Coping With Stress in Daily Life


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by Jayaram V

Stress is a major and one of the most common problems in life.

Everyone suffers from stress to some extent, from small babies to grownups.

The very process of living is stressful.

As part of our survival mechanism we are hardwired to experience stress whenever we perceive threat to our wellbeing.

Even dogs and cats do suffer from stress.

The causes of stress

Much of the stress we experience arises from the demands of life.

A host of problems contribute to stress.

As society advances and grows in complexity, as expectations grow and as demands of life increase our stress levels also increase proportionately. Deadlines, failures, setbacks, problems, fear, uncertainty,  competition make our lives more stressful.

We cannot completely remove stress from our lives. Nor we can avoid stressful situations. However, we can cope with it and manage it with effective and intelligent strategies.

Stress symptoms arise differently in different people. Some well known symptoms arising from prolonged stress are fatigue, headaches, nausea, memory problems, attention problems, anxiety, worry, anger, irritability, introversion, withdrawal, depression, sleeping problems, eating problems and so on.

There are healthy ways to cope with stress and unhealthy ways. Drinking, smoking, overeating, avoiding, withdrawing, becoming angry, aggressive or violent are a few unhealthy ways in which people try to cope with their stress.

To deal with stress you need to understand and identify the causes of stress. Once you identify the causes either through introspection or with the help of a specialist, you can devise suitable strategies.;

Stress can arise due to external or internal causes. External causes are environment related. They may be under you control or beyond your control. You may deal with them by changing them or avoiding them or changing your attitude or thinking towards them. Internal causes may be either physical or mental or behavioral. You can either change them if it is within your capacity or accept them if they are beyond your control. Some of these problems can also be dealt with through medication.

Four strategies to deal with stress

Basically you have to deal with stress with the help of these four broad strategies.

1. Change stressful situations that are within your control.

2. Adapt to stressful situations which you cannot change.

3. Avoid stressful situations you can neither change nor control.

4. Accept stressful situations which you cannot change, to which you cannot adapt, which you cannot avoid and which are beyond your control  by changing your thinking and attitude and developing proper outlook and philosophy.

Simple relaxation techniques

You can apply these four strategies creatively and intelligently in your daily life to deal with stressful situations.  As part of these strategies, you can use the following simple relaxation techniques to reduce stress in your life.

1. Pause in between your busy moments

2. Breathe consciously, when you find time

3. Think when you have problems, instead of worrying.

4. Practice meditation to calm your mind.

5. Stay in the present when you are dealing with people and problems.

6. Set your priorities.

7. Become assertive.

8. Be expressive.

9. Learn to laugh.

10. Let go.

11. Sleep enough.

12. Eat healthy.

13. Exercise.

Remember, some stress is normal and unavoidable. Stress becomes a problem, when it begins to interfere with your thinking and actions, and when it effects your health. If the symptoms are there, then effective and remedial action is immediately required.

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