How to deal with stress: this article shows 4 tips for reducing stress and how to effectively avoid or minimize stress.
“We can’t change the wind, but we can set the sails correctly”
Stress – a current topic
There is hardly any area in life that is not associated with stress. Training, work, family, government, traffic stress. We live faster and faster, English in kindergarten, turbo-education with 18, always mobile and accessible, always well informed, no time to lose, working strictly according to plan, even in our free time to reach our goal. Every minute counts for success. Recently, the results of a study by the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) were published, according to which every second employee feels stressed and exhausted at work. It would be unrealistic to challenge oneself without overburdening oneself with illness.
But those who know the dangers and the connections can prevent and counteract a stress situation.
A permanent overload and injury of the biological rhythm of life leads to stress reactions of the organism. Thinking blockades, lack of concentration can be the first symptoms. This leads to very different emotional reactions such as fear, anger, nervousness, irritability. Vegetative-hormonal reactions activate the processes in the body, which is noticeable by high blood pressure, high heartbeat, increase in blood fat and blood sugar levels, which are detectable during the medical examination.
The hormone hydrocortisone lowers the body’s immune defences. Heart attacks are usually caused by too much stress. Muscular reactions of the body are manifested by tension in the skeletal muscles. Symptoms such as tremors, back pain, stuttering, tension headaches, gnashing teeth can indicate a lot of stress.
What helps against stress
For a person who is constantly on “electricity”, there are many ways to find his way back. There is no magic formula for coping with stress. Stress is individual, therefore the methods of stress management must be adapted to personal needs, then they can work optimally.
Stress can best be prevented by daily exercise, by Sport. Endurance training is the absolute regulation of stress. Not only the heart, circulation and respiration but also the nervous system benefit from exercise training. Endurance sports help to relieve cramps and restore mental balance. It acts as a physical abreaction to stimulus flooding of the nervous system.
Wellness and relaxation techniques also help to counteract this. Every affected person should choose the method that suits him or herself, whether autogenic training, yoga or meditation. The use of water and the help of medicinal plants are further possibilities to reduce stress. A whole-food diet also has a stress-reducing effect.
Avoid or minimize stress: the basics
It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills will never stop coming, there will never be more hours a day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have much more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that taking control of your life is the foundation of managing stress. Stress management is about taking responsibility for your lifestyle, your thoughts, your emotions and the way you deal with problems. No matter how stressful your life may seem, there are steps you can take to relieve the pressure and regain control.
Why is it so important to deal with stress?
If you live with high stress, you endanger your entire well-being. Stress destroys your emotional balance and your physical health. It limits your ability to think clearly, function effectively and enjoy life.
Effective stress management helps you to break the stress in your life so that you can be happier, healthier and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life with time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun – and the resilience to stay under pressure and master challenges. But coping with stress is not a one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following tips for coping with stress can help you.
Tip 1: Identify the causes of stress in your life.
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. That’s not as easy as it sounds. While it is easy to identify major stressors such as changing jobs, moving or going through a divorce, locating sources of chronic stress can be more difficult. It is all too easy to overlook how your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors contribute to your daily stress level. Sure, you may know that you are constantly worried about work schedules, but perhaps it is more your hesitation than the actual work requirements that cause the stress.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitudes and excuses:
Explain stress as temporary (“I have a million things going on”), although you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
Define stress as an integral part of your work or private life (“Things are always crazy here”) or as part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)? Are you accusing other people or external events, or consider it completely normal and without exception? Until you take responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining this role, your level of stress remains out of your control.
Tip 2: Start a stress journal
A stress journal can help you to identify the regular stressors in your life and how you deal with them. Every time you feel stressed, keep track of it in your diary. While keeping a daily logbook, you will see patterns and common topics. Write it down:
- What caused your stress (guess if you are unsure)
- how you felt, both physically and emotionally.
- How you reacted to it
- What you did to make you feel better.
Tip 3: Practice the 4 A’s of stress management
While stress is an automatic reaction of your nervous system, some stressors occur at predictable times – e.g. your drive to work, a meeting with your boss or family reunion. If you deal with such predictable stressors, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose in a particular scenario, it is helpful to think of the four A’s: avoid, change, adjust or accept.
The four A’s – Avoid, Change, Adjust & Accept
Avoid (Avoid) unnecessary stress
It is not healthy to avoid a stress situation that needs to be addressed, but you may be surprised by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
- Learn how to say no. Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in private or professional life, more than you can cope with is a safe recipe for stress. Distinguish between the “should” and the “must” and say, if possible, “No” too much.
Avoid people who stress you out. If someone consistently causes stress in your life, limit the time you spend with that person or end the relationship.
Take control of your environment. If the evening news worries you, turn off the TV. If traffic makes you tense, take a longer but less busy route. If going to market is an unpleasant task, do your grocery shopping online.
- Reduce your task list. Analyze your schedule, your responsibilities and your daily tasks. If you have too much on your plate, drop tasks that are not really necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them altogether.
Change the situation
If you cannot avoid a stress situation, try to change it. It is often a question of changing the way you communicate and work in everyday life.
- Express your feelings instead of filling them in bottles. If something or someone bothers you, be more confident and communicate your concerns openly and respectfully. If you have an exam you need to study for and your conversational roommate has just got home, say in advance that you only have five minutes to talk. If you don’t express your feelings, resentment will build and stress will increase.
Be willing to compromise. If you ask someone to change their behaviour, be prepared to do the same. If both of you are willing to bend at least a little, you have a good chance of finding a happy middle course.
Create a balanced schedule. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Try to find a balance between work and family, social activities and lonely activities, daily commitments and downtime.
Adjust to the stressor
If you can’t change the stress factor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitudes.
- Reframe problems. Try to look at stress situations from a more positive perspective. Instead of smoking over a traffic jam, consider it an opportunity to take a break and regroup, listen to your favorite station or enjoy some time alone.
- Look at the big picture. Look at the stress situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Does it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth agitating about? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
- Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop preparing for failure by demanding perfection. Set appropriate standards for yourself and others and learn to cope with “good enough”.
- Exercise gratitude. If you suffer from stress, take a moment to think about all the things you value in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep an eye on things.
Accept the things you can’t change.
Some sources of stress are inevitable. They cannot prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to deal with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run it is easier than the railing against a situation that cannot be changed.
- Do not try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control – especially the behaviour of other people. Instead of emphasizing them, focus on the things you can control, such as how you react to problems.
- See the positive side. If you are facing major challenges, try to see them as opportunities for your personal growth. If your own bad decisions have contributed to a stressful situation, think about it and learn from your mistakes.
- Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentment. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.
- Share your feelings. Expressing what you are going through can be very cathartic, even if there is nothing you can do to change the stress situation. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist.
Tip 4: Eternal health cannot be guaranteed
There is no guarantee for eternal health – in the end nobody is granted eternal life , no one can get a guarantee for permanent health. However, the most important prerequisites for a certain degree of precaution and care of one’s own body and mind are in the hands of every single person.
It doesn’t take much effort to show a little discipline to avoid having to worry in the first place.