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How to Recognize and Control Stress

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Stress is perceived as a normal response to abnormal conditions. It is the body’s psychological and physiological reaction to events that upset the individual by disturbing the balance. The body protects you in these times through the fight or flight response. This can induce stress. Stress does not always cause harm. In fact, stress can also initiate life-saving results. This can help in challenging situations such as work tasks. Bad stress or distress is when the situation goes out of hand and damages overall well being. Stress can become negative when it goes out of control. It affects the mental and emotional well being and creates relationship and interpersonal issues. It also induces health issues such as skin rashes, digestive issues, sleep problems, heart-related complaints, depression, anxiety, and obesity as well as autoimmune disorders. It can also be painful and disorienting.

Stress varies across individuals with some having high tolerance for it and others, low. Understanding the factors that influence stress can successfully pave the way to manage the stressors. Causes of stress can range across the following.

Types of Stress

Life Stress

Life stressors include the death of friends and loved ones, injury, illnesses, crime, abuse, divorce, sexual issues, maladjustment, physical changes, financial hurdles, relocation, environmental factors or changing responsibilities. These stressors can range across a wide gamut and impact the individual in varied ways.

General Stress

General stress comes from fear and unidentified factors leading to uncertainty. Uncertainty also produces stress when we feel a lack of control in the prediction of an outcome that induces stress.

Work Related Stressors

Work stressors include demands on the job, lack of support or understanding with supervisors and co-workers, impediments in communication, the absence of feedback, clarity issues, changing organizational structures, demotion, promotion, lengthy hours or complete job dissatisfaction.

Internal Stressors

These are stressors we create. This refers to the manner in which we view and perceive situations leading to stress. This includes self-talk, unrealistic expectations, seeking perfection and wanting control.

Recognizing Stressors

Recognizing Stressors
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Once the sources of stress have been identified, work can commence on the management of stress effectively. Stress varies across individuals and there are effective ways to prevent it. Exploring your options is very important. Perception plays a critical role in stress management. Choosing healthier alternatives to cope with stress is also important. This includes exercise, breathing techniques, meditation and adopting an overall healthy lifestyle. Finding out what works for you is critical.

When trying to cope with stress, or finding unhealthy ways to manage or handle it, one may benefit from talking with close friends or family members. If stress controls an individual more than the individual controls it, it’s time to see a psychiatrist or therapist to guide you through the process. Finding something that works for you and is part of your regular schedule works wonders. The aim is to counter the stress and promote overall well being.

Having situations that create stress are normal and these include deadlines, interviews or even work or personal challenges, knowing what leads to stress is the important factor here. What leads to stress is important to recognize to reduce stress. Stress refers to the body’s condition reacting to mental or emotional disruption. Traumas cause extremely adverse reactions to physiological or psychological perspectives and negative events trigger stress causing job loss, divorce, and death of friends and families. Chronic or continuing stress comes from financial concerns such as battling a disease or handling a troubled workplace relationship.

Through recognition of the physiological reaction to negative life stressors or chronic strain, steps can be taken for metabolization of the harmful generation of stress linked hormones in the body. Building resilience, coping skills and perspectives to manage stress and live a healthy life is important.

Knowledge of the Body’s Stress Reaction

When we feel stressed out, the body sends signals that trigger a physiological response. The heart ticks rapidly, one sweats as perspiration rises and digestive powers decline. What signals need to be recognized? From verbal expressions to a stress awareness journal, there are many ways to counter and trace the impact of stressors. Physical sensations such as tense muscles in the lower back or neck are also common.

How to Control Stress

Strengthening capacity and skill building are important. How quickly the crises can be countered is based on how resilient one is. Those who can manage emotions, handle thought as well as behavior, building resiliency, are likely to rebound more rapidly.

#1 Committing to the Process of Change

Change is not simple as old habits have to be changed. Initially, we may not think seriously about changes and may not seek help. Once there is awareness, cycling through pros and cons is critical and behavioral change needs to take place. Seeking the intervention is important. The means to successful coping is to handle stress and seek the help of individual therapists or group counseling. Final stages involve managing the new pattern of behavior.

#2 Cope with Uncertainty

Managing during tough and difficult times is important. Things just don’t go the way we want them to sometimes. Certain outcomes are anticipated and instead, the unexpected happens. Dealing with negative emotions is important. So is building emotional resiliency.

#3 Accept That Which is In Your Control (And What is Not!)

Accepting what is not in our control is important. The frustration or tension emerging from situations that have no relation to us and yet impact us, has a negative impact on the psychological and physiological well being. Managing strong emotional outbursts and impulses involve taking actions without losing your objectivity. Pressure should be managed and it is important to persevere keeping the focus on goals for the long term.

#4 Recognizing the Importance of Stress Management

If one is living with high-stress levels, the entire well-being is put at risk. Stress creates havoc on emotional equilibrium and physical health. This lowers the ability to think with clarity, function efficiently and enjoy life. Effective stress management helps to break the hold of stress, so one can be happier, more productive and healthy. Ultimate goals of a balanced life with time for work, fun, relaxation, and relationship is important. Stress management does not follow a one size fits all approach.

#5 Identify the Stressors

Identify the Stressors
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Stress management helps in identifying stress sources in life. This is not so easy to identify in the context of chronic stressors. Overlooking thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to stress are vital. To identify the true sources of stress, looking at habits, excuses and attitudes are important. Don’t explain away the stress as temporary or fail to understand it as a critical part of your home or work life. Blaming stress on people or outside events is only going to exacerbate the situation. Accepting the responsibility for the role played helps in maintaining stress levels.

