The early human beings didn’t have stress in their lives and hence didn’t have to worry about stress management. As our lives have become complicated, our need for stress management has increased manifold.
Before we go into stress management, let us try and understand stress better.Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction and can happen to anybody. Whenever we feel threatened our body is tuned in to release certain hormones which give us the “fight or flight” option – this is a stressed state. Today there is a need for stress management because this stressed state continues throughout the day.
Biologically, once the threat isn’t around, we are expected to come down to the normal state but that doesn’t happen anymore because of the various complexities in our life. Stress management is nothing but an attempt by you to bring down this alarm system at will, so you can chill and not be stressed.
Different types of stress
Acute stress is the short-term stress, which we sometimes put ourselves in for that adrenalin rush. For example, if you run a race and you are under stress to clock a good timing that would be an example of acute stress. Or getting onto a roller coaster knowing fully well that you will be under a lot of stress and will be screaming your heart. This kind of stress is fun and doesn’t last long enough to cause your health any issues. You don’t need to be worried about stress management here.
Chronic stress is a long-term stress and you can’t invoke this for fun like acute stress. Chronic stress also has long-term health effects and can kill you if you don’t resort to stress management immediately. Some of the affects of chronic stress are – memory loss, loss of appetite, depression and lowering of spatial recognition senses. Men seem to be more affected by chronic stress than the women.
What is stress management?
The various techniques and therapies available to help a man or a woman reduce their stress and get back to normal day-2-day living is known as stress management. Life provides a lot of challenges to every individual – challenges which are unique to the individual and hence put him (or her) through different types & levels of stress. Managing this stress and helping the individual maintain a healthy life is called stress management.
Stress management can happen in two ways – through self-help, which is what we would recommend for your first attempt at stress management. After all, stress management is all about taking charge of yourself, your thoughts, and your emotions.
The second way is where one takes help of health professionals well trained in stress management.
Identifying the source of stress
The first step of stress management is identifying what is stressing you? What is that one thing whose removal will reduce the stress in your life. Answering this question is very difficult because for most of us it is a combination of things which have driven us to seeking stress management help.
The contributors of stress aren’t always obvious. The reasons for your stress may sometimes be just you – for instance you may be working as a sales guy in a huge corporation. Let us say if you were bad at sales you will definitely be stressed about not doing your share of sales. So, there is no external factor responsible for your stress but it is you who needs to change – either by getting a non-sales job or by getting better at sales. A good part of the stress management for you in this case will be trying to find a new job.
Four sources of Stress
Each one of these sources may drive you to stress management experts.
Environmental Stress Sources:
Your five senses are constantly in touch with rest of the world and inputs they receive from the environment have the ability to put you under stress. For example, constant noise and honking in a traffic jam can stress you out.
Social Stress Sources:
This is a type of stress triggered by other events & individuals around you. For example, you may be stressed out due to a public speaking opportunity or a job interview. You may also be under a lot of stress due to a relationship gone bad or conflict with your boyfriend or some money-related issues.
Physiological Stress Sources
This kind of stress is due to physiological events in our body or with respect to our body – such as stress due to lack of sleep or lack of workout. Stress due to onset of adolescence, or onset of menopause, or onset of aging. Stress due to stomach cramps during menstrual cycles etc.
Cognitive / Emotional Stress Sources
For this kind of stress you are the biggest contributor because it is based on your thoughts. As explained while you were reading about chronic stress, our body decides to go on stress-mode when threatened and if we keep giving our body reasons to go into stress-mode often, we aren’t doing ourselves a favour. This is the biggest source, which pushes people to get into stress management.
What do you do today for stress management?
Many people don’t realize that they need to get stress management done from experts and end up doing their own stress management. This is usually done by taking up smoking, drinking alcohol, watching too much TV, taking pills, procrastination etc.
This is the wrong kind of stress management, definitely not the kind which will help reduce stress. There are much healthier ways to manage stress and live a happy normal life.
Stress management tips listed below
Stress Management Tip 1: Avoid the stress, which is in your control
Not all the stress will be in your control, but if it in your control, definitely avoid it. If you can’t say “No” and as a result end up with a lot of things to deliver, please learn to say “No.” If there is an individual who puts you under a lot of stress try and stay clear or him (or her). Trust us, nobody is worth more than the pain of going through stress management. If traffic stresses you or certain things stress you, stay away from them at any cost.
Stress Management Tip 2: Alter the stress situation
If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, as mentioned in stress management Tip 1, try and alter it. More often than not this means changing the way you behave or interact with individuals or environments around you. If something about somebody is putting you under stress, try and speak to them. Sometimes, if you assert and tell the person that you are under stress because of them, people back off – so not a bad idea to be assertive. Sometimes the stress is because of something of your own doing and that is right, alter your approach – start early from home, finish things on time, do whatever it takes so you don’t have to be stressed.
Stress Management Tip 3: Adapt to the stress situation
For example instead of getting caught in traffic jam every day and getting stressed about it, you can easily indulge in stress management by starting from your home early. Or better still focus on the positive and look at the time you spend in your car as a Personal Time, or as an opportunity to catch up with latest chartbusting music.
Stress Management Tip 4: Accept the stress situation
Things that you can’t change also have a tendency of putting you under stress…so be willing to accept it as it is – alter yourself or your attitude towards the stress source. Seek solace in your partner, your friends or your spouse and speak to them. Speaking helps relieve a lot of stress and helps you move forward in your stress management goals. Do remember that this is the most difficult tip because accepting your source of stress as it is will be difficult. If you can’t change the stressor, no point stressing over it…right?