Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tips to Reduce the Strain of Stress

"If you view all the things that happen to you, both good and bad, as opportunities, then you operate out of a higher level of consciousness." - Les Brown

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, two-thirds of office visits to family doctors are for stress-related symptoms. These are stressful times for all of us and coupled with our day-to-day stressors, we can easily become affected by stressful symptoms.

You don't have to let stress rule your life.

When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. Your heart rate speeds up, breathing becomes faster, and you get a burst of energy. This is known as the fight-or-flight response. This response is fine if you are in danger. Imagine feeling this way several times a day for days on end.

greatnessConsider traffic jams, deadlines, eating on the run, bills to pay, job changes, endless chores and errands, and demands and more demands. That's the reality for most of us, most days.

How does stress affect you physically, mentally, emotionally and socially?

Physical Stress - Signs of physical stress include headaches, teeth grinding, fatigue, colds, insomnia, back, neck, stomach and shoulder pains. Watch for frequent colds, pain or excessive tiredness, all which can indicate that your stress level is rising.

Mental Stress - Symptoms of mental stressors may show up as confusion, poor concentration, boredom and a negative attitude. Forgetting to turn off a light is a lot different from not remembering something that is as important as a doctor's appointment you have had for months. Not being able to concentrate on something that you have no interest in is not the same as frequently losing your train of thought while reading your favorite magazine.

Emotional Stress - When you notice you are more irritable, easily upset, impatient, angry, frustrated and worrying more, stress is most likely affecting you emotionally. Ask yourself, what's going on in my life that is influencing how I feel? Is it my work, home life, children, family members?

Social Stress - Isolation, loneliness, avoiding contact with friends and family, nagging, lowered sex drive. Notice the times you just want to be alone, decline invitations from family and friends.

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, here are some ideas to help combat stress:

1. Try new ways of thinking. Work on releasing anger, frustration and worry. Worrying about tomorrow or yesterday wastes precious energy that could best be used to tackle the things you can change.

2. Learn to say "no". A sure way to add stress to your life is to fear saying no. Learn to set and maintain boundaries.

3. Manage your time wisely. Keeping to a schedule will allow you to get more done with less stress. Do the things that are most important to you first and schedule others for later.

4. Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, exercise and eat well. A healthy body makes a healthy mind!

5. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. It helps to have a strong network of family and friends as support but if you don't, there are professionals who are available to assist you in managing stress.

Article by Gladys M. Anderson - owner of Coach for Your Dreams, provides unwavering support for professional, gifted and wise women who are ready to live life out loud with courage, confidence and clarity.

[print_link] For graphic/photo/image credits.

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