Stress Management can also not happen overnight as stresses do not build up in a single day.
Crucial aspect of Stress Management is to first know the nature of ones Stresses. Before you jump into the deep end of Stress management pool, always remember coping with it in a healthy manner and keeping your stress levels under control is a long term commitment. There are no quick fixes. Managing stress has to be made a part of your daily life. Read on…
Stress causes more than 60% of all Illnesses
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, after analyzing data from more than 6,300 people, believes that there’s more stress in people’s lives today than 25 years ago. The American Medical Association notes that stresses cause more than 60% of all human illnesses and diseases. A 2011 poll conducted by Nielsen found out that 87% of Indian women felt stressed most of the time.
Stressy lives… Stressed YOU!
With life having tuned into a rat race, it often becomes difficult for us to segregate all its aspects into separate containers. There are times when we are happiest and the very same day can get us to face our ultimate lows. Thanks to a lot of search and vocabulary, we brand this dis-balanced as Stress.
Scientifically it is defined as something that elementally throws us off balance. However, on a simpler note, stress just means that you have lost control over a certain aspect owing to too much pressure, real or perceived.
Common signs of Stress
There are several signs that indicate you are falling into a dark zone. They could be behavioral, emotional, cognitive and physical in symptoms.
1. Behavioural Signs: Isolation, erratic eating habit, loss of appetite, nail biting, sweating, procrastination, etc. as some of the common signs that reflects in your behavior, withdrawal to a state of denial, loss of confidence, shift in behavioral pattern.
2. Emotional Signs: Sense of loneliness, depression, short-temper, mood shift, feeling like crying, etc.
3. Cognitive Indications: Loss of concentration, flushing, facial tics, sweating, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, dizziness, aches, cramps, loss of libido and chest pains etc.
EuStress is Good…
Stress is a part of life and experiencing some amount of it in life is protective and adaptive. Daily life stresses have the capacity to make our minds and bodies prepare us for life challenges. It gives us tools to address the different issues in the time of crisis.
But when this Stress (Eustress) escalates, it becomes difficult to handle, destructiveness sets in and leads to damaging Distress. In Distress mode the body keeps producing cortisol “the stress hormone”, keeping the senses in fight or flight mode, inhibiting the smooth functioning of bodily functions, and keeps one emotionally and mentally “on the edge.”
This relentless cortisol buzz damages the endocrine health and can make one lose connection with self and make one emotionally, mentally and bodily non functional, thereby causing to lose the will and strength to face life.
Why is Stress Management necessary?
As often quoted by Management Gurus, Stress Management is a vital requirement for a productive living. Be it in workplace or be it in social life, it leads to loss of productivity and lack of interest. Unceasing Stress has severe side effects as well; it deters normal metabolism of human body and people may feel loss of appetite, over-eating, nausea, sleeplessness, constipation and many such irrational symptoms.
Often neglected, stress can lead to leads to more grievous threats to heart diseases, blood pressure, renal functions, paranoia, loss of memory and Parkinson’s disease. To avoid such things one has to identify the causes of stress and manage that to least affect the body and soul.
‘Change your thoughts and you can change your world’, the significance of thought processes in our life was known even in the early years of written history. Marcus Aurelius, the Roman emperor, believed that the contentment in our life depended on the quality of one’s thoughts.
Stress Management: Tips to Manage, Reduce and Eliminate…
The key to any kind of Stress Management is to keep re-conditioning and to keep shifting the Brain Set Point by working on the voluntary personal actions and fulfillments.
1. Start off by recognising the nature of stress that’s affecting you.
Be realistic, find the courage to accept your limits and ask yourself.
1. What are you worried about?
2. Where exactly are you feeling pain?
3. Does stress lead to pain in your body?
4. Since when have you been feeling them?
5. What is the regularity/length of these signs?
6. What are the stress symptoms you’re feeling?
7. You now need to go deeper into the problem. What is the source of your stress?
8. Try recollecting the first time you experienced these symptoms and whether they come back frequently.
9. Is it related to your work, finances, love, social interactions, spirituality or lack of organization? Or is there some other reason?
List them down one-by-one starting with the problem that gives you maximum stress. Now you’ve got the reasons for your stress in the order of their intensity.
2. Did you address the previous problems?
If yes, how? Which solutions did/did not work? Along with the stress-busting strategies you’ve used earlier, what new ways can you think of for dealing with the more recent stress problems?
3. Stress is Subjective
Over age and with time, the factors that we consider stressful or problematic are subject to change. What was considered stressful in middle school will be cakewalk today.
Similarly, what stresses you right now will be irrelevant tomorrow. In all probability, stress is a result of perception, is subjective and is over much based on how we see things rather than how something warms up to us.
The basic objective of learning how to manage stress well is that you have to know it can be kept at bay. The best part about stress is that it bothers us only as long as we want it to do so, more often than not.
1. 90% of the times we perceive the situation to be dangerous, difficult and painful. And we perceive we don’t have the resources to cope with it.
2. 10% of the situations are in-fact Dangerous.
4. Stress Management is a process
In order to manage daily living, you need to be clued into yourself. Never ever expect somebody to cajole you or take your hand at the right moment. Sure you could be lucky to have these support systems but then again, never take things to exist as they are always.
Moving on to a deeper level, you will realize that stress management needs deeper understanding of the whys and hows of stress itself.
5. Knowing the crux of Stress
Stressful nights, days or phases are all attributed to problems. The best bit about managing stress, when it comes to this context, is that you have to know how to face a problem. The moment you begin to take a problem as something that is commonplace instead of something that is only curtailing you life, this distress bubble is busted.
Effective Stress Management requires you to think rationally. The general and average human being tends to think that the entire world and even destiny is up against him or her in arms. This silly thought has to be out rightly rejected.
6. The higher you allow stress to dominate you, the greater will be the damage inflicted
The major crisis that comes from stress is the result of how poorly you take stress. We always tend to equate a problem with a paramount end result. You might never once realize that the problem would fail to exist if you actually tackle it calmly.
The worst problems are those that stem from personal relationships, finances and even a profession. However, the approach to the problems depends on how and where you pit your priorities. Surely, none of the problems can be considered less or more in terms of its significance. On another plain, you do need to know that each problem has a different way of bothering us.
For instance, in case you had a monetary problem, you would always want to have more money. But then, thinking more practically— as yourself – is it always possible to suddenly get monetary influxes from time to time? No, it is not! The idea that I am trying to propagate here is that money will cease to be a stressful factor only when you see it as a need but not a dominator.
Try changing you outlook and set your own limits first. This is the best way you can keep stress at bay. We will come to more of this is the later parts of the piece. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that everything happens for the best. This is the best way to know that nothing, almost nothing, can bother you unless you want it to bother!
7. The well defined boundaries you need to set
Remember all those times when you fell flat while practicing a run at school? Or the time you goofed up your speech on stage? The concerned teachers, the mocking friends, the supportive best friends and the hassled you— do you still remember all these pictures clearly?
Life is not much different from your school days. You face a challenge in life as you did back then. You get mixed reactions. You still get less support and more jibes. So what has changed?
The one thing that has changed is we get stressed in life while life at school meant we could overcome these situations. Is it because we do not know how to fight back harder anymore?
8. What are the resources at your disposal?
Who constitute your support network? Prepare a list of such people or things. Then, focus on developing your Stress Skills.
- What are the current Stress Skills you possess?
- Are they powerful enough or do you need to modify or enhance them?
9. Think about the psychological aspect of dealing with your Stress.
Are you well prepared or hesitant regarding your ability to confront your stress issues psychologically?
Stress diminishes our urge to succeed in life and realise your true potential. So, find out where you wish to see yourself in future. What is it that you want to accomplish in life? Mark a time period by which you want to achieve that.
10. Make a Stress management Strategy
List down the ways you’re planning to take to achieve the goals mentioned above. Some of the Stress Management strategies are…
1. Meditation. 30+ minutes of daily Meditation can help overcome destress and help change perspective.
2. Breath and Stress are interconnected. Stress can be overcome by bringing the Breath back into a Diaphragmatic Sine-Wave Breathing pattern.
3. Laughter Yoga. Do something fun and enjoyable OR simply practice laughter yoga for at least 15 minutes everyday. Laughter yoga has been scientifically proven to reduce Stress chemicals in the body.
4. Practice Yoga Asana. Practice Yoga Asana for at least 30 minutes everyday. Hatha yoga reduces perceived stress and negative affect and balances the cortisol “stress chemical” levels in the brain.
