Did you ever stop to think that stress is really about your perception of demands or pressures placed upon you? After all, it is why one person might race around in an inefficient flurry when they feel they have too much to do, while another person with the same "to do" list may slowly and calmly peck away at tasks until done. One perceives that mountain of tasks as pure stress, the other as a list of things to simply address calmly. So, how can you help yourself when you feel you might be exceeding your personal ability to cope with demands or pressures? One of the first things you can do is understand just what stress is doing to you. It can, as APA warns, "have health consequences, affecting the immune, cardiovascular and neuroendocrine and central nervous systems, and take a severe emotional toll…
Untreated chronic stress can result in serious health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity." Clearly, it is essential to have some positive actions to take during your most stressful moments. These include:
Fake it till you make it - In other words, smile and try to remember something that made you laugh. Stress always shows in the face, and if you focus on smiling and positive remembrances, you break the intensity of the stress.
Take a step back - Too often we get absorbed in the source of the stress. No matter what it is - taxes, kids, arguing with a partner, even traffic - take yourself a mental or physical breather and return to whatever aspect of the moment is causing stress within 20 minutes. Get mindful -
Close the eyes, do some counted breathing (five on inhalation and five on slow exhalation), and try to focus on something positive. The results will astound you. No matter what is causing stress, you can take these positive steps to overcome it quickly and effectively.