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Stress management, ways to reduce stress

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Stress is the “wear and tear” our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings. As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action; it can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems as well as problems sprouting up in relations and work place. With a job promotion, or change in the working environment, or changes taking place in the managements or the working colleagues, changes in the principles and policies of the organization etc or even a new relationship and changes taking place in the personal live of a person all would be factors causing stress. We experience stress as we readjust our lives either at our work place or in personal lives. In so adjusting to different circumstances, stress will help or hinder us depending on how we react to it.

As we have seen, positive stress adds anticipation and excitement to life, and we all thrive under a certain amount of stress. Deadlines, competitions, confrontations, and even our frustrations and sorrows add depth and enrichment to our lives. Our goal is not to eliminate stress but to learn how to manage it and how to use it to help us. Insufficient stress acts as a depressant and may leave us feeling bored or dejected; on the other hand, excessive stress may leave us feeling “tied up in knots.” What we need to do is find the optimal level of stress which will individually motivate but not overwhelm each of us. There is no single level of stress that is optimal for all people. We are all individual creatures with unique requirements. As such, what is distressing to one may be a joy to another. And even when we agree that a particular event is distressing, we are likely to differ in our physiological and psychological responses to it.

The person who loves to arbitrate disputes and moves from job site to job site would be stressed in a job which was stable and routine, whereas the person who thrives under stable conditions would very likely be stressed on a job where duties were highly varied or for that matter if there is a lot of uncertainty in the job description. Also, our personal stress requirements and the amount which we can tolerate before we become distressed changes with our ages. It has been found that most health problems are related to unrelieved stress. If one is experiencing stress symptoms, he or she has gone beyond the optimal stress level; hence the person needs to reduce the stress in life and/or improve the ability to manage it.

Identifying unrelieved stress and being aware of its effect on our lives is not sufficient for reducing its harmful effects. Just as there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities for its management. However, all require work toward change: changing the source of stress and/or changing your reaction to it. How do you proceed? There is an whole new subject known as stress management which is now a days popular. Stress becomes strain when it is continuous.

Identifying unrelieved stress and being aware of its effect on our lives is not sufficient for reducing its harmful effects. Just as there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities for its management. However, all require work toward change: changing the source of stress and/or changing your reaction to it. For any person to perform efficiently and the organization to work effectively the stress in ones life due to personal reasons or due to organizational reasons should be managed.

1. Become aware of your stressors and your emotional and physical reactions.

Notice your distress. Don’t ignore it. Don’t gloss over your problems.

Determine what events distress you. What are you telling yourself about meaning of these events?

Determine how your body responds to the stress. Do you become nervous or physically upset? If so, in what specific ways?

2. Recognize what you can change.

Can you change your stressors by avoiding or eliminating them completely?

Can you reduce their intensity (manage them over a period of time instead of on a daily or weekly basis)?

Can you shorten your exposure to stress (take a break, leave the physical premises)?

Can you devote the time and energy necessary to making a change (goal setting, time management techniques, and delayed gratification strategies may be helpful here)?

3. Reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions to stress.

The stress reaction is triggered by your perception of danger…physical danger and/or emotional danger. Are you viewing your stressors in exaggerated terms and/or taking a difficult situation and making it a disaster?

Are you expecting to please everyone?

Are you overreacting and viewing things as absolutely critical and urgent? Do you feel you must always prevail in every situation?

Work at adopting more moderate views; try to see the stress as something you can cope with rather than something that overpowers you.

Try to temper your excess emotions. Put the situation in perspective. Do not labor on the negative aspects and the “what if’s.”

4. Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress.

Slow, deep breathing will bring your heart rate and respiration back to normal.

Relaxation techniques can reduce muscle tension. Electronic biofeedback can help you gain voluntary control over such things as muscle tension, heart reate, and blood pressure.

Medications, when prescribed by a physician, can help in the short term in moderating your physical reactions. However, they alone are not the answer. Learning to moderate these reactions on your own is a preferable long-term solution.

5. Build your physical reserves.

Exercise for cardiovascular fitness three to four times a week (moderate, prolonged rhythmic exercise is best, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or jogging).

Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.

Maintain your ideal weight.

Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, and other stimulants.

Mix leisure with work. Take breaks and get away when you can.

Get enough sleep. Be as consistent with your sleep schedule as possible.

6. Maintain your emotional reserves.

Develop some mutually supportive friendships/relationships.

Pursue realistic goals which are meaningful to you, rather than goals others have for you that you do not share.

Expect some frustrations, failures, and sorrows.

Always be kind and gentle with yourself — be a friend to yourself.

To manage stress one has to find ways to reduce it like :

1)Develop proper perspective:

Any person is it in his personal life or for that matter professional life has to ways and means to reduce the tension or the stress which comes along with the work. One has to develop a proper perspective to see or think about any cause of the tension. One has to have correct frame of mind to take things and view them with a different angle which would render less tension or stress.

2)Stop running from risk:

One have to learn to be bold enough to face the situation as it is. Instead of running from a situation or may be hiding from the problem situation. One has to stop worrying about risks and put in his best foot forward to perform any task. He should give in his best performance or in other words should work hard and try to achieve the best results rather than worrying about the future or what would be in store. One should be prepared for the worst situation.

3)Avoid rat race:

The term “rat race” was coined in the United States where the constant run to out perform than the other due to cut throat competition so much so that the person forgets what his main objectives are rather he goes blindly for the heck of competition and doesn’t care how or by what means is he going to out do or go ahead of the other competitors. This kind of feeling or the process is a mere rat race where the person himself doesn’t know where it is leading him to. This sort of attitude instead of helping one to achieve his aims in the organization or life increases tension and stress causing health problems.

4)Work in your area of strength: If one is not well aware of his areas of strengths or his key abilities then he has to first find out what they are only then he would be able to know which areas he would be able to perform well. By knowing ones key strength areas one can be more confident of the performance and the result of performing the task. By doing so the person can be more successful in what ever task he is doing. He would be able to do better, the tasks which come to him naturally or for which he naturally has a knack of doing.

5)Get off the load: One should not take extra work load as this would lead to worries rather than helping one to perform well. In is advisable to any person that one has to take only that much work which he would be able to do without getting tension or anxiety. One should not over estimate his capabilities and agree for many tasks at one time. This would lead to the person not being able to do even the task which lays in his core competence areas. One has to learn to give up some of his work load to do the work at hand well. This would increase efficiency as the person would be able to concentrate on one task at a time.

6)Strong Conviction: One has to have a strong conviction and belief on God and the plans he has for the individual.

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