Some say that stress has or soon will reach epidemic levels.
Hardly a day goes by where stress is not highlighted in one way or another. The reality is, stress will play a part in your life from childhood right through to old age. The cause of your stress may appear in the form of a financial loss, ill health, relationship break-up, conflict with another person, death of a loved one...and unfortunately the list goes on. Stress is not something that was made up in the 21st century. Imagine the stress cave dwellers had each day just to survive! Although in today's world stress is now recognised and more apparent.
So, how is stress created? Stress is created through tension when an individual responds to the demands and pressures that come from external sources such as other people and the environment. These are compounded when combined with internally generated sources such as personal demands, obligations, and belief systems. Stress can build up over a period of time until a state of crisis is reached and symptoms appear. The symptoms may appear in the form of physical and/or emotional and/or behavioural.
However, stress does not have to be viewed as a negative thing. In fact, it can be a positive influence in your life by providing motivation to succeed, identifying areas to grow, strengthening your character, and developing you to handle difficult situations. I'm sure you could identify plenty more!
This is all great, but what can you do to combat and take control of stress in your life? Well, here are just a few of the many ideas that you could use to help conquer your personal battle with stress.
- Break everything down into bite size chunks. This makes whatever you are doing easier to digest, achieve and enjoy, which then results in many smaller successes to celebrate along the way.
- Response to stress in a proactive and constructive way. Many people believe they have no control over the impact that stress plays in their life. The good news is - they are wrong. The one word that sums up how you have control is...choice. It is how you as an individual choose to respond to a stressor that ultimately determines the level of impact that the stress will play. You can either choose to respond in a proactive way, which will have a constructive impact or you can respond in a reactive way, which will have a destructive impact. The next time you are face with a stressful situation, which approach will you choose?
- Develop and strengthen your life coping skills. During our magnificent journey, it is inevitable that we will come up against life's hurdles. With the more life coping skills that you acquire through knowledge and experiences, results in life's hurdles becoming easier to get over. So don't be afraid of life's hurdles, face them head on and learn from each experience.
- Always take positive action. Never ignore the reality of your situation. Take control by taking positive action. Things always get better when you keep working on them.
- Last but definitely not least. Don't take life too seriously or make it into one big continuous drama. Each day remind yourself of the saying, "Growing old is inevitable, however, growing up is optional". Go out and have some fun and enjoy life to its fullest. You never know, stress may just start to take a backseat in your life!