I usually am very effective at dealing with stress. Lately though, I’ve had a lot on my plate, and have been racing around to stay on top of everything. Frankly I’m starting to feel the effects of stress.

We all experience day to day hassles and issues that frequently cause us some tension and concern. Stress is simply the body’s non-specific response to any demand made on it.

If we don’t deal with stress is can lead to fatigue, exhaustion, lack of concentration, indecisiveness, irritability, and even depression.

Stress can contribute to illness (physical or psychological), and lead to accidents or careless behavior.

All of this got me thinking about how I can deal with stress and keep a positive attitude during turbulent times.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Schedule leisure time and commit to it – We all need downtime where we can relax and engage in hobbies we enjoy.
  • Find ways to laugh – Watch a funny video clip or a movie. Look for the humor in things.
  • Consciously slow down when you’re not working – When you’re not on the clock or don’t have to get things done, work to change your incessant Type-A behavior and simply slow down.
  • Change negative self-talk to positive – When we have a bad attitude it makes even the smallest stressors seem difficult to manage. When we start thinking more positively we can be resilient and more flexible.
  • Continually search for a change of scenery. A new place or environment can be very refreshing. It can lead to perspective change and refuel our energy tank.
  • Rethink what you eat – Focus on eating less fatty, sugary, and salty foods.
  • Exercise for at least 20 minutes each day.
  • Keep a stress journal – Write down in a journal when stress appears, what you’re thinking about, how serious the stressor is (on a scale from 1-10), and how you dealt with it.
  • Consistently focus on what you can control – When things seem out of control change your focus to what you can control and let go of what’s beyond your personal scope.
  • Time management – Do the constructive things first. Prioritize the many things you have to do and target the most important tasks first.
  • Set effective goals to give you direction – When we don’t have clear goals things can get a little chaotic. Set clear, reasonable, and measurable goals. Write your goals down and give yourself a deadline.
  • Use relaxation techniques – These include everything from prayer, imagery, meditation, yoga, and progressive relaxation.

It’s important to remember that certain forms of stress are normal for healthy functioning. However, when stress is chronic it can lead to health concerns.

Stress is a process that builds. It is more effective to intervene early in the process of trying to manage stress, rather than waiting until later when we’re already paying the price!

Try to become aware of the signs (irritability, headaches, anxiety, etc.)  that suggest that the process of becoming  stressed out has begun, and apply coping skills or stress management techniques that work for you.

Photo credit: m.khajoo