stress management

MANAGING STRESS FOR PEAK PERFORMANCE

Activities of our daily lives can sometimes become very stressful. When we think of how to manage issues like work, relationships, finance, housing, family and other personal issues all at the same time, our body tends to reach a tipping point.
Stress occurs when you sense or feel that demands placed on you go beyond your ability to cope. Stress can sometimes be a good thing i.e. when it acts as a catalyst to work or to work under pressure. An example of this instance is the energy that enables you to execute a task before a set deadline even when the timing is short. That being said, an extreme amount of stress is unhealthy and should be alleviated. Untreated chronic stress can cause severe health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Hence it is important that we know how to manage stress.

How do we manage stress?

Know when you are stressed:

Like every illness, stress has its symptoms. Symptoms of stress may include anxiety, back pain, constipation or diarrhea, depression, fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping or insomnia, problems with relationships, shortness of breath, stiff neck or jaw, upset stomach, weight gain or loss etc.

Identify the stressor:

The first step to take toward stress management is to identify the stressor. Identify the activities, scenarios or events that can cause stress. If doing a particular activity or being in a particular position causes one or more symptoms of stress, then there is a high chance that it is a stressor to you.

Identify your role in causing stress:

Stress is a result of pressure. Sometimes, we are the architect of our predicaments, sometimes we are not. The truth is we all play a role in the causing or maintaining stress and until we identify that role and accept it, we cannot successfully manage stress.

Avoid the stressor:

It is wise to avoid every stressor in your life. Consciously see that they are eliminated. If doing a particular task causes you to be stressed, then stop doing it. If a particular place causes you stress, avoid it. Take control of your environment; take control of your life. Yes, it is true that some of this stressor cannot be avoided as they are situations that need to be addressed but even these situations too can be addressed. Prepare to the best of your ability for events you know may be stressful, such as a job interview.

Alter the situation:

When faced with that stressful situation you can’t avoid, alter it. Change your attitude and approach towards it. Find a stress free or less stressful approach towards it. Be willing to compromise. Try to find a positive angle and get fixated on it i.e. look at the bright side. When you have a positive attitude towards any situation, your stress levels drop drastically allowing for a happier and more productive environment.

Accept the unchangeable:

Some of the things that cause us stress are actually things that we have no control over. If you ever experienced the loss of a loved one, it usually is a very stressful experience. It is situations like this that are unchangeable. Accept it and move on. Don’t put in energy trying to change what you have no control over. Things like whether. Instead, look for the bright side. Learn from experiences; see every unchangeable situation as an opportunity to grow. Be grateful for what you have and forgive any wrongdoing.

Other activities you can embark on to manage stress include: Learn to set realistic goals at home and at work, avoid overtasking, exercise regularly, eat well-balanced meals and get enough sleep. Learn to practice meditation and participate in something you don’t find stressful, such as sports, social events or hobbies.

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