What Is Stress Management A Definition
Put simply, stress management is:
âset of techniques and programs intended to help people deal more effectively with stress in their lives by analysing the specific stressors and taking positive actions to minimize their effectsâ
Popular examples of stress management include meditation, yoga, and exercise. Weâll explore these in detail, with a range of different approaches to ensure that thereâs something that works for everyone.
First, letâs set one thing straight: weâre not aiming towards being stress-free all of the time. Thatâs unrealistic. After all, itâs an unavoidable human response that we all experience from time to timeâand itâs not all bad either.
However, we can all benefit from identifying our stress and managing it better. Before we dive any deeper into managing stress, letâs cover a quick 101 on stress itself.
Start The Day With Low Stress
If youre running late or arent prepared, youre starting your workday with stress. By the time you hit your first stressful event at work, youre already on edge, which makes your stress response even more intense. Deal with stress and routines outside of work to set yourself up for a more successful workday. Review your schedule to ensure you can have a low-stress commute that isnt rushed or difficult. Address stressors at home to help you feel more relaxed overall. When you can start your day refreshed and relaxed, dealing with stressful situations is often easier.
Get A Hug From A Loved One
Physical touch can do a lot to relieve your stress. Hugging a loved one can be especially beneficial.
When you hug someone, oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is associated with higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.
Oxytocin also causes a reduction in blood pressure. It reduces the stress hormone norepinephrine and can produce a sense of relaxation.
So don’t be afraid to ask a loved one for a hug if you need it. It’s good for both of you and it can be one of the simplest forms of stress relief available.
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Why Is Stress Helpful
Historically, stress was our friend. It acted as a protective mechanism that warned us of danger a natural reaction that told us when to run. This response is now referred to as the âfight or flightâ response, or the âstress response.â When your evolutionary ancestors saw a saber-toothed cat and ran from it, stress saved their life.
Stress has remained part of the evolutionary drive because of its usefulness in survival. When used at the right time, stress increases our awareness and improves physical performance in short bursts .
Ways To Prevent Stress Buildup
There’s no avoiding the stress of everyday life. Schoolwork, responsibilities at home, busy schedules, other people’s expectations, disappointments, deadlines, social drama: all of these can create tension.
Everyday stressors have a way of piling up if we don’t keep them in check. Adding these 5 simple actions to your regular routine can help you avoid that “bogged down by stress” feeling. The key word is “routine.” You need to make sure you keep doing these to enjoy the benefits:
1. Balance responsibilities with activities you enjoy . It’s all about balance: all work and no play is bad. But if your schedule is so crammed with activities that there’s no time for homework, that’ll stress you out too.
2. Manage responsibilities. Use a calendar or planning app to keep track of assignments, chores, practices, and other obligations. Of course, planning is no good if you don’t actually do what you plan: Managing stress also means regular studying, keeping on top of assignments, and overcoming procrastination. Take time to reflect a bit every day and think about how things are going. What do you need to work on? Do? Make time for?
5. Make time to exercise every day. It’s hard to feel anxious when you’re taking deep breaths on a run, feeling the rush of a downhill bike ride, or playing a pickup game with friends. Exercise doesn’t just take our mind off of stress it releases chemicals in our brains that make us feel better.
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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.
Develop A Positive Self
The way you talk to yourself matters. Harsh self-criticism, self-doubt, and catastrophic predictions aren’t helpful. If you’re constantly thinking things like, “I don’t have time for this,” and “I can’t stand this,” you’ll stress yourself out.
It’s important to learn to talk to yourself in a more realistic, compassionate manner. When you call yourself names or doubt your ability to succeed, reply with a kinder inner dialogue.
Positive self-talk can help you develop a healthier outlook. And an optimistic and compassionate conversation can help you manage your emotions and take positive action.
