Oasis Living Magazine, December 01, 2011
Do you sometimes feel like you are running on the treadmill that never seems to end? You run to work, run to pick up the kids, run to do errands, the bills keep piling up, and there’s never enough time to complete everything on your list. Technology was meant to allow us more freedom, but we have become more connected and accessible. Whether emails, phone calls or texts, it seems never ending. The daily hassles accumulate and can eventually wear us down. That’s when we need to get a grip and manage our stressors. If we don’t, they will manage us!
An experience or situation that creates negative stress is the result of mismatch between the challenges you experience and the belief in your ability to cope. A person gets stressed when they perceive that the demands placed on them exceed the resources they can mobilize. This scenario is a normal aspect of life and finding the right tools to manage this mismatch is the key to reducing these stressful situations.
Stress gets a bad reputation, but not all stress is bad. We require a certain level of positive stress to develop our skills and to have some exhilarating experiences. Whether you are bungee jumping, aiming for a promotion at work, competing in sports, or working on something that you are passionate about, you experience a certain level of stress. These positive stressors are very important for us to perform well. Stress management is keeping a healthy balance between the positive and negative stressors.
Negative stress can affect us in many ways and is the greatest cause of ill health in our world today.
|This is how stress affects your body
|This is how stress affects your mind and behaviour
Strategy #2: Alter the stressor
Whether you are bungee jumping, aiming for a promotion at work, competing in sports, or working on something that you are passionate about, you experience a certain level of stress. These positive stressors are very important for us to perform well. Stress management is keeping a healthy balance between the positive and negative stressors.
Strategies for Coping with Stress
When you drive to work in the morning and there is a slow car in the fast lane that you can’t pass, what do you think? When you call your Internet provider and you are put on hold for a long period of time, how do you react?
Many situations we find ourselves in, including the examples above, can either become stressors or be of no consequence to us – it is our choice. We have the capacity to either change the situation or change our reaction. An effective strategy to work through this process is THE FOUR A’s:
Change THE situation:
*Avoid the stressor
*Alter the stressor
Strategy #1: Avoid the stressor
• Learn to say no
• Avoid people who stress you out
• Take control of your environment
• Avoid upsetting topics
• Revise your to-do list
• If you can’t avoid the situation, try to change it
• Be willing to compromise
• Manage your time better
• Be more assertive
Change YOUR reaction:
* Adapt to the stressor
* Accept the stressor
Strategy #3: Adapt to the stressor
• Reframe the problem
• Look at the bigger picture
• Adjust your standards
• Focus on the positive
• Let go of perfection
Strategy #4: Accept the stressor
• Don’t try to control the uncontrollable
• Look for the upside
• Share your feelings
• Learn to forgive
Further Tips for Coping
• Manage your time. Make a list and prioritize.
• Support system: a problem shared is a problem halved.
• Distractions: take a break and go for a massage.
• Humor: laughing reduces stress, boosts your energy and it’s free.
• Healthy diet: eat balanced meals and drink plenty of water.
• Exercise: relieves stress and improves your health.
• Sleep: wake up refreshed and calm.
• Relaxation techniques: yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, listening to music.Stress is an everyday aspect of life as our modern world becomes more connected and diverse, with evolving technology, more choices and economic changes. The key to managing any stressful situation we face is to focus on our preparation for a possible stressor, our perception of the stressor and how we react to the stressor. We have a choice!