5. Learn to Relax. Develop a regular relaxation routine like yoga, yoga nidra, meditation, or some simple quiet time.
6. Get regular exercise. It is a great way to take time for you, blow off steam, and release tension.
7. Find a support system. Sometimes we just need to “vent” or get something “off our chest.”
8. Change your attitude. “Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it”. See if this is the case with you…
9. Get organized and take charge. Plan your time, make a schedule and establish your priorities. Take responsibility for your life. Be proactive. Focus on Problem solving and look for solutions rather than worry.
10. Know the importance of “me time”. Take 10 minutes break for every 2 hours. Know your “red flags” and be willing to take time to do something about them.
11. Take good care of yourself. Paradoxically, the time we need to take care of ourselves the most, when we are stressed, is the time we do it the least address it.
12. Learn to say “NO”. Saying “NO” is liberating. Saying “no” does not mean you are self-centered and/or uncaring.
13. Get a hobby, do something different. A hobby helps you tap into the inner child hidden under the layers, it helps you connect to SELF. A hobby helps De-stress.
14. Slow down. Take the time you need to do a good job. Poorly done tasks can lead to mistakes, poor performance AND added stress.
11. Create backup plans
The real answer lies in the fact that we have forgotten to set limits for ourselves as we age. Younger days meant days of less worry since we know that things will get set as per a pattern. This was not because our parents took care of us but because we knew that excess worries will get us nowhere. Then, why the issue of worrying so much over every setback, low or failure now?
We are supposed to be more mature as we age. The reality is we begin to forget that we did not set boundaries on what can actually bother us and what cannot.
Create backup plans. You need to think of any situation as a test. You either get the right answer and unlock great marks or you fail it and you get a chance at it again. Of course, this knowledge and realization needs courage.
12. Stop carrying Baggage
Fumbling along the path of life is natural. There is no way out of fumbles or jumbles in life. This in no way means that you have to be perpetually stressed. To begin with, stop crying around all your baggage.
The more you think of what could have been instead of focusing on what it is actually like, the worse it gets for your nerves. You really have to realize that this struggle can be curtailed or cut back on when you give up all those thoughts on what you had to leave behind.
Most commonly thoughts such as those desires you left unfulfilled, the thing you gave up for your partner or the lost prospects bother us since we are playthings of time.
We always want a better future but are afraid to give up the past baggage. This is because there are a hundred particles of greed we have within us. Human beings are created in a way that they long for what is gone or is not theirs… At least most humans!
13. Leave a room for spillage or changes
The fact that you tend to talk too much of ‘what could have been instead of what is’ is another huge reason for stress. Managing stress or doing away with stress becomes easier when you look at the possibility of how bright your life is now.
Living in the moment helps. Plan life, create backup plans, but not to the point that you become enslaved to the plans. Always leave a room for spillage or changes.
14. The tendency to feel Guilty
The worst bit that renders it more difficult to manage stress is the inclination you have towards pining all guilt on your own self. This is especially true in relationship where you tend to link up every aggression or negativity to the fact that you might have done something wrong.
There are some individuals who are too arrogant and/or never indulge in self guilt too. However, none of the two extremes work to help you build a happy life. You always need to know that if things are amiss it is because you need to do it some other way and with more effort than ever before.
15. Self esteem Woes
The basic issue that prolongs our stresses is that we pin everything to the point of self esteem. We barely understand that our self esteem needs to be right on track if we were to actually see the end of a problem. The gullibility of us human beings makes us all the more prone to accepting everything as a fault. Either it is our own or somebody else’s for once.
Make a change by tackling it without pinning it on a label. Yes, you might have had a major problem but instead of wasting energy crying over it and dashing your self esteem to pieces, make a move on.
Trace the main source of the problem. Try and anticipate the immediate effect and get going on solving the same. Try and see what best you can do to salvage the damage. Once you are actually involved in solving the problem, your stress nerves will cease to work. Stress management actually means that you take the bull by the horn.
Stress management does not mean forgetting everything and sitting behind the issues that have come into being. That is poor Stress management.
16. Categorise your objectives based on time period
It is necessary to categorise your objectives based on the time period needed to accomplish them. Divide your goals into short-term, weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual.
17. What is the difficulty level in the attainment of your Stress Management goals?
Are they easily achievable, moderately difficult or too challenging? While chalking out your objectives in life, it is necessary to keep them within your reach. Don’t make your goals too easy or lofty.
Stress management is a clear case of understanding how to manage something without hurting yourself. The fact that stress management is such a popular term proves that stress can never bash you up. Let Stress make you better, not bitter!