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Handy Pdfs & 1 Ppt About Stress Management
Now that weâve covered the various stress management solutions, here are some handy downloadable PDFs for creating your personal stress management plan:
For adults and teens, this PDF Stress diary is an excellent template put together by Mindtools.com. It helps make us aware of when we stress, how we stress and how often we stress. Download the diary and make regular entries to start increasing the awareness surrounding your stress.
Itâs easy for stress to come and go, with us accepting itâs just part of our lives instead of something that needs addressing. Once we bring our awareness to these key stress components, we can start taking steps to manage it.
Once youâve identified how you show stress, you can start fleshing out a plan that works best for you. This Stress management PDF will help you to put in place some solid solutions, such as social support, emotional skills, ideas for a healthy life balance, and how you can best attend to your basic needs.
Specifically for teens, this PDF is an easy to use 10-point plan put together by www.fosteringresilience.com to help manage stress. It has been broken down into four digestible parts for you to work through including:
If youâre looking for a handy PPT, this Reducing Stress Presentation explains how we can best manage our stress by changing our health behaviors.
Reach Out And Touch Someone
The simple act of touching another person or being touched can ease your stress. James A. Coan, an assistant professor of psychology and a neuroscientist at the University of Virginia, recruited 16 women who felt they had strong support in their relationships. To simulate stress, he subjected each woman to a mild electric shock under three conditions, all while monitoring her brain. The shocks were administered in no particular order while the woman was 1) alone, 2) holding a strangers hand, and 3) holding her husbands hand.
Notably, both instances of hand-holding reduced the neural activity in areas of the womans brain associated with stress. But when the woman was holding her husbands hand, the effect was even greater, and it was particularly pronounced in women who had the highest marital-happiness scores. Holding a husbands hand during the electric shock resulted in a calming of the brain regions associated with pain similar to the effect brought about by use of a pain-relieving drug.
Coan says the study simulates how a supportive marriage and partnership gives the brain the opportunity to outsource some of its most difficult neural work. When someone holds your hand in a study or just shows that they are there for you by giving you a back rub, when youre in their presence, that becomes a cue that you dont have to regulate your negative emotion,
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Limit Your Social Media Intake
On the one hand, social media is a great way to connect with others. On the other hand, it can amplify anxiety and stress with a constant flow of worrisome information. Therefore, be careful about your social media use: consider turning off push notifications, unfollowing or muting accounts which are triggering for you, muting WhatsApp groups and hiding Facebook posts and feeds that might overwhelm you. A lot of devices nowadays even offer a function to notify you once youve reached your daily time limit of social media use.
How To Eat Mindfully
, a holistic-living center in Bedford, N.Y. Most people have a general sense of what the healthy foods are, but theyre not eating them. Whats on your mind when youre eating: Thats mindful eating to me.
Heres a simple exercise to try next time you are sitting down to a delicious meal:
Your friends and family can be both a cause of stress and a cure for it.
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Stress And Your Appetite
Stress can have a huge impact on your eating habits. During acute stress , the stress response can shut down appetite. The fight-or-flight response is designed to suppress hunger you wont be effective in battle or run that fast if you are thinking about food. But chronic stress has the opposite effect. Repeated doses of cortisol in your body due to high stress can lead to an increase in appetite.
According to the Harvard Health Letter, gender can play a role in how you eat during times of stress. Some research suggests women are more likely overeat due to stress while men turn to alcohol or smoking.
And the reality is that food really can make you feel better during times of stress. So-called comfort food like chocolate cake and ice cream literally blunt the bodys response to chronic stress. The problem with continuing to self-medicate chronic stress with comfort foods is that it will lead to weight gain and poor health.
Just as you need to reframe your view of stress and exercise and meditate to give your body a break from stress, you can also adopt strategies to use food to help you better cope with stress.
What Are The Four As Of Stress Management
When faced with a stressful situation, you have four options, which are commonly referred to as the four As:
- Avoid: You can eliminate a lot of stressors by avoiding them. For example, you can avoid taking on too much, individuals who cause you stress and places or activities that make you tense. You can also remove items from your to-do list that are unnecessary or unimportant.
