Human beings are unique creatures. We have similar qualities that make us almost identical, but we are distinctly different. Each of us hopefully has two eyes, two ears, one nose with two nostrils, one mouth, two arms with hands that hold ten fingers, and two legs, including feet with ten toes. All of us have a mind of our own to think about what we want, but be careful how we act upon this.
How to manage stress
Everyone experiences stress and has ways to deal with it. Here are some techniques to manage stress in our challenging lives:
- Recognise stressful situations. Sometimes it is difficult to determine what causes stress in your life. Keeping a journal might help.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of quality sleep can contribute to stress.
- Set priorities. Examine the issues in your life and decide which are the most important and deserve your attention. Ignore or procrastinate on the rest.
- Give ourselves permission. Too often, we do not allow ourselves the time for self-care. We deserve and need some fun!
- Change our style. Our work or lifestyle may require changing. Decide how we can avoid stressors and work hard to make our lives more enjoyable. Explore new hobbies, music, art, or other ways to enrich our lives in a stress-free way.
- Make a plan. Set goals and create steps (objectives) to reach them. We are more likely to follow our plan if we write it down and share it with close friends and family.
- Practise deciding. Just because we encounter a stressful situation doesn’t mean we have to become stressed. Learn how to respond to such opportunities in a more positive and productive way.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are seven alternative techniques that can be used to cope with stress in healthy ways:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories.
- Take care of ourselves.
- Take control of one’s body.
- Make time for relaxing by unwinding.
- Talk with others.
- Connect with our community or faith-based organisations.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol.
Feeling emotional and nervous, or perhaps experiencing trouble sleeping or eating too much or too little, can all be typical reactions to stress. It is very natural to have stress, anxiety, grief, and worry during traumatic events such as mass shootings, natural disasters, or pandemics. The methods mentioned above are just two ways people deal with stress. Every person has a technique that assists in managing stress.
Dr Brian Hesler, a psychiatrist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, offers these five tips to reduce the overall stress of day-to-day activities. In today’s society, stress and change are often thought of as the same thing. Stress is a physiological and psychological response to a change. This occurs in situations the body and mind find overwhelming. With the fast pace of home and work and constantly trying to connect with those around us, life can be stressful at times.
Here are Dr Hesler’s five tips:
- Use guided meditation as a positive way to distract ourselves.
- Practise deep breathing to reduce our sympathetic nervous system, which controls the body’s response to fight or flight.
- Physical exercise and nutrition help keep our bodies and minds healthy.
- Manage social media time and other media, not only by what we see on them but also by spending this time with family, friends, and outdoors.
- Connect with others because we are social beings. We need to be with others to feel supported. Finding a sense of community is important to our well-being.
Avoiding stress is almost impossible, but we might need an array of strategies to deal with societal problems. However, it is not a war but a battle to live with little or almost no stress. Try something from an assortment of relaxation techniques and find one or two that help. We as human beings, have thought of a plethora of strategies to combat stress. Some achieve a mark of success, but without trying, stress will remain. Examples such as yoga, meditation, mindfulness, guided relaxation, and deep breathing are just a few. Address each situation as a separate entity, but one or more can aid us in better mental health.
Chronic stress can prevent us from feeling and performing at our best, whether it be physically, emotionally, or mentally. No one will have a stress-free existence. As stated earlier, it’s crucial to manage its symptoms and deal with each individual incident at a time, with whatever aids us to lessen the strain. A tip from this writer to all my readers: try something and expect failure(s). When we do not attempt anything at all, the situation does not improve or get better on its own. We can even like the difference in our feelings and reduce our stress, too.
Howard Diamond is a New York State-certified peer specialist from Long Island.