It can be physical Stress, emotional Stress even spiritual Stress.
Before you can cope with any stress, you have to specify what type of stress you have a problem with. And yes, it needs to be a problem, because it needs to be defined as stress which is causing a problem.
Definition is extremely important. What stress is for one person, may just be excitement for another. Some people need stress, which they call positive stress, simply to get going or to get motivated, others will be paralyzed in their daily life by being confronted by just a little stress.
It goes without saying that the variety of stress and the responses to it will determine how you cope and react to it.
What specifically is causing my stress?
... and ...
How specifically do I react to stress?
Having answered those questions, will help you to figure out if you over-react or under-react, and further more, it may give you an answer of how to avoid similar stressors again.
By example; one of the heaviest stress burden is the death of a loved one.
No one would blame you, if you react badly to such a traumatic stress event. In addition to that, you wouldn't blame yourself either. All emotions you feel now, however traumatic they may be, are there to help you overcome your loss.
For a moment reflect upon such a traumatic event, and measure your own stress against that. It may help you to see stress more objectively.
For starters, if your stress is not caused by such an traumatic event, but it is more about money, job, relationships etc.; than you can react more specific and objectively.
For example; if the stress is caused by money problems, and you totally isolated that problem as the cause of your stress, than you have now the opportunity to put a long-term strategy into action to combat the problem at hand, plus make sure it will not arise again.
That type of awareness is the determinant factor why some people thrive on stress and others rather don't face the problem.
1.) Better the devil you know, than the devil you don't know"
... and ...
2.) "Know your enemy "
... and in addition, I like another one ... which holds part of the answer of how to cope with stress:
Define your stress by asking the right questions.
Now that you know the stressor (devil), tell yourself to respond in a positive and creative way. In case you rather hide under the bed.... that would just create more stress, with other words, as faster you define your stress and find a strategy to cope with it, as better.
Use the stress, to react creatively ... the energy of the stress becomes the energy to push you forward.
About emotional stress; please allow yourself time for being sad, angry and resigned ... there are no direct solutions to a traumatic emotional experience, other than proper grief, with all the emotional implications.
We do live in a stressful time, everything seems to be faster, and speed in itself can cause stress. Once again, this is a definition, which you can use as a solution, by simply slowing down.
Create time spaces in your daily routine for fun or relaxation. Switch off your mobile, have a computer free day. Have a creative problem solving day, sit down with your partner and reevaluate your lifestyle, is it the lifestyle you want or can you change something. Prioritise your tasks, don't delay important decision, that just creates more stress.
We all know about the fight or flight response, the age old beneficial acute stress reaction to danger, and the actual internal physical response of adrenalin release into the body.
In the old days, when you were possibly confronted from a dangerous animal, you had an instant stress reaction, which gave you the stamina to either fight the beast or out run it. Actually that was a perfect situation, because by fighting or running, you used up the adrenalin output, and the outcome would be a positive relaxed state.
( Unless you got eaten :-).
These days however, everything is different, the perceived dangerous beast attack, may not be an actual beast, it may be just another phone call, another 'nail in the coffin'; you may actually sit in your office while a perceived stress attack is raging within you. With other words, you are sitting and steaming in your own juice.
What has all that to do with coping with stress?
It's the complex adrenalin problem. Any perceived stress will have a reaction and adrenalin is pumped into your body. If this is ongoing, you will actually suffer from chronic Adrenal exhaustion.
The key to eliminate stress is always twofold:
1. try to eliminate incoming stress, see above > know your enemy
2. Break down the excess adrenalin in your body.
With any type of stress, you need to neutralize the adrenalin output. You are not likely to fight, nor run away from your desk, work, money issues or relationships.
How will you get rid of the adrenalin?
I am sure you know that already .... by regular exercise. 5 x a week 20 - 30 minutes jogging, running, outside or on a treadmill will do wonders for your stress level as well as for your cardiac health and general wellbeing. Other activities work the same, weight lifting, boxing, marshal art, tennis, football, anything really which will help you to use up the "stored stress-response adrenalin".
I mentioned "stored" adrenalin, see your stress level like a thermometer, you may function well on 30 degrees, but don't let it come to boiling point.
There is an old Buddhism saying: Meditate 10 minutes daily, if you haven't got time, meditate 20 minutes.
That analogy can be used for your daily physical activity outlet as well, if you don't have 20 minutes a day, you will need 1 hour to keep yourself healthy.
While exercise will take care of your physical stress response, what will help you cope with the mental distress?
Go back to the top, define your stress, after that learn relaxation exercise.
In stress your brainwave is overexcited, running hot, you have to bring that back to the pleasant "Alpha Brain wave", which is relaxing, calming, and most of all regenerative.
To bring down your brainwave even more, start meditating.
There are other activities which will help you to access the Alpha Brain Wave, such as most creative pursuits. In fact, creative activities such as drawing, painting, playing music, free form dancing, writing and all other art activities are a great stress relieve and could be seen as Art Therapy.
... and remember prevention works ..
For more on stress, please see > Self Help Article Menu
... or check out the Brain Plasticity Menu
* Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.
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