Numerous studies have shown just how important it is for us to learn effective stress management skills. Stress is virtually everywhere now that we are living in a fast-paced and highly competitive society. It is impossible to avoid and eliminate stress; hence, we are only left with the option of dealing with it in an appropriate manner.
Poorly managed stress has been proven time and time again as a strong causative factor for a wide variety of diseases. The right stress management skills will not only help you to remain calm and effective in stressful situations and will also help you avoid the health problems associated with long term stress.
Understanding How Stress Works
A lot of research has been conducted regarding stress over the years that have gone by. Many theories have been accepted while many more have been rejected. But, what is more important than these theories is the fact that we all experience stress on a daily basis. Most of us automatically classify stress as a negative thing, which is entirely wrong.
Stress is not necessarily something bad – it mainly depends on how you take it. Stress is multi-faceted and can come in both positive and threatening situations. However, most of the time, stress comes in as a response to unexpected events. In simple terms, we feel stressed when we feel that “things are out of control”.
Before you learn some stress management skills, you should first take time to know how more about how you can assess your stress levels and your capacities to overcome them. There are a lot of stress assessment tools out there, but the most widely used is the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale which aims to help you measure the stress load you are carrying. The results of this assessment will help you determine your stress levels.
Stress Management Skills You Should Learn
1. Physical Relaxation Techniques
These stress management techniques are effective in lowering stress instantly as it helps reduce muscle tension and manage the effects of the fight-or-flight response on your body. Some great examples of physical relaxation techniques are deep breathing and progressive muscular relaxation.
2. Cognitive restructuring
Cognitive Restructuring is basically changing the way you think. It is the use of techniques to get rid of stressful and unhappy feelings and moods. Thought Awareness, rational thinking, and positive thinking are simple tools that help you to change our negative interpretation of things that are going on around us.
To some, this technique may sound esoteric; but I highly recommend that you learn this skill. Meditation has several disciplines, but most techniques involve sitting quietly, while focusing concentration and silencing the mind.
When you meditate, you calm your mind and body. Your heart rate slows down, you sweat less, and your breathing becomes deeper and more efficient. Meditation’s effect is immediate but regular meditation will result in a generally calmer you.
Stress can cause severe health problems and, in extreme cases, can even lead to death. If you are constantly experiencing stress, you should take time to develop effective stress management skills or better yet take the advice of suitably qualified health professionals.
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