Let's Talk About Stress Baby!
Updated: Jul 29, 2019
If I had to describe this past week in one word, it would be STRESSFUL. Work presented its share of stressful moments which threw my entire week off. Now as we know stress is apart of life whether it’s work or family or relationships stress shows it’s face from time to time. However this week’s overwhelming amount of stressful moments made me realize how important it is to be able to recognize stress and have stress reliever practices in our toolkit.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand”. Stress affects you physically, emotionally, and mentally. Stress is an internal and conditioned response to external pressures. Some physical symptoms are headaches, low energy, stomach aches, nervousness, shaking, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and difficulty concentrating. Some mental symptoms are anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, eating issues, addiction, and substance abuse. Some emotional symptoms are irritability, sadness, anger, apathy and overwhelm.
Everyone experience stress however some people handle stress better than others. There are healthy ways to handle stress and potentially unhealthy ways. Some potentially unhealthy ways are drinking alcohol to excess, smoking, emotional eating, illicit drug use, gambling, shopping, and self-harm. No I am not saying having a drink is wrong because I enjoy a glass or two or thr…. never mind you get the point :) however what I am saying is anything done in excess has the potential of being harmful.
Here is the 4 As I adopted this past week to get me through. I hope it helps you as it helped me.
Stay away from things, people, and situations that stresses you out as much as possible. It sounds like a “duh” response to stress however we do not always avoid unnecessary stressors. If being late to school or work is s a stressor then you should leave earlier than required because commutes are not always predictable. Avoiding puts you in control of the situation which will minimize stress. Learn to say no; know your limits do not take on more than you can bear. Planning your schedule, responsibilities, daily tasks and deadlines as well as prioritizing will allow you to recognize what’s on your plate that is urgent or can wait.
Not all situations can be avoided so what you can’t avoid you alter. Change the situation for the better. Communication is key. If something is bothering you then express your feelings rather than bottle them up. It’s not what you say but how you say it so be assertive BUT respectful and say what’s on your mind. With altering comes compromise, so be willing to bend a little and find a middle ground. Alter your schedule to ensure you are getting enough sleep/rest and have time of your desired self-care activity.
There are some stressors that are unavoidable such as death or serious illness. Therefore with unavoidable sources of stress, acceptance is key although difficult. You can’t control the uncontrollable so do not try. Talk about the stressors with a person you trust in order to relieve the pressure. If experiencing anger or disappointment at someone, free yourself from it by forgiving the individual and moving on. Avoid negative self-talk and focus on the positive. Learn from past mistakes and accept them as “teachable moments.”
If you can’t change the stress; change yourself. Changing your attitude, standards or expectations can be most helpful in dealing with stress. Reframe the situation and look at it from a different perspective. Adapt a saying such as, “I can handle this” or “This too shall pass” or “I have overcome before and I will overcome again” or something you like. Ask yourself will this matter next year or even next three months; if the answer is probably not then do not dwell on it. Practice gratitude it’s easy to focus on the negative when that is in the forefront but take a moment and reflect on the people and things you love and appreciate.
Stressors whether good and bad are a part of everyday life. Practice applying these techniques to balance your stress.