KARI’S experience is not unusual. According to a mental-health charity in the United Kingdom, 1 in 5 British workers said that stress had made them physically ill during their career, and unmanageable pressure had caused 1 in 4 to cry while at work. Prescriptions for antidepressants saw an unprecedented rise during one recent year of economic recession.
What has caused you stress?
- Insecurity—financial /otherwise
- A demanding routine
- Interpersonal conflicts
- A traumatic experience
How has stress affected you?
- Health disorders
- Emotional exhaustion
- Sleep problems
- Deteriorating relationships
Managing Stress. Stress in itself is not necessarily harmful. The American Psychological Association has noted: “Stress is to the human condition what tension is to the violin string: too little and the music is dull and raspy; too much and the music is shrill or the string snaps. Stress can be the kiss of death or the spice of life. The issue, really, is how to manage it.”
Adding another dimension, people vary in temperament and general health. So what stresses one person may not stress another. That said, you are likely overstressed if your regular routine makes you so tense that you cannot relax or deal with the occasional emergency.
To help them “cope” with chronic stress, some people turn to alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. Others begin abnormal eating patterns or sit passively in front of a TV or computer—habits that do not address the underlying problem but may, in fact, exacerbate it. How, then, can we learn to manage stress effectively?
In order to understand better the dynamics of stress, we need to consider the four common causes of stress in our everyday lives.
Not one of us has total security. How can you cope with feelings of insecurity? Try these suggestions.
- Confide in a trusted family member or friend. Studies show that the support of loved ones consistently confers protection against stress-related disorders. Yes, “a true friend shows love at all times, and is a brother who is born for times of distress.”
- Do not continually focus on worst-case scenarios. Such thinking does little more than drain emotional reserves. And what you fear may not happen!
2. DEMANDING ROUTINE
A relentless routine of commuting, working, studying, or caring for children or elderly parents can keep stress levels high. Moreover, stopping some of these activities may be out of the question. What, then, can you do to cope?
- Try to give yourself some downtime, and get adequate rest. As the saying goes, “Better is a handful of rest than two handfuls of hard work and chasing after the wind”.
- Set sound priorities, and adopt a modest lifestyle. Consider simplifying your life, perhaps by reducing expenses or time spent at work.
3. INTERPERSONAL CONFLICTS
Conflicts with others, especially in the workplace, can be very stressful. If you experience such difficulties, you have a number of options that might help.
- When someone upsets you, try to stay calm. Do not add fuel to the fire.
- Try to settle differences privately and respectfully, thus dignifying the other person.
- Try to gain insight into his or her feelings and viewpoint. Such insight “slows down [our] anger” because it puts us in the other person’s shoes. It can also help us to see ourselves through the other person’s eyes.
- Try to forgive. Forgiveness is not only beautiful. It is also good medicine. As reported in a 2001 study, “unforgiving thoughts” resulted in “significantly higher” blood pressure and heart rate, whereas a forgiving attitude reduced stress.
Nieng, who lives in Cambodia, suffered a string of tragedies. In 1974, she was injured when a bomb exploded at an airport. The following year, her two children, her mother, and her husband all died. In the year 2000, her home and other belongings were destroyed by fire, and three years later, her second husband died. At that point, she wanted to end her life.
Yet, Nieng found a way to cope. she realized that she, in turn, devoted time to helping others enjoy the same benefits. Her story calls to mind a 2008 study by British researchers. One way to develop “resilience in the face of stress,” they found, was to “give in some way . . . to others” — advice that has long been shared in different cultures.
A genuine hope and the wisdom to cope with life’s many stresses are both priceless, stay tune for more FACT-O-MATIC sweet inspirations from our Team OSI. :)
the OSI Team