Q: How Do You Deal With Stress
Q: Youve been covering politics during an unprecedented time in history. Theres a global pandemic, American democracy is being undermined, and at times it has felt like theres a non-zero chance that one or both of civil war or World War III could break out. American global leadership is being challenged if its not in full decline. So does it give you anxiety engaging with these high-stakes issues on a daily basis? And if so, how do you deal with that anxiety?
Tyler, Brooklyn, NY
Tangle: Yes. It does. I don’t talk about this often, for reasons that will become obvious in a second, but it’s a battle I am only just recently learning how to win.
Four years ago I started getting stress-induced heart palpitations that would keep me up through the night. I’ve had face twitches or eye twitches that I told myself were because I was dehydrated. I’ve been so overrun and moving so fast that I had to repair pretty serious damage I did to my relationships with my wife and my friends. Even this last week, I caught myself looking up at the sky as I walked around in New York City, as if I somehow expected a fighter jet to pass overhead after a week straight of consuming war content. At Shabbat services on Friday night, I broke down in tears as the congregation sang a song written hundreds of years ago in Odessa, Ukraine. Work like this seeps into my personal life sometimes.
People Cope With Stress Differently
When presented with a stressor, a person makes two kinds of judgement:
- What is needed to cope with this situation?
- Have I got the resources to cope with this situation?
A stressor can be interpreted as a threat or as an opportunity. People vary along a personality dimension of optimism versus pesimism. Optimists are more likely to see the future as benign and a stressful situation as giving rise to an opportunity. People vary in the extent to which they believe that they have the resources to deal with new and threatening situations. Poeple high in hardiness or resilience believe that they have the competence to control the world around them. This perception of competence and control makes them find a threat less stressful than others might.
Remember To Seek Help And Support When You Need It
Remember, that it is okay to ask for professional help. If you feel that you are struggling to manage on your own, then you can reach out. It is important to know that you can get help as soon as possible, and that you deserve to get better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to give advice about treatment, and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness based approaches are known to help reduce stress. There are also a number of voluntary organisations which can help you to tackle the causes of stress and advise you about ways to get better.
Anxiety UK runs a helpline staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety from 9:30-5:30, Monday to Friday. Call 08444 775 774.
Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities.
StepChange provides help and information for people dealing with a range of debt problems. Freephone 0800 138 1111.
Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0300 123 3393 or email .
Rethink Advice and Information Service
Rethink provide specific solution-based guidance – 0300 5000927 Fax: 020 7820 1149 email .
Specialist mental health services
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Listen To Soothing Music
Listening to music can have a very relaxing effect on the body.
Slow-paced instrumental music can induce the relaxation response by helping lower blood pressure and heart rate as well as stress hormones.
Some types of classical, Celtic, Native American and Indian music can be particularly soothing, but simply listening to the music you enjoy is effective too .
Nature sounds can also be very calming. This is why theyre often incorporated into relaxation and meditation music.
Focus On Just Two To Three Stressors At A Time
You cannot deal with everything or everyone in your life that makes you feel stressed. Instead, focus on just two or three main stressors at a time.
If you use a stress diary, or a tool like our quiz Whats Stressing You Out?, it is easy to identify the most common and/or most stressful situations in your life. You can then start to work out what you can do to resolve them.
Once you have sorted your top stressors, you can then move onto lesser stressors.
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Some People Create Stress
People do not just respond to their environments, they also change them. Some of that change involves the impact one person has on another. In the late 1950s, two American cardiologists, Friedman and Rosenman, proposed a personality type called Type A. The Type A personality is someone who is high in hostility, competitiveness and time urgency. People with a Type A personality tend to show a greater physiological response to a stressor. The Type A concept is important because a hostile, time-urgent and competitive person is likely to create stress for themselves and for others. So stress produces the kind of interaction that increases stress. The increased stress then produces the type of social interaction that increases stress. Stress easily becomes a vicious cycle where it feeds on itself. This is an edited extract from Michael Hyland’s Stress: All That Matters, follow the link below to purchase:
How Can You Help Yourself
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.37 It is therefore important that we manage our stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to our bodies and minds.
