Stress is a part of life that everyone deals with at one time or another. Everyone has different levels of stress and different coping mechanisms. According to Trevor Powell in the book Free Yourself from Harmful Stress. Stress is a positive force that enables you to survive. A certain level of stress is beneficial and stimulates you to perform well. Too much stress can impair performance. Stress has three basic components; these are sources, life skills, and signs or symptoms. Sources are everyday demands or major changes in your life. Life skills are the resources you have for coping with the events. And signs or symptoms are the physical and emotional symptoms that indicate that the demands outweigh your ability to cope. (Free Yourself from Harmful Stress-10, 11,15, and 16)
Trevor Powell also goes on to talk about the causes of stress. Sources of stress can be caused by a number of things such as, losing a job, divorce, financial problems, family problems, etc. It is wildly recognized that if you suffer several life event changes you will find it difficult to cope and you will suffer more symptoms of stress. (Free Yourself from Harmful Stress-10, 11,15, and 16)
Some of the symptoms of stress include panic attacks, obsessive behaviors, depression, low self-esteem, phobias, sleep problems, migraines, and chronic fatigue. There are several questions to ask yourself to find out if you have stress. Some of these questions are. Do you get sudden feelings of fear and panic? Do you feel tense, nervous, or wound up? Do you have difficulty sleeping? Do you feel irritable, edgy, and bad tempered? Do you feel physically run down? These are just a few of several questions. If you find that you do have a stress problem there are several things you can do to manage your stress. (Free Yourself from Harmful Stress-10, 11,15, and16)
Lets look back at the symptoms of stress and how to cope with them. Anxiety is one of the major symptoms of stress. Anxiety is characterized by fearful feelings without any reality-based danger. You can feel a sense of inner nervousness and anticipation. It can last for hours and is often accompanied by feelings of confusion. It can be treated successfully with self-help methods and without anti-anxiety medications. (From Panic to Power- 27)
A panic attack come in three parts and begins with an internal negative dialogue which send you into symptoms of anxiety and the cycle progresses into losing control. You will get feelings of nervousness, afraid, Shortness of breath, sweaty palms, upset stomach, pounding heart. There is a six-part approach to self-control of panic attacks. You want to realize that you are feeling anxious, you want to figure out what is really bothering you, you want to give yourself permission to fell anxious about whatever is bothering you, you want to use compassionate self talk to move yourself through the anxious moments, you want to get busy doing something to stimulate your body, you want to try to see humor in the way that you feel, you have to face it head on using your new skills. You and only you can make yourself feel better. (From Panic to Power-41, 44, 45, 55, and 56)
Depression is a feeling of worthlessness, prolonged hopelessness, loss of interest in family, friends, and activities that last two weeks or more without any notable cause. This can be treated with therapy and medications. (David Myers, Psychology Sixth Edition-545, 577)
Phobias are irrational fears of specific situations, activities, and objects with focused anxiety. A patient visiting a psychiatrist or therapy is first assessed for the presence of a specific phobia and then guided through an intensive day or two of graduated exposure. People who are afraid of syringes and blood, for example, may first be shown a magazine photo with a trace of blood depicted in it (Psychology Sixth Edition-540) (Time; New York; Apr 2, 2001; Jeffrey Kluger; Volume 157, Issue 13, 52-62)
Migraines are characterized by throbbing pain on one side of the head with visual and sensory disturbances before the onset of the headache. Stress is acknowledged as a principle trigger. To prevent these you need to watch your diet, eat regular meals and learn relaxation techniques. (Free Yourself from Harmful Stress-38, 39)
Sleep problems can range from a variety of symptoms. These symptoms can include trouble falling asleep, dream disturbed sleep, trouble staying asleep, and waking very early. To control these symptoms try relaxing before going to bed, keeping a regular routine, save your bed for sleep, avoid stimulates, and leave your problems behind. . (Free Yourself from Harmful Stress-34, 35)
Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. Confidence plays a very big role in self-esteem. If your confidence is low you will be easily discouraged which will result in poor performance. Some ways to control this is do not put yourself down, visualize your achievements, learn from your mistakes, don’t blame yourself. (Free Yourself from Harmful Stress-37)
Chronic Fatigue is the feeling of exhaustion, no energy, not motivation and constantly feeling blue. In order to cope with this you need to learn to pace yourself trying to increase your activity level daily. Sleeping at regular intervals. Focus on positive thoughts and feelings. (Free Yourself from Harmful Stress-36)
The human body was never meant to deal with chronic stress. When we have chronic stress we release increased levels of cortisol and adrenalin on a chronic basis. This is known to be toxic to almost every bodily system. Before stress undermines your sanity and your health there are eleven simple ways to come to your own rescue.
