shutterstock_610994792Top ways to manage stress and lead a healthier and more positive life
Part I

You don’t have to look farther than the nightly news to see the effect stress can have on an individual than to look at US President Barack Obama.  His hair is graying, he looks thinner than usual and more tired than he did almost five years ago when he took office. It seems however, that whatever physical signs we may see, President Obama has a number of coping strategies to manage his stress such as working out, eating a proper diet, and strong close connections to his family and friends.

However, if your stress goes unmanaged and is excessive it can affect your immune system and lead to cardiovascular problems, contribute to premature aging as well as mental health and illness issues.

What is stress?  

Stress is the “wear and tear” our minds and bodies experience as we attempt to cope with our continually changing environment.  Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. Stress occurs when the pressure is greater than the resource.

When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger.  But this can also be a bad thing, if their stress is in response to something internal or emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. People often are stressed about things they cannot control. It can make individuals feel panicked, depressed, anxious, frightened, tense, fatigued and unmotivated. Whether stress is internally driven or externally focused most stress is self-generated.


Top Ways to Manage stress:

1.  The most important step is to do a reality ‘Awareness’ check.

What causes you to stress? Has there been a change in your work environment, are you over worked?  ? Is there uncertainty or are you facing conflicts.

What’s going on at home and in your personal life? Are you facing a major life event—marriage, divorce, a new baby, financial issues?

2.  Find Balance.

There is a fine line between positive / negative stress Determine how much can you cope with before it becomes negative? Are you stimulated or overwhelmed?

3.  Control: If you have reached the breaking point then it is time to take control of the situation.  What can you do to help yourself combat the negative effects of your stress?

4. Re-frame: Use reframing, which is a technique to change the way you look at things to feel better about them. There are many ways to interpret the same situation. Re-framing does not change the external reality, but helps you view things in a different light

5. Positive thinking

Forget powerlessness, dejection, despair, and failure.  Stress leaves us vulnerable to negative suggestion so focus on positives.  Focus on your strengths. Look for opportunities to focus on positive events in your life.