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Why Is It Important To Learn To Cope With Stress
Coping usually involves adjusting to or tolerating negative events or realities while you try to keep your positive self-image and emotional equilibrium. Coping occurs in the context of life changes that are perceived to be stressful. Psychological stress is usually associated with negative life changes, such as losing a job or loved one. However, all changes require some sort of adaptation. Even positive changes such as getting married or having a child can be stressful.
Changes are stressful because changes require us to adjust and to adapt. Experiencing too many changes within a brief time period often creates the idea that we aren’t in control of events. This perception contributes to low self-esteem and may even contribute to the development of anxiety or depression. In some cases, physical illnesses may develop or get worse when a person’s capacity to adapt to change is overwhelmed by too much change.
Coping involves adjusting to unusual demands, or stressors. This requires giving a greater effort and using greater energy than what’s needed in the daily routines of life. Prolonged mobilization of effort can contribute to elevated levels of stress-related hormones and to eventual physical breakdown and illness.
Stressors that require coping may be acute, like moving to a new home or experiencing the onset of marriage problems. Stressors also occur that are of longer duration, such as chronic pain, chronic illness or long-lasting financial problems.
Social Support Protects People From Stress
Research shows that people who experience high levels of social support are less likely to become stressed. In addition, if a situation is perceived as stressful, then people high in social support show fewer adverse effects to the stressor. In short, social support protects against stress. Measures of social support distinguish between the practical support and the emotional support that others give. They are both important for reducing stress.
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Managing Stress During The Interview
Job interviews are stressful for most people. Even if you’ve interviewed a lot, it can still be challenging to stay calm and collected. You’re meeting new people in a new environment, and you’re trying to sell your credentials to someone who might be your next boss.
A big part of handling stress is preparation. Be sure to research the company in advance and practice answering common interview questions. The more you practice, the more comfortable youll feel in the interview.
You can also reduce stress by avoiding negative thinking . Instead, visualize having a successful interview . Do this visualization in the hours right before the interview.
Use these relaxation techniques. If you start to feel stressed just before the interview, try taking a deep breath or two to relax. During the interview, feel free to take a breath or a sip of water before answering a question. This will give you some time to compose yourself and prepare your answer.
Watch your body language. Your body language during the interview can also help convey that you’re relaxed. Try to avoid fidgeting too much. Stand up straight and look the interviewer in the eye . By appearing calm and confident, you are more likely to feel calm and confident.
Being able to effectively handle a stressful job interview will indicate to employers that you’ll also be able to handle workplace stress.
When Should I See My Doctor
If you or someone close to you is experiencing an emergency, or is at risk of immediate harm, call triple zero . To talk to someone now, call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you have tried relaxation techniques and reaching out to someone you trust, but still feel overwhelmed, you can check in with your doctor or speak with a mental health professional.
Stress is not itself a diagnosis but rather a clue that something else is going on. Chronic stress could be a sign of depression, anxiety or a symptom of another mental health condition. GPs and psychologists are trained to know how to recognise when stress is a sign that you need extra support, so dont hesitate to reach out for advice.
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How To Handle Stress At Work
- Luana Marques, PhD, Contributor
If youre currently working, you probably know what it feels like to be stressed on the job. A must-do project arrives without warning. Three emails stack up for each one you delete. Phones ring, meetings are scheduled, a coworker drops the ball on a shared assignment.
Worldwide Impact Of Stress
While stress is a significant problem in the U.S., the rest of the world is not immune to its harmful effects. Stress is a global problem with:
- 91 percent of Australians feeling stressed about one or more important parts of their life
- About 450,000 workers in Britain believing their stress was making them ill
- 86 percent of Chinese workers reporting stress
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Be More Realistic About Your Capabilities
It is helpful to remember that most people underestimate how long it will take to do something, and overestimate how much they can do. This means that they end up taking on too much, and then failing to deliver.
Develop the simple habit of doubling your time estimates for any task.
You are then far more likely to under-promise and over-deliver. This will make everyoneincluding youmuch happier than the other way round .
Giving Your Mind A Rest
For people dealing with high levels of stress, it can be hard to fathom how a few moments of meditation will help. After meditation, the stressors are still there youre still getting divorced, caring for an aging parent, struggling with the demands of a high-stress job. How can a few moments of deep thought possibly help your life?
