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Friday, August 6, 2010

Key Solutions for Managing Stress Better

 By: Tony Robinson

Stress is not all bad. In fact, a certain amount of stress can
make life interesting and engaging. We cannot escape every
deadline or every commitment, so, rather than trying to
eliminate stress entirely, we need to attempt to control stress
as best we can. Interestingly enough, if we don't have enough
stress, we may end up feeling tired and hopeless.

It would be wonderful if we could come up with a mathematical
formula for stress--the amount of stress an individual could
conceivably accept without going into overdrive. However,
optimal stress levels vary from person to person and from
situation to situation. In fact, a situation that might make
your skin crawl might be invigorating for another person.
Likewise, a person who thrives on constant change would be
stressed out in a job that is mundane, while an individual that
hates change would be stressed out in a position that is
constantly in a state of flux.

Experts believe that many illnesses are directly tied to
stress. If you find yourself becoming constantly ill, or you
feel nervous much of the time, you need to develop strategies
for coping. It should be noted, however, that stress management
is a practiced art--you can't expect to master it in a single
day. However, if you keep at it, chances are you will learn ways
to deal effectively with stress.

One of the first things you should do is to learn what your
primary stressors are. Is it cooking dinner? Preparing for a
presentation? Driving to work? While you cannot necessarily
eliminate these chores, you can make them more manageable. For
instance, if cooking dinner stresses you out, consider ordering
takeout once a week in order to take a break from your normal
routine. If preparing presentations is a problem, learn to
divide up the project so that you're only focusing on a section
at a time. If your morning commute leaves you frazzled, try
leaving for work fifteen minutes earlier. The idea here is to
recognize your stressors and come up with ideas for limiting
their impact.

You should then try if at all possible to lessen your emotional
reactions to stressors. You may notice that stressors cause you
to think negatively, focusing on the worst aspects of a
situation. Instead, consider a stressor an opportunity for
improving your life. Try to determine whether you are
overreacting to certain situations. It is entirely possible that
every stressor you encounter is not urgent--that you can take
your time to assess the situation and therefore reduce your
stress level. Also, think of yourself as being in control of
your emotions. While you may not be able to do anything about a
certain situation, you can control your reactions to it.

Pay close attention to your physical reactions to stress. For
instance, adopt deep breathing techniques in order to decrease
your heart rate. If your physical reactions to stress are
severe, you should consult your doctor to see if you should be
on medication. However, a simple reaction to stress is to simply
take a break from the action. This way, you can get some
valuable "alone time" to think through a situation and see if
you can find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Another effective way to fight stress is to strengthen your
body. You should engage in aerobic activity at least three times
a week. You should also make sure you're eating nutritious food.
Try to avoid stimulants such as sugar and caffeine, and make
sure that you get enough sleep each night. These simple
strategies can help you to cope when situations seem

You have to recognize that stress is an inevitable part of
life. You cannot go through life coasting from one situation to
the next and not expect to encounter some stress. However, with
effective management techniques, you can turn stressful
situations into opportunities for growth. The more strategies
you invoke to deal with stressors, the happier and healthier you
will be. But remember to start slowly and build up your
emotional reserves. A gradual approach works best when it comes
to stress management--otherwise, you could actually become
stressed out by the pressure of it all.

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