Are you stressed out? If so, you are not alone. Everyone experiences stress at some time in their life.
So, what is stress? Stress is an event, situation or circumstance that causes a physiological and/or behavioral reaction in an individual or family. You may be stressed about many aspects of life and life’s changes. Stress can also come from a traumatic experience like being involved in or witnessing a major accident, a crime, a natural disaster, or war. Learning to better manage our stress helps us to have more satisfaction in our daily lives.
Excessive stress can start to impact individual well-being and eventually impact relationships and other unrelated situations. If you are stressed at work, you may find yourself having less patience with your children or your significant other. Similarly, if you are stressed at home, you may find yourself unable to focus at work. Chronic stress can lower your immunity, making you more susceptible to illnesses. Your digestive, excretory and reproductive systems stop working properly. Other illnesses may form including diabetes, depression and anxiety disorder. Stress also increases heart rate, increases blood pressure, and creates muscle aches and body tension. Once the stress has passed, your body acts to restore normal functioning.
As the saying goes, “life happens,” but it is important to know how you and your family respond to stress to better manage future stressful events. Know how you feel when you are calm, a little stressed, and excessively stressed. Once you understand your responses, you can make adjustments in your life to help mitigate the negative effects of stress. Many times when we get busy with work or family, we forget about ourselves in the mix. We must take the time to evaluate how we are doing and how we can combat the stressors that we are feeling.
Here are some ways to cope with stress:
- Get proper care for your health problems.
- Create and maintain a support network of friends, family and community or religious organizations and ask for help when you need it.
- Set priorities and work on your to-do list. Whatever you don’t get done today can be worked on tomorrow.
- Recognize the signs of your body’s response to stress such as increased alcohol and substance use, being easily agitated, feeling depressed or having difficulty sleeping.
- Avoid dwelling on problems and think positively.
- Live in the present. Learn from the past and move on.
- Exercise regularly and schedule times for healthy and relaxing activities.
- Recognize that you have limits. Learn to set limits with yourself and with others.
- Explore stress-relieving activities like meditation, yoga, tai chi, and simply breathing deeply.
Most people are able to manage day-to-day stress. Moreover, in small doses, stress can be good for us. It can give you the push to finish your tasks at work, school or home, and it can even save your life in some situations. But if you or someone you know is overwhelmed by stress, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family, friends, or a health care professional.