Stress. We think of it as bad. Stress is terrible. We “suffer” from stress. We must find a way to reduce stress.
Actually, not all stress is bad. The response that we call stress – also called the fight-or-flight response – is automatic and immediate when we sense that we are threatened by something or someone.
Physically, our heart rate and blood pressure are likely to increase. As a result, we may find that we have increased agility and strength. Our reactions are faster.
If you have read other articles on this blog, you already understand that stress is not the perceived demands or threats made on you. Stress is your response to those perceived demands or threats.
You reduce stress by altering your response to perceived demands and threats. In this article, we give five stress management suggestions – ideas for practical stress management.
Years ago, response to threats or demands was not sustained, as it may be today. It was essential for our survival, so threats and demands were faced, response was made, and people went on with life. In today’s society, stressors such as family relationships, finances, and work seem to be prolonged. They stack up against us. They seem at times to plot against us.
Reduce Stress for Health
We need to reduce stress for the sake of our health. Sustaining the response too long can cause complaints such as anxiety, depression, diarrhea, insomnia, irritability, and other distresses. We need to reduce stress even though the causes (stressors) are not reduced.
Tips to Reduce Stress
1. Tip #1 to Reduce Stress
Search out the stressor. What is the threat or demand that seems too great? Is someone else making demands, or is it your own perfectionism? List the causes of your stress response.
2. Tip #2 to Reduce Stress
Mark the things that you can change. You may not be able to change your employment, but you may be able to change the way you plan your work. You can reduce stress greatly simply by planning out your day.
3. Tip #3 to Reduce Stress
Just say “No” with sincerity and firmness. When it is not necessary to make a commitment, and you cannot handle it, politely refuse.
4. Tip #4 to Reduce Stress
Learn to recognize your individual stress signals. Your body will tell you when stress is building. Do you get a headache? Do your neck and shoulders begin to ache? Do you feel nervous? Stress signals are not the same for everyone. Learn your signals and reduce stress with brief exercise or by changing activity.
5. Tip #5 to Reduce Stress
A well-rested, exercised, healthy body is better prepared to reduce stress. Take care of your body and it will be in better shape to handle the chemical changes brought about by stress. Increasingly, studies are showing that a fifteen to twenty minute nap in the afternoon will reduce stress and boost productivity.
Basic to any plan that will reduce stress is a refusal to blame the stress on others. Others can make demands. Others can threaten. Only you can decide how you will respond. A positive response will reduce stress.