There are many stressors we all face that cannot be changed, reduced, or avoided. But, we can change our reaction in the face of stress. We can control how we respond. And, we can control how much we allow stress to affect us. We can also reduce stress’s impact as it is happening at that moment. Additionally, we can create a more positive life balance to better prepare for challenges.
To clarify, the first step to stress management is to acknowledge what your stressors are. It certainly may be helpful to start a stress journal to help identify patterns and themes as many stressors will be obvious, but others may be underlying. Once you can pick out where your stress originates, you can plan you to deal with it.
- Take action. Can you avoid or alter the stressor? Confront the cause of the stress; can this environment or situation be changed?
- Adapt your emotion. You may not have the power to change the situation. But, can change your emotional reaction, how you feel about it and or your emotional interpretation of it.
- Acceptance. Where we have no power, nor emotional control, we must focus on acceptance and surviving the situation as best we can.
UNHEALTHY COPING METHODS
- Drinking too much
- Over or under eating
- Zoning out in front of the TV or computer
- Withdrawing from friends, family, or activities
- Pill or drug usage to relax
- Sleeping too much
- Taking stress out on others
- Filling every minute to avoid facing problems
Healthy ways to relax and recharge:
- Go for a walk
- Spend time in nature
- Savor a cup of tea
- Play with a pet
- Call a good friend
- Spend time doing your favorite hobby
- Watch a comedy
- Write in a journal
- Take a long bath
- Get a massage
- Play or listen to music
- Sweat it out with a good workout
- Curl up with a good book
This Good Stress, Bad Stress article continues for one more week of New Year, New You. Our stress management technique to explore this week is called the Relaxation Response. As previously stated, when the body is under stress muscles tighten, breathing becomes shallower and quickens, the heart rate is faster, and digestion shuts down.
The goal of the relaxation response is to use repetition – a word, phrase, sound, thought, or movement to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to help the body relax and feel a deep calm. As with many stress management techniques, benefits include lowered blood pressure, decreased muscle tension, and a renewed mind.
WEEK FOUR BONUS INSTRUCTIONS
Visit www.jrmcnd.com/nyny to access the link to a Relaxation Response video. Watch and participate in this video to earn 10 points. You may practice this technique as often as you would like. You may also search for additional relaxation videos to find one that fits well for you. However, point earning caps at 10 bonus points for this week.
Hope you are enjoying the journey to improved health and well-being!