As people, we are under more and more stress each and every day and that stress is not good for us. Stress can, and will, affect us physically and spiritually as well as emotionally so knowing how to deal with stress is the key to health.
Here are ten tips for dealing with stress in our lives.
- Diet ~ If we have a poor diet, and poor eating habits our performance will be compromised and we will lose stamina and our tolerance for stress will be reduced. Limiting the amount of caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars, fats and excessive salt will go a long way to change all of this.
- Exercise ~ This will increase muscle strength and lung capacity, but exercise will also lower blood pressure and cholesterol and will improve sleep. All of these will help reduce the amount of stress and how we deal with stress in our lives. The better physical shape we are in, the better we will be able to handle the stressors in our lives.
- Smoking ~ Stop! Nicotine intensifies a stress reaction. Nicotine depletes vitamins C and E and makes our bodies more vulnerable to stress-related diseases. Chewing tobacco would also be included in this category.
- Positive Metal Attitude ~ We have within us, the power to overcome stress and to manage our reaction to stress. Being flexible and not taking life too seriously, find humor in difficult situations, positive thinking, not jumping to conclusions, admitting mistakes and learning from them, think first and act second. All of these will help us to remain positive, and when stress happens, and it will, the effects will be less.
- Spirituality ~ People with a belief in a power beyond themselves cope with higher levels of stress for longer periods of time. Prayer and meditation, call it what you want, but that quiet time that centers us is an effective tool in stress control.
- Relaxation ~ Relaxation is the deliberate, purposeful quieting of the mind and the body. Chemicals are produced in our bodies when we relax that neutralize stress chemicals. Deep breathing is one way to relax.
Start with three very deep breaths, inhale through the nose, hold it for five seconds and breathe out through the mouth. Pause for 5-10 seconds between each breath. Take three more deep breaths, but slightly smaller than the previous ones utilizing the same procedure, in through the nose out through the mouth. Finish with three normal, but full breaths.
- Satisfying Self-Expression ~ Read a book, get a hobby, write, paint, woodworking, the idea is to find another channel for the energy that we store inside us that can intensify stress in our lives.
- Have a Life Beyond the Job ~ The job is not your life and your life is not the job. There is a big world out there filled with family and friends. Leave the job behind when it is quitting time and, using number 7 above, find an outlet for the energy. Spend time doing something else and get your mind off the job. Keeping a balance between your home life and your work life, be attentive to how family members feel, two-way communication is important.
- Limited Self-Disclosure ~ Talking with people helps. Studies have shown that people who talk more about issues have an easier time dealing with the issues when they arise again in our lives and reduce the amount of stress related to those issues. Communication lowers tension, reduces feelings of being unique and improves our thinking and decision-making. Communication helps us to feel “normal.”
- Look out for False Stress Cures ~ Alcohol and other “recreational drugs, avoidance of circumstances, people and places that remind you of a bad experience. Denial of the situation, excessive joking when someone is unhappy, arrogance, and emotionally freezing. All of these are false cures that only bury the problem and will continue to cause stress in our lives.
The best, and most successful way of dealing with stress is to deal with it when it happens. Proper preparation will go a long way in helping when stress arises, and it will, but when it does deal with it.