Stress is the “wear and tear” our bodies experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment; it has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings. As a positive influence, stress can help compel us to action and can result in a new awareness and a new perspective. As a negative influence, it can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger and depression, which can lead to health problems such as headaches, upset stomach, rashes, insomnia, high blood pressure , heart disease and stroke.
As you have seen, positive stress adds anticipation and excitement to life, and we all thrive under a certain amount of stress, our goal is not to eliminate all stress but to manage stress and use it to help us. Insufficient stress acts as a depressant and may leave us bored or dejected; on the other hand, excessive stress may leave us feeling “tied up in knots”.
There is no single level of stress that is optimal for all people and each person reacts differently to different stressors. Also , our personal stress requirements and the amount which we can tolerate before we become distressed changes with age. It has been found that many illnesses are related to unrelieved stress. If you are experiencing stress symptoms, you have gone beyond your optimal stress level; you need to reduce the stress lin your life and or improve your ability to mange it.
The following are some ideas on how you can manage your stress levels:
- Become aware of your stressors and your emotional and physical reactions.
- Notice your distress, do not ignore it, determine what events distress you.
- Recognize what you can change.
- Can you change or avoid stressors, can you reduce their intensity.
- Reduce the intensity of your emotional reactions to stress.
- Try to temper your emotions, review some of your expectations.
- Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress.
- Try deep breathing, relaxation techniques, consider possible medications.
- Build your physical reserves.
- Exercise, eat a well balanced diet, obtain adequate sleep, and participate in recreation activities.
- Maintain your emotional reserves.
- Develop supportive friendships
- Pursue realistic goals
- Expect frustrations
- Be kind to yourself
Consider professional help if necessary. The clinicians at Port Jefferson Psychological & Vocational, P.C. can evaluate your particular stress and provide treatment which will help you manage stress and direct it toward positive results.