‘Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.’
Hans Selye

Overview

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or pressure. It can be caused by both positive and negative experiences. When faced with a situation that makes you stressed, your body releases chemicals including cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenalin.

These chemicals give you more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if your stress is caused by physical danger. This, however, can also be a bad thing if your stress is in response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength.

Many different factors can cause stress. Identifying what may be causing them is the first step in learning how to cope. Some of the most common sources of stress are:

Survival Stress: You may have heard the phrase ‘fight or flight’; this is a common response to danger in both people and animals. When you are afraid that someone or something may be trying to hurt you, your body naturally responds with a burst of energy so that you will be better able to survive the dangerous situation (fight) or escape it altogether (flight).

Internal stress: Have you ever worried about things that you can do nothing about and that you have absolutely no control over? We all do from time to time. This is internal stress and it is one of the most important kinds of stress to understand and manage. Internal stress is when people make themselves stressed and anxious. The chemicals that stress releases into your system can be highly addictive and some people become ‘stress junkies’ by getting off on a chemical high. They may even look for stressful situations and feel stressed about things that aren’t really stressful.

Environmental stress: This is a response to things around you that cause stress, such as noise, crowding and pressure from work or family. Identifying these environmental stresses and learning how to avoid them or deal with them will help lower your stress level. Certainly some people are more sensitive to this than others and find it more difficult to filter out environmental distractions.

Workplace stress: This kind of stress builds up over a long period of time and can take a hard toll on your body. It can be caused by working too much or too hard and not achieving a healthy life balance. It can also be caused by not knowing how to manage your time well or by not taking time out for rest and relaxation.

‘There is more to life than increasing its speed.’
Gandhi

Stress Management – Steps to Success

  • Control your thoughts to manage your stress levels
  • Learn to be more confident and assertive
  • Manage your time efficiently
  • Use exercise to alleviate stress
  • Reduce caffeine and alcohol
  • Learn to let go and go with the flow

Managing Stress

Managing stress can affect both your body and your mind. People under large amounts of stress can become tired, sick, and unable to concentrate or think clearly. Sometimes, stress can even trigger severe depression and mental breakdowns. These steps will help you to effectively cope with stress:

Stress Management: Ten Tips

Ten Tips to Combat Stress

Use these quick tips to help you feel calmer in times of stress:

1. Control your internal chatter and avoid self-imposed stress.

2. Be positive about change and seek out the benefits.

3. Be more assertive in the way that you communicate and deal with things.

4. Manage your time and personal efficiency more effectively.

5. Learn how to manage your emotions and try to see the funny side of things.

6. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid too much caffeine and alcohol.

7. Get out in the fresh air, go for a walk and get some exercise.

8. Make sure that you get good quality sleep – six to eight hours every night.

9. Take deep breaths and focus on controlling your breathing.

10. Explore relaxation techniques and take time out every day just for you.

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