No two people are affected in exactly the same way, or to the same degree, but most people living in our highly industrialized society suffer from its effects at one or more times during their lives.
Symptoms range from mind headaches, occasional bouts of insomnia, overall restlessness, digestive problems, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
SELECTED LIFE EVENTS THAT CAN BRING ON STRESS:
Death of Spouse.
Examples that can cause work related stress are trying to get too much work done in too little time, cutting corners or otherwise taking chances that may put you, or someone else at risk, and trying to get along with superiors and co-workers.
Everybody has days when there simply seems there’s too much work to get done. Trying to get everything done by yourself can bring on stress. Some people try and deal with the pressure by delegating certain jobs to others.
If you can unburden yourself and not worry about when and how the work gets done, if you can put full faith and trust in co-workers or subordinates it can be an effective escape valve. Trouble is, most people can’t let go.
If you have the type of personality that demands to know how things are going, chances are you’re only increasing the pressure and stress on yourself by constantly worrying if the work is getting done or not.
To lessen stress you must either learn to trust others to get the job done, or prioritize jobs to get rid of “what must be done” first. Many people tend to “put off” the difficult jobs they hate to do until the last possible minute.
Of course, this only makes it all the more difficult and stressful when you finally get around to doing what you should have done earlier.
When you feel the “walls closing in on you” if possible, take a break. Many people in trying to relax actually kick their bodies into overdrive by using their break time to either get a nicotine or caffeine fix.
Instead of calming you down, both substances being stimulants speed up your body processes. You may think you’re relaxing, but your blood pressure and heart are working harder.
Instead of coffee or cigarettes try a brief chat with friends, a short leisurely walk, even just looking out the window for a few minutes. Never take breaks, or eat lunch at your work station.
The point of a break is to get away from whatever work you’re doing. You can’t get your mind off your work if you’re chained to your work area.
Getting along with your co-workers and the boss can be more than a sore point. It can be something you learn to put up with, or it can turn into a festering wound that only gets worse with time.
If you’re having problems, get them out in the open. Most managers today at least have some training in dealing with personal problems.
If you can’t clear the air or have tried using all the company procedures to resolve a grievance, and you no longer enjoy your job, hate to go to work in the morning, or feel that the pressure is getting to be too much, it may be time to seriously consider a change.
STRESS AWAY FROM WORK
Anyone who’s ever been stuck in a major traffic jam probably has seen the darker side of many people’s personalities.
It seems everyone is always in a hurry to either get, or go somewhere, and never seem to allow enough time for the everyday problems that are bound to crop up from time to time.
Banging on the steering wheel, laying on the horn, giving someone the “finger,” or shooting a string of obscenities is only reacting to something that has already happened.
You can’t make the guy in front of you go any faster, or prevent someone from cutting you off.
Accidents, road repairs, and just plain heavy traffic happens. Learn to deal with it or don’t drive. If you must, at least change your route from time to time.
Always allow plenty of time, and try and make all trips as pleasant as possible. You may not realize it, but how you act on your way to work, or on your way home will have either a positive or negative impact.
Accept the fact that it’s something you just have to get through so you may as well try and make the best of it.
Most people are smart enough to know that they should set some time aside to take it easy.
If you participate in some sports activity, remember you’re doing it to relax! While many people naturally have their competitive nature come to the surface when engaging athletics, don’t lose sight of the fact you’re participating to have fun.
Don’t get bent out of shape if you don’t always win or otherwise play up to par. The whole point is to enjoy yourself and forget your everyday worries. Treat it as a night out with the “boys,” or gals and relax!
Families can be as source of support, an oasis away from the everyday pressures or sometimes it’s only a place to grab a few hours sleep and get back in the rat race. Your children, spouse, family members, in-laws can be a source of irritation at times.
If someone is constantly doing something that really “bugs you,” tell the offending person or persons and see if things can be straightened out before things get out of control.
A man’s home (a woman’s too) should indeed be a place to rest and relax. Many people find it helpful unwind by sharing the day’s events with their loved ones.
It should not develop into a daily routine, nor should you give a detailed blow by blow recap of the day’s events, but when things go wrong, who better to talk to than your family?
Holding things back, keeping it inside yourself, almost always does more harm than good and can affect not only your well-being but everyone else in your family as well.
Talking things over is a great way to get rid of built up stress that many people overlook.
You should also be a good listener. Don’t unload your problems and have no time for your mate’s or children’s problems.
They may seem trivial to you, but they are real problems that need solving just like yours.
A great way to get rid of stress is, every once in a while, do something totally different and unexpected without any prior planning.
Don’t fall into a trap when you must do such and such thing a certain way, or at specific time or place.
If you always put on a blue suit on Thursday, or go to an Italian restaurant on Tuesday, break the habit every once in a while. Even doing things you like can become stressful if you’re stuck in the same old rut week after boring week.
Stress can best be managed by realizing what you can change about your life and knowing what you can’t.
Learn how to recognize the difference and you’ll enjoy life more and be better able to deal the ups and downs that are part of everyone’s life.
Learn How to Relax.
The following exercise will introduce you to deep relaxation. It will help create a refreshed and peaceful feeling for the body and mind. Try to do this especially upon arising and before retiring.
1. Lie flat of your back, placing the feet about 18 inches apart. The hands should rest slightly away from the trunk, with the palms up.
2. Close your eyes and gently move all the parts of the body to give a general feeling of relaxation.
3. Start relaxing the body by part. First think of the right leg. Inhale and raise the leg about one foot off the floor. Hold it fully tensed.
After five seconds, exhale quickly and relax the muscles of the right leg, allowing it to fall to the floor on its own. Shake the leg gently from right to left, relax it fully and forget about the existence of this leg.
4. Repeat this process with the left leg, and then with both hands one at a time.
5. Then bring the mind to the muscles of the pelvis, buttocks and anus. Tense them and relax. Once again, tense them and relax.
Next, think of the abdomen. Inhale deeply through the nose and bloat the abdomen.
Hold your breath for five seconds and suddenly let the air burst out through the mouth, at the same time relaxing all the muscles of the abdomen and diaphragm.
6. Move on to the chest region. Inhale deeply through the nose, bloating the chest. Hold your breath for five seconds and suddenly let the air out through the mouth while relaxing all the muscle of the chest and diaphragm.
7. Move on to the shoulders. Without moving the forearm off the flow, try to make the shoulders meet in front of the body. Then relax and let them drop to the floor.
8. Slowly, gently, turn the neck right and left, right and left then back to center, mentally relaxing the neck muscles.
9. Now coming to facial muscles, move the jaw up and down, left and right, a few times then relax. