Dealing With Stress

Stress is a part of our daily lives

A certain amount of stress or tension is healthy and necessary for everyone.  Without it special events would lose their excitement, jobs would be done without enthusiasm, relationships would be dull.  But the time may come when stress increases to the point of “strain”.  This can make it difficult to think straight, to control our emotions and can, in time, affect our physical well being.

Unemployment and job search can cause prolonged stress.  The most important thing to remember is that many daily situations are not inherently stressful.  Stress can be either positive or negative,  we are the ones who decide the role stress will play in our day.  Each of us has the power to decide how to interpret events.  What may cause severe stress for one person may cause mild or no stress for another.

Think of stress like your relatives. Some stresses, like some relatives, are more helpful than others, and while we can’t eliminate stress, it would be nice to control it when it drops in for a visit.  Think of exams, deadlines, running into exes, etc.  In order to control the physical and emotional consequences of stress, we need to be aware of how we react to stressful situations, and why.  This knowledge can help us develop coping strategies.

Danger Signals

When the oil light in your car flashes, would you consider putting a piece of tape over the light as a solution to the problem?  Not likely.  We recognize that it is a signal to which we must pay attention immediately.  If not, we fun the risk of serious engine damage.  And yet, that is what we often do when our own internal oil light goes on.  Taking an aspirin or making glib promises to ourselves that we will do something may mask the cause of our symptoms.  We fail to recognize the danger signals our body is sending.  I have talked to too many people who have not seen the danger signs of overworking or remaining in a toxic environment.

Negative Communication

Think over a typical day’s conversation.  How much do you complain or worry about things you have no control over – the weather, the storms, the traffic.  How many times do you start or end your day by listening to or watching the catastrophes on the news?  How many times do you think about all the things you have to accomplish and how short the day is?  Studies have shown that we speak to ourselves negatively more often than positively.

Negative self-talk can affect us in some pretty damaging ways. Studies have linked negative self-talk with higher levels of stress and lower levels of self-esteem. This can lead to decreased motivation as well as greater feelings of helplessness.Jun 23, 2019  https://www.verywellmind.com/negative-self-talk-and-how-it-affects-us-4161304

Have you ever noticed that you feel how you think?  That you are what you say?  How many times have you said, “Oh, I have a terrible headache” when it is only just a little headache and a little while later the headache seems much worse, so you say it again and before you know it you have to lie down or go home because it is so bad.  What if yo said, “I feel pretty good”.  Your brain says, “Oh, I thought I had a headache, but I guess I don’t, so I will feel better now”.  Have you ever taken just a little more time to look better so you will feel better, for example, put on a little make up, worn a favourite shirt? Your brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined, so if you tell it you are feeling well, it will respond to that feeling.

Recharging Your Batteries

Before and after stress filled days we need to recharge our batteries.  We need time to recover from the inevitable ups and downs of everyday life.  We need to unplug ourselves.  Often we don’t spend the required time to just sit and think because we are so busy rushing to the next event or we worry about what other people might think.  Perhaps, like me, you heard “What will the neighbours think?” when you were growing up.  The reality is that they probably don’t care at all as they are too busy thinking about themselves.  Stop and say to yourself,
Who really cares?”

Meditation can help.  Meditation allows you to slow down and observe things around you without judgement.  Anyone can practice meditation. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.  You can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health.https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858

Over time we have lost our ability to laugh, at ourselves, our situations, at others.  A hearty belly-laugh will take us a long way down the road to good health.  We we laugh, we are literally giving our internal organs a workout.  Pleasure affects our immune system and makes us healthier.  Laughter heals.  It is impossible to reach inside our bodies and massage our kidneys, but a good belly laugh can do that for us.

As children we laughed over 400 times a day, but as adults we have dropped to less than 15 times a day.  In school we were told to stop laughing, at home we were told to be quiet, and so as adults we often have difficulty regaining our sense of fun. When is the last time you laughed so hard you cried?  How did you feel afterwards?  Did you feel relaxed all over?  This happens because of the endorphins.  Hearty laughter increases our heart rate and respiratory activity.  Muscle tension is also released during laughter.  If we are not laughing, we are not really living.

Managing Priorities

Take some time to establish some personal priorities.  Decide which tasks and activities are most important to you.  What would you like to do to renew yourself and build up your positives?

Read this article by Dr. Melissa Brown to see how she turned herself around when she asked herself the question “What if it were easy?”

To reducing stress in your life, one step at a time.

Fran Watson

P.S.  If you feel intimidated by your life, check out Intimidation Crusher

 

 

 

About Fran Watson

Work from home Career Counsellor helping people with resumes, cover letters and interview tips. Recently published an e-book on Resumes and Cover Letters That Work (www.franwatson.ca). Member of Toastmasters and life-long learner.
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