it.

Here's how it works.

1.Reccognise your stressors and your emotional and physical reactions.

Be aware of your distress. Don't ignore it. Don't gloss over your problems. Determine what distresses you. What are you telling yourself about what those stressors means? Determine how your body responds to the stress. Do you become nervous or physically upset? If so,in what specific ways?

2. What can you change?

Can you change your stressors by avoiding or eliminating them completely?
Can you reduce their intensity (manage them over a period of time instead of on a daily or weekly basis)? Can you reduce your exposure to stress (take a break, leave the physical premises)?Can you take the time and energy necessary to making a change (goal setting, time management techniques, and delayed gratification strategies may be helpful here)?

3.Your emotions will determine the way you react.

Your stress reaction is caused by your perception of danger...physical danger and/or emotional danger. Do you view your stressors in an exaggerated way and/or taking a difficult situation and making it a disaster?
Do you expect to please everyone?
Are you overreacting and seeing things as totally critical and urgent? Do you feel you must always prevail in every situation?
Try to adopt more moderate views; try to see the stress as something you can cope with rather than something that overpowers you.
Try to moderate your excess emotions. Put the situation in perspective. Do not dwell on the negative aspects and the "what if's."

4. How to control your physical reactions to stress.

Slow, deep breaths will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal.
Relaxation techniques can reduce muscle tension. Medications, when prescribed by a physician, can help in the short term. However, they alone are not the answer.Learning to moderate these reactions on your own is a preferable long-term solution.

5. How to build your physical reserves.

Exercise for cardiovascular fitness three to four times a week (moderate, prolonged rhythmic exercise is best, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or jogging).
Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
Keep your ideal weight.
Stay away from nicotine, excessive caffeine, and other stimulants.
Mix pleasure with work. Take breaks and get away when you can.
Get enough sleep. Be as regular with your sleep schedule as possible.

6. Reinforce your emotional reserves.

Develop some supportive friendships/relationships.
Reach for realistic goals which are meaningful to you, rather than goals others have for you that you do not share.
Expect some frustrations, failures, and sorrows.
Always be kind and gentle with yourself -- be a friend to yourself.
About the Author
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