Stress is a state of mental or emotional tension that causes discomfort and drains energy from us. Poor management of stress leads to anger, headaches, accidents, heart attacks, depression, and other countless ills. Besides being associated with major life events, stress also occurs daily through small stressors like project deadlines, tense relationships, and traffic jams.
The amount of stress that a person can handle is largely determined by his/her thinking style and social skills. Positive thinkers with good social skills are better equipped to diffuse stressful situations by putting things into perspective and talking about it. For those that don’t do as well, here are some stress management tips that can equip you better handle stressors:
1. First, recognize the warning signs.
a. Emotional symptoms: anxiety, fear, irritability, loss of confidence.
b. Cognitive symptoms: difficulty concentrating or making decisions, confusion, repetitive thoughts.
c. Physical symptoms: dry mouth, sweatiness, racing heartbeat, chest tightness, muscle tensions, headaches.
d. Behavioral symptoms: nail biting, pacing, drinking more coffee or alcohol, eating too much or too little, sleeping poorly, acting unreasonably, losing your temper, being inconsiderate to others.
2. Next, make a list of situations that potentially lead to stress.
3. With each situation on the list, come up with one or more strategies to avoid, prevent, or diffuse the situation.
4. Finally, incorporate stress-reducing techniques into your daily living like deep breathing with relaxation exercises, listening to soothing music, exercise regularly, eat balanced meals, and take time to do things you enjoy.