Tips for Managing Stress

With the ever-increasing prices of basic commodities, threats of mass layoff, family problems, technological advances, and depressing news on TV, it’s not surprising that more and more people experience extreme levels of stress. In fact a 2007 poll conducted by the American Psychological Association revealed that about one-third of the American population suffer from very high stress levels.

Low-to-moderate stress levels can be good when you manage it in healthy ways. But extreme stress levels can take both a physical and emotional toll on you. Poorly managed stress can lead to fatigue, heart disease, obesity, and other conditions. So it’s very important that you know how to identify extreme stress levels and that you manage it in healthy ways. Here are some tips that may help you manage stress:

Identify what caused the stress

What situations or events fueled your stressful feelings? These situations or events may be related to your work, boss, spouse, children, financial decisions, health, or relationships.

Know your own stress warning signs

We express our stressful feelings in many different ways. Some have difficulty focusing or making decisions. Others feel irritable, resentment, or out of control. Many of them lash out at others when angry, while some vent out their anger on themselves. Stressed out individuals may also experience physical signs like lack of energy, muscle tension, or headaches.

Manage stress in healthy ways

What do you usually do to cope with stress? Do you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs? Do you binge eat or starve? Do you isolate yourself? Knowing how you deal with stress and their downsides can help you come up with the better coping mechanism. Remember, unhealthy behaviors when managing stress can develop over time.

Consider stress-reducing activities like meditation, exercising, or walking in the park with your dog. Talking things out with family members or friends can also help. But if you’re not comfortable to talk about your problems, start writing a journal to release what’s inside you.

Take good care of yourself

Have a healthy diet, exercise regularly, drink lots of water, and get enough rest and sleep. No matter how busy your schedule gets, make sure that you have a time for yourself. Take a regular vacation, cook with your children, read a good book, and listen to soothing music.

Ask for support

If you’re feeling down, get help from supportive family members and friends. This will improve your ability to cope with stress. If you still to feel the pressure of stress, talk to a counselor or a psychologist. He or she can give you some advice on how to better handle stress and how to change unhealthy behaviors.