Learn your stress reaction.

Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that “demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” – Richard S. Lazarus

Essentially, we feel stressed when we feel things are out of control. Stressors can be both positive and negative events and situations, but when they become too many at once, or so big they are overwhelming, stress can set it. Stress has numerous physical and emotional consequences.

Our ability to cope with the demands upon us is key to our experience of stress. For example, starting a new job might be an exciting experience if everything else in your life is stable and positive. But if you start a new job when you’ve just moved into a new house, or you are expecting, or you’re experiencing money problems, you may find it hard to cope.

Balancing out stressors, whenever possible, and learning how to cope with unchanging stressors, is important to managing wellness.

Create a Stress Management Plan:

  • What are those things that really make you feel stressed?
    • Family? Friends? Co-workers? Children? Other people in your life? Finances? Work pressure? School? Lifestyle? Health?
  • Develop coping strategies.
    • Experiment to find those things that work best for you.
    • What do you love to do? If you had all the time/money/etc. what would you love to do? What made you happy when you were a child? What did you look forward to? What small things make you happy or smile? What are your passions?
    • These also include… exercise, better nutrition, relaxation and meditation, down-time, mental breaks, positive time with others, improved sleep.

 

  1. Use tools to manage stress… either work to change the situation that causes you stress, or change your reaction to it, or both.
    • Identify and accept the things you cannot change.
    • Avoid unnecessary stress. Say no more often, stop hanging around toxic/stressful people, set limits/boundaries with others, work, school, etc., avoid gossip, make a budget, and so on…
    • Change the situation. Manage your time better, speak up more, go after what you want, be willing to make a change even when risk is involved, be willing to compromise.
    • Alter your response. Will this matter a year from now, or next week, or even tomorrow? Engage in positive self-talk. Instead of telling yourself, “this is the worst thing ever,” tell yourself things are never as bad as I make them seem.

Relist your stressors and a plan to change or an accepting statement for each…

The better you understand yourself, what triggers you, what leads to bad habits, and what coping tools leave you feeling worse afterward, the easier it will be to change your behavior… and actually want to change behavior for the long-term.

Related post… Self-awareness

Related post… Coping

Related post… Adjust for the unforeseen

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