In our previous blog posts about Stress Management, we’ve discussed how to find and think through the various stressors at school, work, and in personal life. Now we will cover the different tools people can use to fight stress. Because unwanted stress reactions affect us both mentally and physically, stress must be managed by both the mind and the body.
Feeling a sense of control over life is very important in stress management. One of the first steps to achieving this is to get organized. A cluttered and disorganized life leads to a stressful life. To get organized means to get rid of distractions that prevents one from reaching their daily goals. Whether the goal to get to school or work on time, complete a project, or simply find time to relax and unwind.
Destructive or harmful beliefs and negative self-talk help create stress. These ways of thinking are bad habits and can make situations worse then they actually are. Luckily, habits can be changed. Changing a habit takes a lot of work. In order to unlearn a harmful behavior and replace it with an affirmative one it must be worked towards for several weeks until it becomes a new habit. Making a commitment to this process will increase the chances of success.
Most unwanted stress reactions come from Control Myopia, or the need to control life events. People feel they must exert control over situations. The truth is there are often situations that are outside of an individuals personal control. A great deal of stress in life can be pushed aside if one lets go of the things they cannot control.
Relaxation is an important part of stress management. Relaxation stops the cycle of stress build-up in life. The stress-reducing effect of relaxation allows one to improve their objectivity and remain positive about situations. Everyone has different ways of relaxing that are available to them. If you enjoy music or art, for example, set aside time to enjoy them on a regular basis. Find ways to make them a part of your life. Hobbies and sports provide valuable relaxation for many. The key is to make time for them on a regular basis.
Another proven stress-reducer is humor. Take time each day to laugh. Let yourself see the humor in even the most stressful situations. By including relaxation in life, you can turn back the buildup of unwanted stress reactions. By stopping this cycle of stress build-up, you will find new sources of energy and creativity in your school, work, and personal life.
Taking Care of Your Body
The link between mind and body cannot be ignored in a stress-reduction program. Everyone, no matter their age or level of fitness, can benefit from a regular fitness program. It is important to manage your time so you can exercise on a regular basis. Most experts recommend at least three hours of exercise per week. Exercising regularly will increase your ability to handle stressful situations.
It is impossible to get rid of all of the stress in your life, and really, that shouldn’t be your goal. Stress can lead to learning, increased productivity, and increased resiliency. Not all stress is negative, but you need to take a proactive approach when dealing with it.
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