It has been proven that we can influence our stress tolerance level:
- Your support network – A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against life’s stressors. On the flip side, the more lonely and isolated you are, the greater your vulnerability to stress.
- Your sense of control – If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, it’s easier to take stress in stride. People who are vulnerable to stress tend to feel like things are out of their control.
- Your attitude and outlook – Stress-hardy people have an optimistic attitude. They tend to embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humor, accept that change is a part of life, and believe in a higher power or purpose.
- Your ability to deal with your emotions – You’re extremely vulnerable to stress if you don’t know how to calm and soothe yourself when you’re feeling sad, angry, or afraid. The ability to bring your emotions into balance helps you bounce back from adversity.
- Your knowledge and preparation – The more you know about a stressful situation, including how long it will last and what to expect, the easier it is to cope. For example, if you go into surgery with a realistic picture of what to expect post-op, a painful recovery will be less traumatic than if you were expecting to bounce back immediately.1
If you can’t avoid stressors, at least you can influence the way you respond to stress. You’ll may be surprised that I won’t suggest you specific stress reduction techniques. Why? Simply because they have to be tailored to your needs and it’s important to keep in mind no technique works for everyone. Some people think meditation and yoga will automatically reduce stress. However, these methods can generate stress if they don’t work for you. It could be difficult to find out the technique that will work for you. In addition, you have to remain vigilant because many companies claim having THE perfect solution to your stress managing problems. That said, they are pretty easy to recognize because benefits of their products/services are supported by paid testimonials instead of scientific studies. Remember: if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Although it’s more than appealing to buy a non-prescribed stress reduction pill, you have to work on yourself, to make efforts to develop efficient stress reducing techniques.
- Avoid unnecessary stress. Although it’s impossible to avoid all stressors, you would be surprised by the number of sources of stress you can eliminate in your life by learning to say “no”, avoiding people who stress you out or having a better control of your environment.
- Alter the stressing situation by being more assertative, better managing your time, being ready to compromise, being more flexible and expressing your feelings instead of keeping them bottling up.
- Adapt to the stressors by viewing stressful situations under a more positive angle, trying to become less perfectionist (being unable to reach perfection is a major source of avoidable stress, believe me..) and focusing on positive things.
- Accept the things you can’t change (I know, it’s easier said than done but it’s possible if you make constant efforts). Don’t waste your energy trying to control things you can’t control and focus on those you can control such as how you react to problems.
- Make time for fun and relaxation. Beyond the aforementioned changes you can reduce stress by taking care of yourself on a regular basis. Do something you enjoy such as relaxation, workout, taking a long bath, listening music, reading a book, etc.)
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle by, first of all, avoiding alcohol and drugs. They make you feel better temporarily but alcohol and some drugs are in fact Central Nervous System depressant: their long term effect is depressing not uplifting. It also recommended to exercise regularly, get enough sleep (to my opinion it’s imperative) and consume less stimulants such as sugar and caffeine.
Remember: stress management involves changing your way of thinking and making constant efforts. However, the game is worth it because you will considerably increase your well-being, which is priceless.
What are the techniques that have worked for you to manage your daily stress?
- SMITH, Melinda, M.A., SEGAL, Robert, M.A., SEGAL, Jeanne, Ph.D. (Helpguide.com – September 2011). Understanding Stress: Signs, Symptoms, Causes and Effects (Online) http://helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm
The American Institute of Stress. Stress Reduction, Stress Relievers (Online) http://www.stress.org/topic-reduction.htm