Although they say that stress is the modern’s man main affection, I tend to disagree. The term ‘stress’ refers to the response you have when facing circumstances that force you to act, change, or adjust in some way to keep things balanced.
Imagine the Cave Man, who didn’t have much of a brain, in a difficult situation…like being attacked by an animal. The neurons inside his paleocortex – that is the old brain – gave him the fight-or-flight response. That was the stress response, telling him that he should decide between attacking the animal or simply running away.
Well, modern man has inherited the paleocortex from his fellow Cave Man brother, so stress response is a natural reaction of the brain. The challenge is, nowadays, that we have all sorts of types of stress: job stress, interpersonal conflicts, money stress etc. - and this response to stress, can actually make us think less clearly. Bosses have expectations; colleagues have expectations, not to mention boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands or children if any.
The effects of stress are not only visible in our lack of focus, state or irritability or drastic mood shifts. They can be visible in our physical appearance as well: headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, upset stomach, sleep problems.
So what can we do in order to avoid all these horrible things stress might do to us?
Since you can’t avoid it, you’d better identify the source.
Is your stress related to interpersonal relationships? Try to improve your communication skills, try active listening, acknowledge what you are doing wrong in the relationships you have and work on that aspect, imagine how the perfect relationships would look to you and what would then be different.
Maybe you are stressed at work. Most of the top managers say that they have more to do than time to do it in. Not only all the demands claiming for attention at the same time, but the simple condition of feeling overwhelmed will produce stress and automatically a loss in focus. One way to get rid of this kind of stress is to remove demands that you have from yourself like perfectionism, over control, avoidance of risk etc. Time management will help you differentiate between important and urgent and how to organize your day in order to avoid burnout.
Accept that there are events you can’t control. You can’t control the number of cars involved in the traffic so why stressing about the traffic jams? Keep a positive attitude; rather than defaulting to negatives (”Nothing goes right for me,” or ”Bad things always happen to me”), give yourself positive messages (”I’m doing my best,” or ”I’ll ask for help”). I know, it’s hard, but give it a try. Do things that are pleasurable, like reading or jogging. And get some decent sleep.
Don’t lose yourself because of the day to day issues that arise at home or at work. Find what you are good at, find what makes you happy and keep these two balanced at all times. Let’s make ‘stress’ just an old term mentioned in dictionaries.