- Alter: If a stressful situation is impossible to avoid, try changing the way you interact with it. Practice compromise and express your feelings if someones behavior is adding to your tension.
- Adapt: When a stressor cant be changed, adapt to it by changing your attitude and expectations. Reflect on things that youre thankful for, set manageable standards for yourself and others and keep the situation in perspective.
- Accept: Some stressful situations are unchangeable. For these scenarios, acceptance is often the only way to cope. Remember to express your feelings, forgive yourself and others, search for opportunities for growth in the situation and stop trying to control the uncontrollable.
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Pay Attention To Sleep
Some people have a hard time going to sleep even at night, because of too much stress or worry. Sometimes, such worry or stress leads to sleep disorders. On the other hand, a sleep disorder may come first, and result in anxiety in the long run. Having said that, research has found out that sleep deprivation may contribute to the aggravations of anxiety.
Moreover, a lack of sleep also increases your risk of developing heart disease or heart failure. Some may also increase their risk of having high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and irregular heartbeat. These are just some of the reasons why you should pay attention to your sleep pattern.
On a much deeper view, disrupted sleep is almost present in other mental health issues like depression, affecting your daily living. For instance, it can negatively impact your work performance, academic performance, cognitive ability, and increases the risk of physical injury. Surely, these health problems that may arise in the future may create additional worries. Therefore, it is better to take care of your sleeping pattern as early as possible.
What Are The Signs Of Stress
When you’re under stress, you may feel:
Stress also affects your body. Physical signs of stress include:
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain or loss
- Tense muscles
Stress can also lead to a weakened immune system , which could make you more likely to get sick.
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Healthy Ways To Cope With Stress
Feeling emotional and nervous or having trouble sleeping and eating can all be normal reactions to stress. Here are some healthy ways you can deal with stress:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. Its good to be informed but hearing about the traumatic event constantly can be upsetting. Consider limiting news to just a couple of times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and give yourself a break if you feel stressed out.
- Take care of your body.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.
- Continue with routine preventive measures as recommended by your healthcare provider.
- Get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible get a booster shot if you are age 18 or older.
Talk It Out With A Friend
When youre feeling stressed, take a break to call a friend and talk about your problems. Good relationships with friends and loved ones are important to any healthy lifestyle.
Theyre especially important when youre under a lot of stress. A reassuring voice, even for a minute, can put everything in perspective.
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Managing Stress In The Workplace: 12 Stress Management Tips For Managers
Your body naturally reacts with stress when you face a challenging or demanding situation. This natural reaction can happen a lot at work, especially if you work in a fast-paced, demanding field. Sometimes stress pushes you to work harder, but other times it has a negative effect. When employers effectively manage stressful situations, it sets a positive example for the rest of their team and promotes mental health in the workplace. Thats why its important to research techniques and practice strategies for managing stress in the workplace.
Prevention Of Workplace Stress
The prevention of workplace stress is most successful when a combination of both organizational change and individual stress management is used. That is, like any healthy relationship, both parties â the employee and the employer make an effort.
What can the company do to manage stress?
- Promote leave, rest and breaks
- Encourage exercise and meditation, both within and outside of work hours
- Ensure the workload is in line with workers abilities and resources
- Provide stimulation and opportunities for workers to use skills
- Boost workplace morale by creating opportunities for social interactions
- Clearly set out workers roles and responsibilities
- Encourage participation in decision making that affects individuals roles
- Encourage open communication
- Establish no tolerance policy for workplace discrimination
- Engage an external consultant to suggest a fresh approach to any existing issues
- Create family-friendly policies to encourage work-life balance
- and provide training for workplace stress management.
The figure below summarizes the benefits of workplaces that promote healthy and low-stress environments.
What if you do not have a healthy workplace, and that isnt likely to change any time soon? Luckily, there are ways for individuals to manage their own stress.
Personal strategies for stress management are to:
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