It is almost impossible not to feel some form of stress in today’s climate of change. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with news of tough times and projections of things to come even worse, which causes our blood vessels to constrict a bit more. Many analysts are comparing today’s times to the Great Depression. There is a buzz that suggests that things are spiraling out of control and life as we have previously known it, has changed forever.
Many people are feeling tremendous stress in multiple areas of their lives: financial, familial, job security and relationship pressures. All of these stressors can impact your immune system causing the onset of dis-ease and dis-harmony in the physical body temple. It can be very challenging to keep a positive perspective in the midst of stressful times. Here are some specific and effective ways of managing the stress in your life.
1. Identify the signs and symptoms of stress
This table lists some of the common signs and symptoms of stress.
* Memory problems
* Inability to concentrate
* Trouble thinking clearly
* Poor judgment
* Seeing only the negative
* Anxious or racing thoughts
* Constant worrying
* Loss of objectivity
* Fearful anticipation
* Short temper
* Irritability, impatience
* Inability to relax
* Feeling tense and “on edge”
* Feeling overwhelmed
* Sense of loneliness and isolation
* Depression or general unhappiness
2. Conserve Your Energy
When in the midst of stressful times, it is important to be still.
- Stress can throw your perception off, and hasty decisions are sometimes regretted later.
- Allow yourself to appreciate each and every moment – just focus on getting through the day.
- Cut back on your responsibilities wherever possible to conserve energy. Order “take-out” so you can cut down on shopping and cooking.
- Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them completely.
- Put unnecessary commitments on hold, and just focus on what really needs to be done, so you can conserve your physical and emotional energy.
3. Reach out to your trusted friends
If others know about your challenge, more than likely, they will offer to help; take them up on it! Let your loved ones lighten your load by helping with tasks or providing a supportive ear. You will feel better from receiving the support, and others will probably feel better by being able to do something to help.
4. Analyze and assess
Take a deep breath and look at the challenge, then turn your attention to finding the solution. Have a journal where you can place your thoughts and feelings, which is helpful in assessing what steps to take next. Also, talk to a good friend, or consult a therapist, especially if you are having intrusive thoughts or feelings – it’s important to get help if you need it. By analyzing your feelings, this allows you to move through them faster and let them go sooner. Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Here is a list of “musts”:
“Must” Take Care Of Yourself
Be sure to:
* Eat a healthy diet * Reduce caffeine and sugar
* Get enough sleep * Avoid alcohol and drugs
* Exercise regularly * Stop smoking
* Drink lots of clean water * Laugh a lot
* Do something you enjoy * Remember to breathe
These are essential things you can do to keep your immune system strong during challenging and stressful times.
5. Think peace-filled thoughts
Thinking peaceful thoughts makes you feel relaxed. In imagining a peaceful place, you have also distracted yourself from whatever thoughts you were having before. Peaceful thoughts cause relaxation and stressful thoughts cause stress.
6. Politely say “no”
Don’t take on more than you can handle because it will put an additional layer of stress on your already “full platter” of life. Always keep in mind what the time restraints will be when asked to take on additional responsibilities. Simply refuse the request (without guilt) when you know that it is more than you can presently handle.
7. Take control of your environment
If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping online.
8. Avoid hot-button topics
If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
9. Create a balanced schedule
All work and no play are a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime. Do not over-commit and schedule things back–to-back and try to do too much in one day. Nice and easy does it!
10. Learn to forgive.
Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.
Other Healthy Stress Reducers
* Go for a walk.
* Spend time in nature.
* Talk to a supportive friend.
* Sweat out tension with a good workout, steam or sauna
* Do something for someone else.
* Write in your journal.
* Take a long bath.
* Play with a pet.
* Work in your garden.
* Get a massage.
* Curl up with a good book.
* Take a yoga class.
* Listen to music.
* Watch a comedy.
In summary, when we feel overwhelmed, under the gun, or unsure how to meet the demands placed upon us leading to additional layers of stress, we can utilize some of these techniques and move through the challenge equipped with better coping mechanisms.