By Donald Saunders
Feelings of stress are part and parcel of everyday life and in many situations stress can actually be good for us. In emergencies for example stress is nothing more than the body’s instinctive reaction to defend itself. It is stress therefore that would cause us to jump out of the way if we saw a car hurtling towards us at high speed.
Stress however is not always a good thing and, if we find ourselves under stress for any length of time, it can start to result in physical symptoms such as headaches, back pain, shortness of breath, an upset stomach and insomnia, to name just a few. So, how can you manage stress in this sort of situation?
Here are 10 tips to help you to cope with life’s challenges.
Tip No 1. Stop worrying about things over which you have no control. There are a host of things that we worry about on a daily basis but it’s very important to distinguish between those things which we can control and those things which we can’t control. For example, it’s fine to worry about the fact that we’re getting a little bit overweight because all we have to do is to cut down on our eating or take a little bit more exercise. However, there’s little point in worrying about whether or not the weather at the weekend is going to be fine for our camping trip since we have no control over the weather.
Tip No 2. Resolve your differences with others. A great deal of the stress in our lives comes from our interaction with other people. So, if you find yourself involved in the conflict, sit down with the person involved and try to resolve your differences.
Tip No 3. Set yourself realistic goals. It’s amazing just how much stress you can generate when you try to do too much too quickly. Plan out your time carefully, both at home and at work, and set yourself challenging but attainable targets.
Tip No 4. Be prepared for stressful situations. If you know that you have an event coming up which is likely to be stressful, then sit down and think about ways in which you can either eliminate or reduce any possible stress before the event arises.
Tip No 5. Adopt a positive attitude towards change. It’s a simple fact that most of us don’t like change and tend to view it as something of a threat. In reality of course most of the changes that occur in our lives are for the good and you can eliminate or reduce stress considerably if you adopt a positive attitude towards change and focus your attention on the benefits rather than the drawbacks to changes in your life.
Tip No 6. Add variety into your life. Life can become very stressful if it simply alternates between home and work and it’s important to add variety wherever possible. Whether you enjoy sports, have a favorite hobby or like social events, there are always at least two or three things that you can find to do on a regular basis which take you away from your home and work environments and allow you to relax, unwind and, if you want to, to meet other people.
Tip No 7. Have an exercise routine. As many of the symptoms of stress are physical such as headaches, back pain, insomnia and weight gain, keeping yourself reasonably fit and healthy through some sort of regular exercise routine will both help to reduce stress in itself and also make your body better able to cope with it when it does arise.
Tip No 8. Ensure that you eat and sleep properly. Rather like exercise, it’s also important to keep yourself in shape by ensuring that you keep to well-balanced diet and that you get enough sleep.
Tip No 9. Take up meditation. The power of meditation has been well understood for thousands of years and it is an excellent way to deal with the stresses and strains of life. Try to set aside a little bit of time each day when you can sit quietly by yourself, put time on hold briefly, and clear your mind before moving on with the day’s chores.
Tip No 10. Don’t be afraid to talk to your family, trusty friends or a counselor. It may be a cliché to say that a problem shared is a problem halved, but there is wisdom in this old saying. If things start to pile up on you then sit down and share your worries with somebody else. Not only will this help to ease your problem in itself, but they may well be able to ease your mind further with good advice and by perhaps helping you to put things into perspective or to see things from a different angle.
The vast majority on the negative stress that we will encounter in our daily lives is either avoidable or can certainly be reduced considerably. The secret lies in recognizing the dangers of stress and taking action before it starts to affect you.
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