Don’t Let Stress Be the Boss of You

Don’t Let Stress Be the Boss of You large

Are you queen over your stress, or does stress rule over you? Your answer may shed light on your overall physical and emotional well-being.

We all have varying tolerance levels for stress. What stresses one person can roll off the shoulders of another. Fear not. There’s hope if you’re a Nervous Nellie.

Why Does Stress Happen?

Stress is often defined as a feeling of being “out of control.” Most of us can recognize stress when it’s obvious, such as the body’s reaction to too much to do, excessive worry over money or illness, or emotional trauma over a death or job loss.

The next time you feel stressed, stop and think about what will help you move through it in the healthiest way possible.

It’s the more subtle stressors of everyday life that tend to run us down physically and mentally. Our bodies respond to stress by increasing blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism and blood flow to the muscles.

Some stress is actually good. It can help you energize for an exam, work deadline or event. Stress becomes harmful when it builds up and causes health problems ranging from minor aches and pains to more serious issues.

Stress Proof Your Life

The first step in managing stress is recognizing the signs. Tuning in to your stress early will help reduce its negative effects on your physical and emotional health. Once you’re aware of your stress, be proactive.

Take Stock. Slow down and think about what might be causing your stress. What can you fix? What do you need to accept? Get to know your triggers. Does a bad morning in traffic get you worked up for the rest of the day? As you face what’s stressing you, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Don’t Let Stress Be the Boss of You smallAm I taking on too much? Do I need help?
  • Am I overreacting?
  • Am I trying to do things too perfectly?
  • Am I expecting too much from others?
  • Do I need to say “no” more often?

Take a Break. Have you ever walked away from a situation and returned to discover it wasn’t as big as it initially felt? It’s good to take time-outs occasionally to reset your frame of mind. Giving your body a time-out can be helpful as well. Muscle tension is a common response to stress. Try these quick and easy exercises to loosen up and get relief.

Take Care of Your Body. Avoid unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, smoking, drinking alcohol, using drugs and sleeping too much or not enough. Eating right, getting enough sleep and exercising will help keep you strong during stressful times. A healthy lifestyle can preserve your energy and restore joy in your life.

Take Time to Talk it Out. Talking about what’s stressing you can help you work through a stressful time. A friend or spouse can provide a listening ear and sounding board. Sometimes, it’s helpful to seek a spiritual advisor, your doctor or a counselor if stress begins to take over.

Ultimately, we cannot avoid stress. It’s a normal and natural part of life. We can, however, manage our response to stress and in some cases, even prevent it.

The next time you feel stressed, stop and think about what will help you move through it in the healthiest way possible. Then refocus and reclaim your day.

Small Steps: Trim Your List
Reduce holiday stress by eliminating one holiday task you don’t really like doing anyway.