The Best Ways to Manage Stress

Stress isn’t always a bad thing.  You’re probably aware of the tense rising exciting stress you feel when you’ve been given a challenge that’s just out of your reach, but which you’re sure you can do.  This positive stress, called eustress, is what every honed athlete feels just before their “big race”.  Our bodies are primed to handle stress in low doses.  It gives us the “fight or flight” reaction which was vital for our survival in the past. 

But it’s when your stress becomes prolonged or unexpectedly severe that it becomes harder to manage.  And dangerous to your health.

You have to take an active role in the management of your stress relief options and choose solutions that work best for you.  One way you can alleviate stress is to move your body more.  For some, committing to exercise seems like more of a load in the stress department.  But in reality, exercise releases endorphins, which combat stress hormones.  Some people become addicted to the feeling they get when they’ve exercised.

You may also want to engage in some deep meditative activities that help you calm your mind down as well as your physical functions.  Meditation and exercises such as yoga, deep breathing and tai chi can instantly reverse the harmful effects stress has on your mind, body and soul.  It can take as little as 15 mins meditation/deep breathing every day for you to get relief from your stresses.

Whatever you do to relieve stress remember that prescription drugs, alcohol or other addictions which seem to help are actually masking the symptoms of stress, and not tackling the problems.  The only long term health benefits from stress relief come from stress busters like exercise and mental focus.  

The most important thing you can do if you’re suffering from on-going stress is to take a break from it so that your body has a chance to heal.  Break the cycle.  De-stress.  How you do it is ultimately up to you!

How to Handle Workplace Stress

What do you do with workplace stress?  Your boss is on your back to finish a project.  A co-worker has it in for you for no particular reason.  And to top it off you can’t change jobs because the bills are coming in faster than ever.  Besides, this miserable cycle repeats itself no matter where you work, so what can you do?

Since your job entails interacting with other human beings, as 99% of ours do, you have to expect that you will run into friction at some point.  Most people are feeling the stress of the bad economy so they are more sensitive than ever which affects your life, too.  Keeping this in mind can at least help you to relate to others in the workplace. 

If the boss or co-worker is a problem with others, not just you, then taking it to upper management may help.  Pass the buck up to him or her to handle.  Another obvious solution is to try to transfer to a different department.  This might not be so easy in a small company.  It may be easier to retrain to do a different job. 

Remember though, that if you can’t just change jobs or move on, you’ll have to learn to deal with your workplace stress.  As in the schoolyard, there are bullies everywhere.  If you don’t let them get to you, it won’t affect you as much.  But it’s more than an annoyance, you may even have a legal case against the company.

Or, if your workplace stress comes from your overcommitted schedule, or unrealistic deadlines, you might be able to reduce your stress by simply changing the way you view it.  Is there ANY way you could possibly view your stress in a positive way?  After all, a large part of stress is to do with how we perceive it!  And whilst you are reframing your stress wherever you can, make sure you are also following a stress reduction program.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to recognize your stress for what it is.  Do not just take it home with you and dump it inappropriately into your relationship.  By all means tell your partner what’s happening and why you’re feeling stressed out.  But don’t “transfer” your stress.  It won’t solve your workplace stress but it will add relationship stress to your list of problems!