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Coping With Everyday Problems
Stress is a natural part of life. The expressions are familiar to us, "I'm stressed out," "I'm under too much stress," or "Work is one big stress."
Stress is hard to define because it means different things to different people; however, it's clear that most stress is a negative feeling rather than a positive feeling.
(Children often experience different stress than adults, you may also be interested in our article Stress in Children.)
Stress can be both physical and mental.
You may feel physical stress which is the result of too much to do, not enough sleep, a poor diet or the effects of an illness. Stress can also be mental: when you worry about money, a loved ones illness, retirement, or experience an emotionally devastating event, such as the death of a spouse or being fired from work.
However, much of our stress comes from less dramatic everyday responsibilities. Obligations and pressures, which are both physical and mental, are not always obvious to us. In response to these daily strains your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to you muscles. This response, is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation.
However, when you are constantly reacting to stressful situations without making adjustments to counter the effects, you will feel stress, which can threaten your health and well-being.
It is essential to understand that external events, no matter how you perceive those events, may cause stress. Stress often accompanies the feeling of being out of control.
How do I know if I am suffering from stress?
Remember, each person handles stress differently. Some people actually seek out situations that may appear stressful to others. A major life decision, such as changing careers or buying a house, might be overwhelming for some people, while others may welcome the change. Some find sitting in traffic too much to tolerate, while others take it in stride. The key is determining your personal tolerance levels for stressful situations.
Stress can cause physical, emotional and behavioral disorders that can affect your health, vitality, peace-of-mind, as well as personal and professional relationships. Too much stress can cause relatively minor illnesses like insomnia, backaches, or headaches, and can contribute to potentially life-threatening diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease.
Tips for reducing or controlling stress
As you read the following suggestions, remember that success will not come from a halfhearted effort, nor will it come overnight. It will take determination, persistence and time. Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress is chronic, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes. Determine YOUR tolerance level for stress and try to live within these limits. Learn to accept or change stressful and tense situations whenever possible.
Be realistic If you feel overwhelmed by some activities (yours and/or your family's), learn to say NO! Eliminate an activity that is not absolutely necessary. You may be taking on more responsibility than you can or should handle. If you meet resistance, give reasons why you're making the changes. Be willing to listen to other's suggestions and be ready to compromise.
Shed the "superman/superwoman" urge. No one is perfect, so don't expect perfection from yourself or others. Ask yourself, "What really needs to be done?" How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make?" Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it.
Where to Get Help
Help may be as close as a friend or spouse. But if you think that you or someone you know may be under more stress than just dealing with a passing difficulty, it may be helpful to talk with your doctor, spiritual advisor, or employee assistance professional. They may suggest you visit with a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other qualified counselor.
Ideas to consider when talking with a professional:
You may be interested in our other stress related articles:
Information PagesNewest Article on Happiness Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Alcohol Abuse AMACs Anger Management Anxiety Attacks Art Therapy Asperger's Syndrome ADD ADHD Attention Deficit Autism Behavioral Problems Bereavement Bipolar Disorder Borderline Personalities Child Abuse Child Development Collaborative Divorce Couples Counseling Conduct Disorders Defense Mechanisms Depression Drug Abuse Eating Disorders Happiness Hypochondria Learning Disorders Obsessive Compulsive Oppositional Defiant Disorder Panic Attacks Phobias Play Therapy Post Traumatic Stress Presciption Drug Abuse Projection Sand Tray Therapy Schizophrenia Self Image Sexual Abuse Sexual Disorders Sleep Disorders Social Anxiety Sports & Exercise Stress Stress in Children Suicide Dictionary of Terms
ResourcesCounseling Resources Victims of Crime
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