Source: Barnabas Health Behavioral Health Center
No one can avoid all stress, and a certain amount actually is good for you. But it’s always best to keep unhealthy levels in check when possible.
Understand what stresses you.
Both positive and negative situations can tip the scales in your life. On the negative side, financial -difficulties, divorce, criticism by a friend or boss, unrealistic work demands, or death of a friend or family member can cause stress. On the positive side, getting married, being promoted, having a baby, moving to a new home—even going on vacation—also can be stressful.
– Notice when you’re most vulnerable to stress and prepare yourself. Are you most affected in the mornings? On Mondays? In the winter?
– Look at how you react to stress. Common effects include sleep problems, skin rashes, fatigue, irritability, agitation, headache, depression, excessive worrying, mood swings, chest pain, anxiety, upset stomach, ulcers, and high blood pressure.
Recognize your stress signals.
Once you’re aware of your stressors, you’ll have a better idea of what you can control and how to control it.
– Get organized. Use a daily planner and prioritize tasks.
– Learn to set limits. Don’t agree to unnecessary, stressful obligations.
– Be physically active and eat a healthy diet.
– Get eight hours of sleep each night.
– Don’t take illegal drugs.
– Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
– Stop smoking. Take regular relaxation breaks instead of smoking breaks. You can follow a similar routine—leave the office, get fresh air, socialize, and take slow, deep breaths.
– Avoid angry, violent, depressing or upsetting movies, TV shows, and newscasts until you are better able to handle them.
– Try some relaxation techniques, such as self-hypnosis or guided imagery, prayer, meditation, yoga—whatever works for you.
If you try all of these strategies and you’re still experiencing debilitating stress, it’s important to seek outside help.