Friday, March 4, 2011

Lifestyle Changes For More Effective Stress Management

Stress is a fact of everyday life. It is associated with happy events (weddings, promotions, and vacations) as well as unhappy ones (divorces, burglaries, and job layoffs). It can be triggered by trivial matters (burned toast or a missing button) as well as by major life crises (births and deaths). It also builds up gradually when you have more things to do than time in which to do them.
Too much stress leads to chronic headaches, high blood pressure, ulcers, heart disease and other health problems. In fact, some doctors believe that 90 percent of all illnesses are stress related. But stress is not necessarily bad. A life without it would be stagnant and boring. Some people encounter more stressful events than others, but the way we perceive and react to stress is often more significant than the amount we face. And the accumulation of minor hassles (long lines, wrong numbers and surly salesclerks) can be just as stressful to some people as a mugging or a serious illness.
There is no need for anyone to suffer from the kind of stress overload that result in health problems. There are many practical ways to avoid, reduce or relive stress.

Learn to Plan: Disorganization can breed stress. Having too many projects going simultaneously can cause tension, confusion, forgetfulness and feelings of being overwhelmed. Planning and prioritizing make things more manageable and can give us a sense of peace and personal power.

Recognize and Accept Limits: Unreasonable and perfectionist goals for yourself can also cause stress. Nobody is perfect. Don’t set yourself up for a sense of failure or inadequacy no matter how well you perform. Set achievable goals for yourself.

Embrace the Positive: Avoid a negative, complaining, critical, fearful mindset. Learn to praise the things you like in others. Practice an "attitude of gratitude" in assessing your life. Notice and reward yourself for your good qualities and for even small improvements.
Have Fun: You need to occasionally to escape from the pressures of life. Find a pastime whish is absorbing and enjoyable to you.

Learn to Tolerate and Forgive: Intolerance of others leads to frustration and anger. Engaging in rigid, black or white thinking about the way things "should" be can cause harmful, fatiguing emotions. Flexibility, acceptance, and finding the gray area can reduce stress and increase serenity.

Avoid Unnecessary Competition: A competitive, win-lose orientation that makes life into a series of contests tends to put your self esteem on the line in every situation and can create excessive tension and anxiety. It can, also make you unnecessarily aggressive.

Exercise: Regular physical exercise not only gives you more strength and energy to deal with life's demands but also helps release a myriad of emotions such as anger, tension, and depression. You will be more likely to stay with an exercise program if you choose one that you really enjoy, rather than one that is hard work and drudgery.

Learn a Drug-Free Method of Relaxing: Meditation, visualization, progressive relaxation, yoga, tai chi, massage, etc. are ways of quieting the mind and relaxing the body. A little bit goes a long way especially if you incorporate this into to your daily life.

Express Your Feelings: Talk out your troubles, worries, concerns with a friend, counselor, or anyone you trust. If you do not feel that you can confide in anyone, write in a personal journal. Expressing your bottled-up tension can be very freeing.

Excerpted from : Woman's Day by Rebecca E. Greer

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