According to a new survey, stress in America has increased 30 percent over the past 30 years, and almost three out of four Americans are stressed at work, with more than a third reporting extreme stress levels. Stress can affect everyone regardless of age, and it can have a negative impact on health and overall well-being. While we may not be able to control our stressors, we can learn to cope and manage stress more effectively.
Here are some tips to follow:
* Identify. When you are feeling stressed, look to see what is triggering it. Get to the root of the cause. If you can identify your trigger and learn to deal with it directly, it will help put things in perspective. Isolate the stressors and work with them one at a time so you are not overwhelmed. A stress journal may help you identify reg ular stressors and how you deal with them. You may see common patterns and themes that can help you overcome them. Once you identify the stressor, you can either choose to change the situation by avoiding the stressor or altering the stressor. Or you can choose to change your reaction by adapting to the stressor or accepting the stressor. Seek professional help on the individual stressors if you are unable to cope with them.
* Exercise. Staying healthy and exercising regularly works off the stress and releases endorphins, a brain chemical that helps reduce pain and stress. Studies show that regular physical activity improves mental health, has a preventative effect and helps the brain cope with stress better. People who exercise regularly also are 25 percent less likely to develop anxiety disorder. Eating a healthy diet and getting a good night’s rest can help you increase your resistance to stress.
* Breathe. When you are stressed and anxious, the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide is off. Breathing in through your nose for four seconds and out your mouth for six seconds can put your body back into balance and calm you down. Spiritual growth through meditation, prayer or service can help clear your mind and keep you fresh. Take time to relax and recharge your batteries.
* Laugh. Studies show that laughter is a healing activity and reduces the level of stress hormones. Humor helps put the stressor in perspective and may help you realize that it is not as bad as your mind makes it out to be. Find humor in your life, with your family, friends and support network. Take time every day to do something that you enjoy, and have fun at!
* Think. Positive thinking helps you reduce stress by approaching it in a more positive and productive way. Telling yourself through self-talk that you can over come the stressor helps give you a more positive outlook, reducing stress. Concentrate on the positive and what can go right in a situation instead of the negative and what can go wrong.
Don’t wait until stress has taken its toll. Managing it now in a proper way will improve your health, relationships and quality of life!