The best stress coping program is the one tailored for you, the kind of stress you have to deal with and the sources of that stress. Think about it, write down your observations and use them to draw up a stress management plan.
You may find that you are a source of stress in your life. For instance, you may want your home to be spotless and spend hours cleaning until you’re exhausted and on edge. You are always angry and you take it out on your spouse and kids. You have to modify your behavior or this scenario will continue day after day, damaging your relations with family members and leaving you unhappy and frustrated.
The answer is to modify your ideas and behavior. You need to change your own mind-set and learn to lower your standards and make them more realistic. Your spouse and kids also have to accept cleaning and other housework as a family responsibility. The whole family can make a plan and assign specific duties to specific people.
Of course it is not that easy to change. You need the help and support of your family and friends. You may even have to get professional help. But you’ll find that your peace of mind is well worth the cost and effort.
In many cases, a person’s job may be the principal cause of stress in his life. This could be narrowed down to the pay, an abusive boss, or the amount of traveling required. In some extreme cases, removing the stress may mean changing jobs. In other cases you have to come up with a plan to make some small but positive changes that will at least reduce if not eliminate stress. You may ask for a transfer to another department where you either travel only occasionally or you don’t have to travel at all.
The lesson here is to find the source of stress and do something constructive to eliminate the cause if this is at all possible. If you can’t eliminate the cause, you can resort to various stress coping methods and techniques.
What Works for You?
Develop a lifestyle that produces the least amount of chronic stress. There are general points that we should consider. The following are some of them. See what works for you.
- ORGANIZE YOURSELF! Organizing your life can reduce stress to a surprising degree. Organizing your life means identifying your goals and priorities and what you must do to achieve them. Once your goals and priorities are clear and settled, once you have a plan, it is easier to make decisions on important issues such as how you should handle your finances. You can use your time wisely, with more hours going to priority areas of your life. You can focus on what’s important while saying no to things that don’t really matter that much but require a lot of your time and energy.
- SOLVE THAT PROBLEM! Make sure problems are resolved as soon as possible. Problems that drag on and on are sources of chronic stress. Remember that it is easier to recover from a clean quick cut than an open and festering wound. If you need to, make a list of unresolved issues that continue to nag at you. Then settle them one by one.
- GET REAL! Make sure you’re being realistic when you’re making plans or setting objectives. You can get really frustrated if you keep trying to do the impossible. You either blame yourself, in which case you can become depressed, or you can blame others, in which case you can become abusive. Nothing can make you feel better about yourself and the world than success and praise.
- TAKE A BREAK! Rest and relaxation can reduce stress. A short nap can reduce the stress of caring for an ailing parent. It gives you a break from constant demands of a patient who may be feeling depressed and isolated. Take a short vacation every year; you can escape from the daily grind and for at least 4 or 5 days, live a different life. If you’re tied to a computer, take a break each hour. It can be as simple as closing your eyes and thinking of relaxing images such as the beach or a waterfall. You’ll go back to work refreshed.
- GET PHYSICAL! Exercise should be an important part of your stress management program. It helps you relieve tension and stress and leaves you feeling tired but more relaxed and energetic. Your body produces more endorphins and you feel better.
- Do what your mother and doctor have always told you. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Have a regular check up. Exercise regularly. Sleep at least eight hours a day. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Quit smoking. You’ll be in good shape and have less to worry about. You’ll be able to manage stress, and not let stress manage you.