Worry about one thing at a time. Keep your anxiety focused on real immediate issues and tune out imagined ones or those, which you have, no control. This will automatically reduce your stress level.
Focus on your senses a few minutes everyday. Take a relaxing 20-minute walk and don’t think about your job, worries or anything else. Pay attention only to your senses, this is what you see, hear, feel, and smell. It makes a huge difference to your emotional and physical well-being.
Talk about or write out what is worrying you. When you talk about or write about what is bothering you it makes you feel less alone and helpless.
No matter how stressed or busy you are, exercise. Exercise is probably the most-effective stress reliever there is. Researchers found that after spending 30 minutes on a treadmill the subjects had 25 percent less stress.
Take time to be touched. This can include massages, pedicures, manicures, or facials. All of these can help reduce stress levels. These are all nurturing hands on treats.
Speak stress free language. Do not beat yourself up when things do not work out in your favor. Instead of using statements that catastrophize an incident use phrases that just show you may need to improve in that area.
Don’t be so serious. Laugh a lot and see how much this will make you see that things are not as bad as they seem. Studies have shown that laughter relieves tension but also improves immune function.
Fire those voices of negativity. Ignore cranky neighbors, and negative bosses. Imagine yourself in a boardroom and actually firing them. This means you no longer allow those people to control you.
Once a day, get away. Whether or not you are having a good day or a bad day get away from it all for about 15 minutes. Find a place where you can be alone and just relax. Push all thoughts out of your head and just relax.
Name at least one good thing that happened today. Instead of talking about all the bad things that happen in your day find one good thing and focus on it.
As a ritual, literally take the stress in, and then release it. This is know as a tai-chi(embracing the tiger) exercise. Take your arms, spread them wide, put your hands together and then draw them-and everything around you-toward your navel, the center of your being. Doing this allows you to say “I take it all, the bad with the good.” Then you reverse your hands and push them out. By doing this you are saying I’ve accepted and integrated all that has happened to me and I no longer allow it to cause me stress. It can no longer control you. (Joe Weider’s Shape; Woodland Hills; Aug 2000; Christina Frank, Volume 19, Issue 12, 108-112)
A good stress manager is a problem solver, is emotionally stable, has no addictions, sees life as a challenge, and finds time to relax and play. A good stress manager involves a deep understanding of the two types of controls external and internal. They solve the problem to the best of their ability. A poor stress manager dwells on problems is either depressed or anxious sees life through fear and anger and is always rushing.
It is important to remember that any stress that you experience is a result of your own interpretation of demands and capabilities to cope. Your perception of the sources of stress and your ability to cope depend largely on your past experiences. We all have different experiences, skills, expectations, and abilities to cope differently with different situations. One person’s stress is another person’s relaxation.
Lucinda Bassett, From Panic to Power-41, 44, 45, 55, and 56
Time; New York; Apr 2, 2001; Jeffrey Kluger; Volume 157, Issue 13, 52-62
David Myers, Psychology Sixth Edition
Trevor Powell, Free Yourself from Harmful Stress
Joe Weider’s Shape; Woodland Hills; Aug 2000; Christina Frank, Volume 19, Issue 12, 108-112