#6 Starting a Stress Journal

A stress journal can identify regular stressors in life and the way they are dealt with. Keeping track of stress levels in the journal is important. See common themes and patterns before arriving at an understanding of what is causing the stress, how you feel physiologically and psychologically. How you act in response and make yourself feel better is important too.

#7 Replace Unhealthy Strategies With Healthy Ones

Thinking about the ways to manage and cope with stressors in your life is important. For this, the stress journal is an effective way. Check if your coping strategies are healthy or unhealthy, unproductive or helpful. Many people cope with stress in a manner that compounds the problem. Some of the unhealthy ways of coping include smoking, drinking excessively, using pills or drugs to relax, comfort food, zoning out, sleeping too much and taking out your stress on others. It is important to manage the stress so experiment with different methods and techniques. Focus on what induces a feeling of calmness and control.

#8 Practice The Stress Management Methods

Stress stems automatically from the nervous system, while some stressors arise at a more predictable time. This includes commuting to work, meeting the boss or family gathering. When handling such predictable stress, the change in the situation or reaction is needed. Critical to stress management methods are to avoid, adapt, alter or accept. Knowing your limits and sticking to them is important. Distinguishing between the should and the must is the test of true stress management.

#9 Avoid Stressors

If something consistently causes stressors in life, limit the amount of time spent with the person or close the relationship. Taking control of your environment and immediate surroundings is important. If traffic creates tension, opt for the less traveled route. Engage in analysis of your responsibilities, schedules and daily tasks. If you are facing too many tasks, eliminate most of these. If you cannot avoid a stressful situation, try to change it. This involves changing the manner in which one communicates and operates one everyday life. Express the feelings instead of bottling these up. Creating a balanced schedule is important because there is no recipe for a burnout this way. Finding the balance between family and work is critical. Downtime is important.

#10 Change Your Attitude

If you can’t modify the stressor, change your self. Adapt to stress filled situations and conserve your modicum of control by changing attitudes and expectations. Reframing problems are important to look at scenes from a perspective where you can cope. Rather than creating tension about a stressor, take time to stop and engage in regrouping.

#11 Study the Big Picture

Taking the right perspective can help in combating a stressful setting. Always focus on the larger picture rather than taking a narrow view of the situation.

#12 Adjusting Standards

Perfectionistic factors are to blame for stress. Demanding perfection is not a stress alleviating move. Setting ideal standards for self and others is critical. When stress grabs you, it is important to take time to study what is good in life. Accept things that cannot be changed. Sources of stressors are unavoidable. Acceptance is hard but in the long run, it is critical to know about the situations that cannot be changed. Rather than stressing out, it is important to focus on things that can be controlled such as the manner in which problems are reacted to.

#13 Looking for the Bright Side

When facing a lot of challenges, try to study the opportunities for personal growth. If poor choices have led to stressful situations, reflecting on them and learning from mistakes is critical. Sharing feelings and expressing emotions can be a positive way to let the tension out.

#14 Get The Move On

When you are stressed, the last thing you will feel like doing is getting up and exercising. Physical activity relieves stress. You don’t have to spend long hours exercising to experience benefits. Exercise releases feel good endorphins that make a person feel good and distracts them from daily worries. Building fitness levels on a gradual basis works just fine. Small activities can add up to big benefits over the day.

Any form of physical activity can limit tension and stress. But rhythmic activities work just as well. Good choices while running, walking, swimming, dancing or cycling and tai chi or aerobics can benefit you in terms of fitness levels and value.

Paying attention to emotional sensations experienced as one feels them is important. Focus on the coordination of breathing with movement or notice how air or sunlight feels on the skin. Adding the element of mindfulness can help to break out of the vicious cycle of stress.

#15 Connecting With Others

Nothing is more important than spending time in harmony with another person who makes one feel safe and understood. Face to face integration leads to a positive outcome for the body wrestling with the fight or flight response. It ensures natural stress relief and staves off depression and anxiety. Making it a point to connect regularly and get the downtime you need is important. Building resiliency to focus on dealing with life’s stressors is important.

#16 Allocate Time For Relaxation and Fun

Beyond an approach that focuses on taking charge, stress needs to be reduced by creating opportunities for downtime. Nurturing one’s self is important. It is not merely a luxury. You need to be in a better place to handle the stressors of life. Setting aside leisure time for rest and relaxation is important. If one makes time for relaxation, there is a better chance of handling stressors. Setting aside leisure time includes rest and relaxation in the daily schedule. Relaxation methods range from yoga and meditation to deep breathing. A state of restfulness is necessary to deal with the fight or flight response.

#17 Develop a Stress Alleviation Toolbox

Coming up with healthy ways to recharge and relax, it is important to set up a walk or take a long, relaxing ride or trek through nature. Alleviating stress is easy with effective management of time. Avoid scheduling items back to back or fitting too much in a single day. Avoid over committing tasks and prioritize the important things in life. Break projects into smaller parts and delegate responsibility easily.

#18 Maintain Balance

Along with exercise, other healthy lifestyle choices raise resistance to stress. Eating a healthy diet, lowering sugar and caffeine intake and avoiding alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes is the key here. Getting enough sleep is important too because adequate sleep provides nourishment for the mind as well as the body. Two different coping strategies are problem and emotion focused. Problem focused strategies focus on tackling the situation leading to stress by concentrating on the problem. Emotion focused strategies handle distress and focus on emotions.


Learning how to recognize and manage stress is important. Stress is an undeniable part of modern life because we live in a fast paced world where we do not have time for many important actions. This is why stress management and identifying the stressors in life are critical. Combating the tension through effective management is the key here.

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