How many times have you heard your family or friends say how stressed they are? How many times do you answer to others “I’m so stressed!”? Do you know what is the cause of your stress, I mean really know what is creating the stress? Many times, we believe our stress comes from something outside of ourselves, when in fact it is forming from within. There are two types of stress; acute and chronic. Acute stress is the body’s reaction to a perceived threat, otherwise known as “Fight or Flight Syndrome.” Acute stress can be positive as well as negative. Sometimes the acute stress keeps you safe and away from danger or it can give you energy. Acute stress usually does not create problems if it is dealt with immediately; other times it can trigger anxiety or other health related problems. Chronic stress is stress that is accumulated from acute stressors that do not go away and are not managed. This is the tricky stress as you sometimes don’t even know it is brewing. This is the stress that will affect your health. Identifying the stressor and learning to manage it is the key to stress mastery. Learning to change the “old thoughts with new thoughts” is how to “master the stress.” Tools that can help with this are:
- Journaling – Journaling your feelings daily will help not only relieve the stress but will help to identify the underlying issue.
- Talk Therapy -Talking to a professional counselor or someone you trust is the key to getting it out and being able to help reshape how you look at your stressor and can teach you how you can change your thoughts to help better master the stress.
- Deep Breathing – Breath is very important because it is connected to both the mind and the body. Doing deep breathing through your abdomen, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth is a very impactful tool to help calm and decrease anxiety. Continue your rhythms with inhalation and exhalation.
- Limit Self Judgement – do not let “old tapes” play in your head. Remember to talk to yourself. Saying things like “I am feeling stress, I have control over this and this will pass” can feel very calming and empowering.
- Get Help from Others – reaching out to others for help and learning to say no to someone can be a big step in not taking on more than you can do at one time. Setting limits is self-care.
- Sleep – Getting at least 8-10 hours a sleep is very important. You will be able to manage the stressors more positively when you are well rested.
- Proper Nutrition and Exercise – Eating a balanced meal plan and engaging in a daily form of exercise will help you to think more clearly, and that will help you to deal with the stress in an appropriate way.
These are suggested tips only! If you feel you need more tools or that your stress is still interfering with your health, please contact a stress mastery specialist or a professional counselor who can help you look at the root of your stress and guide you toward health and wellness.