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How To Effectively Deal With Stress

by on September 17, 2011 >> 6 Comments
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How to cope with stressWhile you cannot entirely avoid stress, you can aim to make it a challenge instead of a threat. One of the principle concepts in stress management is enhancing satisfaction. It is the day to day hassles that are the hardest to cope with, not the major changes including the negative ones in our lives.

As the chart below indicates, high stress when combined with high satisfaction equals excitement. It is a good place to be at times, but it is not a place for everyone. If satisfaction is high and stress is low, there will be comfort, which is a pleasant state to be in. When there is low satisfaction and high stress, there is a bad combination of distress. Low satisfaction and low stress, results in boredom which is not such a good place to be. While you may say that is not so terrible, it is still not the ideal, as there is much more to life – potentially.

In many cases before stress occur, there is a temporary alarm phase. What is done during this time, and how quickly will determine if the stressor will be a challenge or a threat. You can survive stress! You can learn to cope with the day to day hassles and they do not have to do you in. An understanding of the “Fight vs Flight” reactions will help determine the outcome of your experiences with stress.

Fight vs Flight Response

Let’s say for example, you wake up one morning only to find that you have overslept and will be late for work, you can either fight by saying “I will call and say I will be late and then take my time to get ready” or you can flight by saying “OMG, I’m so late! I’m going to get fired!” and then start rushing around to take your shower, get dressed and get there as fast as you can. The fight situation will cause you less stress as you have remained calm about it, and thus found a solution. The flight situation, on the other hand, will cause your breathing rate to increase, and your adrenalin level to rise causing increased anxiety and stress.

Taking this one step further, you arrive at the office late and the boss yells at you, you can either a) yell back at him (which would surely get you fired) or b) retreat to the ladies room and expel all your anger and frustration. Like many of us, you can remain in the alarm phase and do c) keep the anger and frustration bottled inside instead of yelling back or expelling it from our system. Staying in the alarm phase for any long period of time is not the right way to deal with stress as it will only prolong or heighten our stress level. Unfortunately, this is the phase most of us are stuck in which is the reason stress is so much on the rise and will always be a threat instead of a challenge to many.

You can alleviate stress by letting it out in positive ways. You can purchase a punching bag and punch at it really hard with each blow representing the release of a stressor. You can put in some hard physical exercise, about twenty to thirty minutes, which is one of the most positive ways to de-stress. Whether you play tennis, rake the garden, or go jogging, each will give you the same result as far as lessening your tension and stress level.

If you are in a situation, for example at work, and cannot get to implement any of the above, you can use the progressive muscle relaxation technique to help you relax and de-stress. This is done by contracting one muscle group in your body, for example your hand or forearm, and holding it tense for up to one minute before releasing. The process is then repeated and sequentially done using various muscle groups throughout your body.

Another less common technique that can be developed is the visualization technique. This is done by visualizing and holding positive images in your mind. For example, you can revisit the place where you had one of your best vacations, or picture the relaxing afternoon you had at the beach. Whatever you find to be a pleasant vision of high satisfaction and low stress is what you will focus on. This type of technique requires before hand practice, and will help you de-stress and relax fairly quickly, quietly and easily.

Other methods of relaxation that are frequently recommended include yoga, self-hypnosis, and meditation. These simple methods can be very effective especially when practiced on a regular basis. Whatever method you choose to use, doing something calming and stress busting will get you more relaxed and refreshed and make you better able to cope with your hectic days and stressors of life.

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6 Responses to How To Effectively Deal With Stress

  1. Janice on October 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Interesting post! I usually try to do what I can and just leave whatever else need to be done until whenever. I try not to stress over things that are beyond my control.

    When you say, “Let’s say for example, you wake up one morning only to find that you have overslept and will be late for work, you can either fight by saying “I will call and say I will be late and then take my time to get ready”” that’s me. I would just get ready and get there when I do. If he is mad I’ll just block it out – totally. If I get fired, I’ll take a vacation to relax, and when I get back look for another job.

    • Marie on October 2, 2011 at 10:49 pm

      You are a pretty cool personality Janice! The attitude we have towards what we do, will determine our outcome. If you are not easily ruffled, then hats off to you! It is best to know our limitations, and live within them. Makes absolutely no sense to worry about things that are out of our control.

      Thanks for your input!
      Marie recently posted..15 Super Foods You Should Never Exclude From Your DietMy Profile

  2. Sandy on October 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Deep breathing and solitude are my helpers. As soon as I am trying to decipher my stress source and I find myself getting overwhelmed, I steal away and slip into a deep breathing, relaxation mode.

    I tell you, it really works for me. We cannot avoid stress, and so sometimes all we need to do is take a break, breathe, and get back with a clearer mind to face the problem again.

    PS I definitely have a punching bag, more so for keeping me fit :)

    • Marie on November 4, 2011 at 10:43 pm

      I hear you on that one (punching bag) Sandy!

      Whatever help us to release the stress and tension is what we must do. Deep breathing is always a great method as it is very calming and puts one in a relaxed mode.

      I like the fact that you say, “get back with a clearer mind to face the problem again” because it is important not to shove issues aside.

      Thanks for sharing.
      Marie recently posted..How To Recognize A Potential SuicideMy Profile

  3. Katherine on March 17, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Like you say, we cannot completely rid ourselves of stress. We are humans and there will always be something to make us uncomfortable and somewhat worried. How we deal with issues that affect our daily lives will determine the effects stress will have on our being.

    I meditate a lot, and I find that it helps to calm me and makes me better able to deal with issues when they arise.

    I also practice not to worry about things I cannot control, and always look to find a solution to whatever the matter is. If it is out of my hands I have to let it go, and find a deterrent.

    • Marie on December 13, 2012 at 11:50 pm

      That is one key to keeping stress at bay Katherine, recognizing things that are beyond our control and not worrying about them. May be easier said than done, but it’s definitely worth trying and putting into practice.
      Marie recently posted..Safe Driving: New York Drivers Beware!My Profile

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