Identify What Stresses You Out
Knowing that you are in charge of your life is a crucial part of stress management. The first step to taking control is to identify whats causing you stress. Stress can be caused by more than just obvious things such as new demands at work or dealing with a health issue. Many of the sources of stress lie within our own thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors, so its important to look inward as well. Experts suggest writing down every stressful situation in a journal so you can identify patterns as to whats causing your stress, how you felt, and how youve been able to make yourself feel better.
Causes Of Workplace Stress
The most and least stressful job report for 2018, conducted by CareerCast revealed that the top most stressful jobs of the year were Enlisted Military Personnel, Firefighters, Airline Pilots, and Police Officers. The least stressful jobs were Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, hair stylist, audiologist, and University professor .
While some jobs are undoubtedly more stressful than others, all workplaces are prone to stress of some degree.
The below diagram, obtained from the WSH Institute displays the various factors that can lead to workplace stress, along with the organization and individuals role in dealing with these hazards.
How Does Your Body React To Work Stress
Imagine for a moment that your boss has emailed you about an unfinished assignment . Your body and mind instantly respond, activating a physical reaction called the fight-or-flight response. Your heart beats faster, your breath quickens, and your muscles tense. At the same time you might say to yourself, Im going to get fired if I dont finish this. Then to manage your anxiety and negative self-talk, you work late into the night to complete the task.
Over the course of our evolutionary history, humans developed this coordinated fear response to protect against dangers in our environment. For example, a faster heart rate and tense muscles would help us escape from predators. In the modern era, fear continues to serve an important function. After all, the fight-or-flight response can provide the necessary energy to pull an all-nighter and keep your job.
But what happens if you encounter stressful experiences at work every day? Over time, chronic work stress can lead to a psychological syndrome known as burnout. Warning signs of burnout are overwhelming exhaustion, cynicism, and a sense of inefficacy. Certain work-related stressors are closely linked with burnout. Examples are having too much work or too little independence, inadequate pay, lack of community between coworkers, unfairness or disrespect, and a mismatch between workplace and personal values.
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Cut Out Things That Add To Your Stress
Sometimes, the best way to reduce your stress is to cut something out of your life. Get rid of the things that are adding to your stress so you can experience more peace.
Watching the news, being constantly connected to your digital devices, drinking alcohol, and consuming too much caffeine are just a few of the things that may add more stress to your life. Making some changes to your daily habits could be instrumental in helping you feel better.
What Is Stress Management A Definition
Put simply, stress management is:
set 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 effects
Popular examples of stress management include meditation, yoga, and exercise. Well explore these in detail, with a range of different approaches to ensure that theres something that works for everyone.
First, lets set one thing straight: were not aiming towards being stress-free all of the time. Thats unrealistic. After all, its an unavoidable human response that we all experience from time to timeand its 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, lets cover a quick 101 on stress itself.
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Ways To Cope With Chronic Stress
“Its key to recognize stressful situations as they occur because it allows you to focus on managing how you react,” Dr. Stoll says. “We all need to know when to close our eyes and take a deep breath when we feel tension rising.”
Use these tips to prevent or reduce chronic stress.
1. Re-balance Work and Home
All work and no play? If youre spending too much time at the office, intentionally put more dates in your calendar to enjoy time for fun, either alone or with others.
2. Build in Regular Exercise
Moving your body on a regular basis balances the nervous system and increases blood circulation, helping to flush out stress hormones. Even a daily 20-minute walk makes a difference.
3. Eat Well and Limit Alcohol and Stimulants
Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine may temporarily relieve stress but have negative health impacts and can make stress worse in the long run. Well-nourished bodies cope better, so start with a good breakfast, add more organic fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods and sugar, and drink more water.
4. Connect with Supportive People
Talking face to face with another person releases hormones that reduce stress. Lean on those good listeners in your life.
5. Carve out Hobby Time
Do you enjoy gardening, reading, listening to music or some other creative pursuit? Engage in activities that bring you pleasure and joy research shows that reduces stress by almost half and lowers your heart rate, too.
6. Practice Meditation, Stress Reduction or Yoga
Listen To Music On The Drive Home
Listening to music offers many benefits and can be an effective way to relieve stress before, during, and after work. Playing an uplifting song while you make breakfast can help you start the day off feeling better prepared to interact with the people in your life. Likewise, combating the stress of a long day with your favorite music on the drive home can help you wind down and feel less stressed when you get there.
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Do Something With Your Hands
Do you ever get that never-ending loop of negative thoughts and what-ifs playing in your head? That’s because stress likes to mess with your mind. A surefire and fun way to get out of your head is to engage in activities that put the focus on your hands or body , Kathleen Hall, a health educator and the founder and CEO of the Stress Institute, an Atlanta-based facility that offers programs on stress management and work-life balance, tells Health. As your hands and fingers begin to fall into those familiar rhythmic moves, it sends a signal to your brain that immediately relaxes you and makes you feel grounded. So immerse yourself in a creative, engaging activity and get ready to press the mute button.