It may help to think about how muscles get stronger. Unrelenting exercise simply tears down a muscle and leads to injury. Smart exercisers know the value of a day of rest thats when your muscles regenerate and come back stronger than before.
Now think about your mind as an emotional muscle. Unrelenting stress without a break will not make it stronger. Your emotions, your brain and your body need moments of recovery to get stronger from stress.
Its about stress and recovery. Just like you build a physical muscle, just like you build biceps, you have to take the same approach to life stressors, says Jack Groppel, co-founder of the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute, which offers a course called The Power of Positive Stress.
Think of meditation like high-intensity interval training for the brain. During H.I.I.T., you go as hard as you can, then you give yourself a few minutes of recovery before returning to the exercise. This cycle is repeated multiple times and has been shown to be more effective for building strength than long, slow bouts of exercise.
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Men Vs Women And Hormones
One of the most important reasons why men and women react differently to stress is hormones. Three play a crucial role: cortisol, epinephrine, and oxytocin.
When stress strikes, hormones called cortisol and epinephrine together raise a person’s blood pressure and circulating blood sugar level, and cortisol alone lowers the effectiveness of the immune system.
“People used to think there was a difference in the amounts of cortisol released during a stressful situation in women,” says Robert Sapolsky, PhD, professor of neurobiology at Stanford University. “The thinking was women released more of this hormone, and that produced all sorts of nutty theories about why women are so emotional.”
But the fact of the matter, explains Sapolsky, is that there is no consistent difference in cortisol production at all between men and women. It really all comes down to the hormone called oxytocin.
In women, when cortisol and epinephrine rush through the bloodstream in a stressful situation, oxytocin comes into play. It is released from the brain, countering the production of cortisol and epinephrine, and promoting nurturing and relaxing emotions.
While men also secrete the hormone oxytocin when they’re stressed, it’s in much smaller amounts, leaving them on the short end of the stick when it comes to stress and hormones.
What Can Prolonged Stress Lead To
Stress is a natural reaction to many situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.
We mentioned earlier on that a moderate amount of stress can help us perform better in challenging situations,34 but too much or prolonged stress can lead to physical problems. This can include lower immunity levels,35 digestive and intestinal difficulties, e.g. irritable bowel syndrome ,36 or mental health problems such as depression.3 This means it is important to manage your stress and keep it at a healthy level to prevent long-term damage to your body and mind.
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Keep Perfectionism In Check
Being a high achiever might make you feel good about yourself and help you excel at work, but being a perfectionist can create problems for you .
You might not be able to do everything perfectly, every timeespecially in a busy, fast-paced job. A good strategy to avoid the perfectionism trap is always striving to just do your best and making time to congratulate yourself on your efforts. You may find that your results are better and youll be much less stressed at work.
Take Care Of Your Body
Experts agree that a healthful diet, regular exercise, and proper sleep will help you to get more done. * Dont worrytaking care of your body isnt all that complicated. A few simple steps will get you started. Take sleep, for example. Try the following.
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How Successful People Deal With Stress
LinkedIn Influencer, Bernard Marr, published this post originally .
A survey by TalentSmart showed that 90 percent of top performers know how to manage their emotions in times of stress so that they remain cool, calm, and able to do what needs to be done.
Thats an important lesson in and of itself for all of us – because all of us experience stress in our lives. Research has shown that some stress is good for us: it helps us perform at optimal levels. Too much stress, however, can have serious psychological and physiological repercussions.
Since we cant necessarily avoid most stress – especially in our work environments – its to our benefit to learn how to deal with it, and learn from the examples of those who are already successful.
According to surveys and other research, successful people have some strategies in common when it comes to managing stress.
Embrace The Adrenaline And Treat It As Positive
Fortunately, there is evidence that some level of stress is actually helpful, and can improve performanceprovided you believe that this is the case.
Elite athletes, for example, often believe that adrenaline, one of the main stress hormones, is helpful in improving performance. It is, after all, the flight or fight hormone, so you can harness it to help you to fight. Changing your mindset to embrace adrenaline can be a good start to changing how you view stress, especially if you have taken steps to reduce and avoid it more generally.
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