The first step to relieving stress is to identify its source. Here are some common offenders:
Any significant change in lifestyle or routine can incite stress while mind and body try to acclimate to the new living conditions. Examples are: A move, a new job, losing a job, pregnancy or birth of a child, or the death of a relative or friend. You can find more information on Psychology Today
- High Personal Expectations:
Perfectionism, or setting unrealistic goals is at the heart of a lot of personal stress. Over-achievers often create a lot of stress by the extreme efforts they invest in trying to attain the impossible.
- Financial Challenges
Not making ends meet, and dealing with creditors is a prime source of stress.
- Physical Pain or Discomfort
Relaxation alludes anyone with even a slight discomfort, all the more so, someone who is dealing extreme illness or chronic pain.
- Spiritual Unrest
Unanswered questions and doubts about the meaning of life or a lack of direction and guidance inspires feelings of being lost and stress.
There are infinite possibilities when it comes to finding the source of stress in your life. It is very important to take the time to get to know yourself, and know what pushes your stress buttons.
Once the source of the stress has been pin-pointed, you can move on and utilize a way to prevent it. Here are 7 suggestions for effectively dealing with and avoiding stress. They are not meant to be used exclusively, rather they complement each other very nicely.
- Prepare for change by putting as many coping mechanisms at your disposal as possible. Keep a positive attitude; remembering that change ultimately cultivates growth.
- Set realistic goals for yourself and those around you. Take all endeavors one step at a time, and exalt in small victories. Focus on the quality of achievement rather than the quantity.
- Learn to tolerate imperfections and appreciate the differences in others the same way you expect them to tolerate your imperfections and appreciate your uniqueness.
- Develop your communication skills. Learn to communicate with your loved ones in a way that is constructive rather than in a way that breeds aggravation and friction.
- Responsible financial planning always helps. Learning how to earn, spend, and invest with the future in mind will prevent the stress of a financial crunch down the line.
- Eliminate physical discomfort by staying in good physical shape and getting medical -traditional or alternative- attention when necessary.
- Seek out guidance and information to help you identify the meaning in life and the role you have to play. Find a mentor, or a friend to talk to. And take time to think, and put all things in perspective, once you have identified what the core meaning of life is.
These are methods for dealing with the source of stress. Sometimes a more immediate solution to stress must be introduced in order to achieve the presence of mind necessary to truly deal the source of the stress itself. This is called diffusing stress. Once you are overwhelmed by stress, find something that will quickly diffuse it and allow you to get back to yourself and move on from there. Here are some suggestions:
- Breathing exercises
- Light music, dimmed lights
- Doing something enjoyable in a relaxed position -e.g. light reading.
- A hug
The method that works best will be different for each indiviual person and situation. It is important to note that some behaviors that have become popular stress diffusers are in actuality stress inducers because of their negative long term effects. Examples are emotional eating that leads to a poor diet, addiction, and committing acts that go against your conscience and moral identity.
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