What Are The Behavioural And Emotional Effects Of Stress
When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, irritability or low self-esteem, which can lead to becoming withdrawn, indecisive and tearful.13
You may experience periods of constant worry, racing thoughts, or repeatedly go over the same things in your head. You may experience changes in your behaviour. You may lose your temper more easily, act irrationally or become more verbally or physically aggressive.14 These feelings can feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, which can make you feel even worse. For example, extreme anxiety can make you feel so unwell, that you then worry you have a serious physical condition.
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How Much Stress And Anxiety Is Too Much
The point at which worry and anxiety become unhealthy is when they immobilize us rather than inspire us to act.
Whether we’re worried about things in the future, or so stressed and anxious we can’t move forward, the stress takes a toll on our minds and bodies, and affects our health. Excessive or unmanaged anxiety can become unhealthy if it takes the form of an anxiety disorder, for example.
Try To Get Some Regular Exercise Every Day
Exercise is one of the best methods for managing stress because it can relieve both the physical and emotional effects of stress. Consider fitness choices that also deliver specific stress-reducing effects like yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or one of the martial arts, all great ways to get rid of pent-up stress and negativity. “Exercise can help regulate and dissipate in a productive way those ‘fight or flight’ stress chemicals in the brain,” says Kubiak.
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Change What You Can And Accept What You Cant
Be proactive and make changes that can help reduce your stress. If its a crazy schedule that has you on edge, find the balance you need to take care of the necessities and still have some self-care time. If its a person thats bothering you, communicate your feelings respectfully and be open to discussion. Having constructive conservations about the problem is much more useful than just bottling up your stress and resentment. You cant change all the stressors in the world, however, so sometimes the best way to cope with stress is by accepting the situation as it is. Instead of trying to control what you cant and adding more stress to your life, focus on controlling how you react and feel instead.
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.
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Stay Away From Conflict
Interpersonal conflict takes a toll on your physical and emotional health. Conflict among co-workers can be difficult to escape, so its a good idea to avoid conflict at work as much as you can.
Dont gossip, dont share too many of your personal opinions about religion and politics, and steer clear of “colorful” office humor.
When possible, try to avoid people who dont work well with others. If conflict finds you anyway, make sure you know how to handle it appropriately.
Facts About Stress & Burnout
If youre not yet convinced about the need to prioritize stress management, these 14 facts might help:
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Helpful Organisations For Money Worries
It is important if you are worried about your finances and debts that you do not try to deal with them alone. There is a lot of help and support available to you through organisations such as Step Change and Citizens Advice.
You should also talk to your GP or a trusted health professional if you are worried about how debt is affecting your mental and physical health.
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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Coping With Stress At Work
Working hard should not be confused with overworking at the expense of relationships and physical health.
Coping with stress at work.
Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short-term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfill a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelmingand harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Unfortunately, such long-term stress is all too common. In fact, has consistently found that work is cited as a significant source of stress by a majority of Americans. You cant always avoid the tensions that occur on the job. Yet you can take steps to manage work-related stress.
Helping Children And Youth Cope With Stress
Children and youth often struggle with how to cope with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic eventlike a natural disaster, family loss, school shootings, or community violence. Parents, caregivers, and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.
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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.
How To Answer How Do You Handle Stress
To answer this question successfully, you’ll want to provide specific examples of how you’ve handled stress well in the past. You might also provide examples of times when pressure actually made you work more productively.
Be careful how you respond. If you say you get stressed when you’re given multiple projects, and you know the job will require you to juggle many assignments at once, youll look like you’re not a good fit for the position.
Consider mentioning how a little stress can be a helpful motivator for you. Try to provide an example of a time when the stress of a difficult project helped you be a more creative and productive worker.
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Dont Just React To Your Stress But Take A Moment To Authentically Respond To It
Some stressful events in life can trigger you to react without much thought, or simply react out of fear or confusion. In these stressful times, our fight or flight response gets activated.
To authentically respond to stress, you need to check in with how you are feeling, what is cropping up for you, and how you can manage this new stress in your life. Sometimes our reaction only increases the stress and we get stuck in a reactive loop, filled with negativity and self-abuse.
We may not be able to control the situation, but we can develop control of ourselves and change the way we deal with stress. You dont need to hurl insults, go on a cursing tirade or throw things and have an all out temper tantrum when stress appears, but you can state what you think and feel. The way you choose to authentically respond may change according to your surroundings, whether in the workplace, with your spouse or children, or other family members, or casual friends. Remember that hurting others in the process is not an effective way to heal yourself.