It is virtually impossible to avoid stress. All of us experience it at one time or another and for some it has taken over daily life. Stress can be defined as the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it to adapt, whether that demand produces pleasure or pain (Hans Seyle).
Stress can lead to physical problems such as ulcers, migraines and cardiovascular disease. It can also lead to impaired task performance, burnout and problems in relationships with family and friends.
Here are a few tips for managing the stress in your life.
- Learn to accept what you cannot change.
- Make time for friends and social activities.
- Do only one thing at a time. This sounds simple, but a lot of us have a habit of cramming too many tasks into one time period.
- Work on doing what is most important, and leave other tasks for another time. Remind yourself that you are a “human being,” not a “human doing.”
- Exercise. Make it fun by trying new things like dancing, walking, aerobics, jogging, biking or swimming.
- Take a mental vacation when you start to feel stressed. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine that you are relaxing on some deserted beach or floating in a pool. It does not take long to do this, and it can provide immediate relief.
- Learn how to relax. During the day, take several small breaks and get into a comfortable position. Slowly take a deep breath, hold it, and then exhale very slowly. Let your shoulders relax and let go of any tension you are holding in your body.
- Talk to someone. It helps. Sometimes another person can give you an entirely new perspective that you have not thought of.
- Learn to say no. Try thinking of yourself as a limited resource to be given away carefully and not on demand.
If you cannot risk change, you cannot grow.
If you cannot grow, you cannot become your best.
If you cannot become your best, you cannot be happy.
If you cannot be happy, what else matters? – Anonymous
Mary Bieda, MS, LPC is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Old Town Bluffton.