Stress is a daily reality for many of us, a constant source of strain that keeps us struggling to maintain a happy existence or just enjoy the company of friends and family. For some, the stress comes from dealing with the day to day realities of life, medical conditions and work and bills. For others, the condition is a result of simply not learning how to truly relax and let go of things. Whatever the cause, stress has been identified as a major health risk for modern Americans, and managing it has become an important skill.
Start By Identifying The Source Of Stress
In many cases people are aware of what’s causing the stress in their lives, in other cases, they only believe they do. There are a lot of situations that can cause stress, from going through a divorce to moving, or even changing jobs. In each of these cases the cause is pretty clear, but in some cases, the source of the stress is more insidious, and not immediately obvious to those experiencing it. To identify the actual source of your stress, take some time to do a self-examination and ask yourself the following:
“Do I describe this stress and what’s causing it as temporary, yet don’t remember the last time I was relaxed and calm?” – Odds are that what you’re identifying as the cause of your stress isn’t, it’s time to look for underlying causes.
“Do I accept stress as a simple factor of my life at home or work, or try to write it off as part of your personality?” – Those experiencing chronic stress often try to reason it away as part of their personality or lifestyle.
“I wouldn’t be so stressed if s/he/they didn’t keep doing these things!” – We all have a role to play in the stress we experience.
If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to start a stress journal that you can use to identify the actual causes and learn to control them properly. In your stress journal record each day the source of your stress (guess if you aren’t certain), your mental, emotional, and physical condition that day, your responses to stress, and what self-care you used to manage your stress.
This will help you identify unhealthy methods you use to manage stress, as well as aid you in identifying the actual causes of your stress. From here you can begin learning to deal with the causes of your stress. Maybe you need to start learning to say no to certain people or avoid those who are causes of stress in your life altogether. If you find you’re stressed out by outside stimuli, like the evening news, turn it off, and if traffic makes you tense, find a route less traveled to get home. Finally, try to manage your to-do list and take care of things promptly, procrastination is a major cause of stress.
By identifying and managing the sources of your stress you can start living a happier and freer life. More importantly, you’ll reduce the wear and tear you place on your body and mind by constantly being under stress.