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Monday, October 17, 2011

Can you make it easier to understand stress management strategy?

It can be overwhelming or confusing to know how to select the appropiate stress management.  I've divided all stress management strategies into 4 main categories. Focus on the category which seems to make the most sense for you, exhaust it's possibilities before moving onto another category. This may work better than feeling scattered over numerous stress management techniques, which could cause more stress than help alleviate it:

1) Increase body's resilience to stress:

A certain amount of stress comes with normal life. If you don't take good care of your body, you will feel the effects of stress more than someone who takes good care of themselves. Taking good care of your body means to stay hydrated, eat nutritious foods, sleep well, exercise, and reduce coffee, sugars, alcohol. Eliminate tobacco and other harmful addictions.

2) Change the situation:

It's very difficult to inoculate the body against stress if the situation/s are constantly toxic. Abusive relationships, overwork, bullying bosses, overspending, high risk behaviors should be changed if at all possible.  It may not be possible to quit a job, in the moment, in which case working on increasing body's resilience to stress would seem the next best option.

3) Change how you think about stress:

Critical, negative thinking patterns result in more stressful interpretations of events or situations. If you are the type of person who always sees their glass as half empty instead of  half full, it may make sense to challenge your thought patterns. This is easiest done with the help of a counselor. Practising turning lemons into lemon aid, or keeping a gratitude journal may also be useful, if counselling is not available.

4) Reduce the stressor response:

People who have suffered trauma, or grown up in war zones or in highly conflicted homes have sensitive stressor responses. This means their body's are triggered into "fight or flight" mode more easily than others. The "fight or flight" response generates physiological responses which eventually create stress related physical conditions, especially if chronically aroused.  Activities such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, prayer, acupuncture, Tai Chi, etc. serve to reduce the brain's stressor response if practised diligently over time.  

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