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10 simple ways to Overcome Stress

All of us experience anxiety, stress or tension at some or other stage in our lives. If we do not cope with it immediately and deliberately it might overwhelm us and immobilise us for the tasks that we have to perform. Therefore it is necessary to know about the effects of anxiety, stress and tension and how we can cope with them. According to the dictionary, anxiety refers to a state of being anxious about imminent danger; being excessively uneasy and concerned about the future. Anxiety, however, is usually not linked to a specific person, situation or experience that is

All of us experience anxiety, stress or tension at some or other stage in our lives. If we do not cope with it immediately and deliberately it might overwhelm us and immobilise us for the tasks that we have to perform. Therefore it is necessary to know about the effects of anxiety, stress and tension and how we can cope with them.

According to the dictionary, anxiety refers to a state of being anxious about imminent danger; being excessively uneasy and concerned about the future. Anxiety, however, is usually not linked to a specific person, situation or experience that is feared. It is a vague, undefined, tense feeling of dread that one experiences and which is difficult to control. Stress refers to an effort or demand upon physical or mental energy. Stress produces the same feelings as anxiety but it is usually linked to a specific significant other person, situation or experience that one fears, like an examination, an assignment or a superior person. Tension on the other hand refers to mental strain or excitement; a strained state or relationship. If the symptoms are experienced acutely, they are referred to as panic attacks.

All these definitions have in common the fact that individuals experience excessive uneasiness and that they worry as a result of perceived (excessive or dangerous) demands that are made on them on an interpersonal level. The anxiety, worry or tenseness could result in the individual not coping in social, school, family or physical areas of life. One could also say that individuals experience an excessive sensitivity for others’ opinions, attitudes and demands.

Symptoms of Stress

People experience stress in different ways – physical, emotional, intellectual or behavioural. It is important to pay attention to your body and take note of any symptoms that might be the first sign that you’re experiencing stress.

Physical symptoms could include: feeling tired all the time, muscle tension, palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath or a feeling of being choked, nausea or stomach cramps, experiencing a dry mouth and difficulty in swallowing, diarrhoea, asthma or feeling dizzy or light-headed.

Emotional symptoms could include: feeling depressed, experiencing a loss of purpose, fear of losing control, fear of dying and terror, often associated with feelings of dread.

Intellectual symptoms could include: difficulty concentrating, lack of focus, forgetfulness and experiencing your mind “going blank”.

Behavioral symptoms could include: restlessness, shaking, not sleeping (or sleeping too much), not feeling hungry (or eating too much), having a short temper, excessive smoking or drinking and a loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed including sports, friends, family etc.

Coping with Stress

It is normal for people to experience stress during their lives. A healthy person is not one who doesn’t have any problems or worries, but rather the person who manages to deal with them. It is often easier to deal with a problem if you’re able to talk about it. It sounds easy enough but we all have reservations about talking to someone about issues of a personal nature. We always think: “What will he think of me if I told him this problem that I experience”, or “She would think I am stupid to have such a problem,” or “Why can’t I just cope with problems like anybody else?” or “I am sure I am the only one with such a problem, nobody will understand me.”

Most problems seem worse than they really are. This is because you only have one point of view on the issue and if you think the problem is beyond solving then you’ll just make yourself more stressed. Sharing a problem and feeling understood makes the problem seem less scary. So, if you find it difficult to talk to someone about your problems or negative experiences, find a teacher/counsellor or a good friend and start to practice talking to him/her first. Maybe that will give you enough courage to talk to others as well.

10 Techniques to Deal with Stress:

  1. Look at the problem and determine whether it is something that you can control or change. If you can change it for the better then do it! If it is something that you cannot change, then rather accept this and deal with it.
  2. Remove yourself from a stressful situation. If you are not directly involved in the situation then rather move away from it than get caught up in the stress. If it is something you cannot get away from permanently, make sure that you get some time “away” to relax and re-charge.
  3. Set Realistic goals for yourself. Don’t overload yourself or set standards that are beyond achievement. Whilst it’s good to have goals, make sure that these goals are challenging but achievable.
  4. Don’t take on too much. Learn to accept that you cannot do everything, for everyone. Rather choose to focus on certain things and do these properly than take on too much and end up making yourself sick with worry.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Realise that you can’t control everything and life is sometimes unfair. Focus on the important things in your life and let the other things slide by.
  6. Learn to relax. We are all different, some might feel relaxed reading a book or listening to music whilst others might feel relaxed after playing a game of soccer or chatting with friends. Remember that you do need to schedule time in for relaxation – you must balance work & play to keep yourself fit & healthy.
  7. Change the way you react. If you over-react then you’ll just make things worse. Look at the situation and think it through before jumping to conclusions.
  8. Get enough sleep. Your mind can’t function properly if you’re tired. Make sure that you get enough sleep – problems always seem worse when you’re feeling exhausted.
  9. Work of stress. Get some fresh air and exercise. Your body needs to work off the adrenaline caused by stress. Go for a walk, play a game of soccer or just get up and stretch.
  10. Be positive. Give yourself encouragement and think of how you’re going to cope rather than worrying about why you might not. Some stress is good for you, it keeps you on your toes and helps you perform better so take control of stress and turn it from negative to positive!

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