Stress Management

Stress management is an acquired skill. You can learn and use it to reduce anxiety and make your day more enjoyable.

Two main points of stress management are control and prevention. Of course it’s not always the case that you can control and prevent stress. This is why many people focus on a third approach; learning to cope. However, it is possible to become so good at reducing and preventing stress that you won’t have to cope with it anyway!

Prevent Stress

Stress is generally identified as everyday challenges or even risks we need to take or endure. A “stressor” is a stress trigger: A person, situation or object that stresses you out. When it comes to efficient stress management, the answer is to first focus on eliminating as many stressors as possible work on achieving a state of well-being that is less susceptible to any external stressors, like fractious children or a looming deadline.

Control Stress

Understand that the any stress-triggering threat is within your power to control and tackle.

The pressure you might feel when you’re giving a presentation, for example, may cause your heart to race and your palms to sweat. This is an instinctive survival-oriented response your body engages when you feel threatened. It is commonly known as the fight or flight response. It’s characterized by an increased heart rate and blood pressure, pupil dilation, blood sugar level increase and muscle tens

Stress is Unavoidable

If you cannot change or control the stress trigger then you need to accept that the stressor is inevitable: For example, you will from time to time have to interact with your spouse’s parents.

Accepting the inevitability of your stress trigger places you in a must-deal-with-it mindset. “The only way out is always through”, as Robert Frost would say.

Try looking for positive aspects in the situation. Speaking up and articulating how the situation is making you feel will also help.

Turning Stress into Productive Energy

Instead of bottling up stress, release it – but learn to release it productively. Stressors instinctively put us in that flight or fight alert state and our body starts producing action-ready hormones. In this “ready to act” situation when channeled constructively, you achieve great things. For example, if a deadline stresses you out, making you feel uneasy and restless, you can turn that energy into constructive power for working towards completing your project.

When you learn to harness the power of stress, it increases your mental clarity, floods you with energy, and sharpens your judgement and acuteness. This creates the ideal circumstances for being productive and action-oriented. Since stress activates your body’s survival mode, it’s up to you to use it effectively rather than allowing it to paralyze you.
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