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Stress Management

How to cope with stress

When the normal stresses and concerns of everyday life go too far, stress becomes an all-consuming, exhausting problem. Sufferers of severe stress may experience a number of physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms that interfere with normal, everyday life, from anxiety attacks, headaches and insomnia to irritability and drug or alcohol abuse. Over the long term, stress can lead to more serious issues including depression, eating disorders and anxiety. Finding ways to manage stress is therefore important to the health and happiness of an individual.

Stress Management Techniques

"Stress management" refers to the wide range of techniques and methods designed to help individuals reduce, eliminate and prevent stress in their lives. Your library or doctor may be able to help you find stress management courses, videos or therapy groups to help you control your stress. Stress management training is often effective, and can involve a number of components you can try on your own. However, remember that changing habits or creating new habits, even if they are meant to improve your life, will take time and effort on your part. The following are some stress management techniques to try:

  • Time management. Make a schedule, prioritize what you have to do and stick to it. Also make time in your schedule for relaxing and doing things you enjoy.
  • Look after yourself. Things can't get done without you, so take the time to eat well, try a physical fitness program or practice meditation techniques and get the sleep you need so that you can meet your challenges head-on. Not only will you be better able to work, but you will be more efficient too.
  • Coping. Rather than suppressing stress with a trip to the ice cream section of your freezer, get those feelings out. Air your problems with your family and friends; they might have some ideas on how to help, and it will be therapeutic for you too.
  • Saying no. We all want to help others when they need it, and may feel like we can't share our responsibilities with others, but knowing your limits (of time and ability) can reduce the number of stressful situations we find ourselves in.
  • Think positive. One of the most important things you can do to prevent the thorns in your side from becoming one major pain is to think positive thoughts. Try to realize that even though you spilled your coffee on the way to work and then found out that the elevator was broken and you had to use the stairs does not mean it will be a bad day. You just get to smell like java and get a bit of exercise.

Stress management is all about outlook and control. Start each day with an "I-can-do-it" attitude and make decisions about your life that will minimize unnecessary commitments and allow you to have some time to unwind. If stress is still a major part of your life, seek counseling or medical help to get you recharged, and then redesign your life in a way that will prevent that stress from coming back.

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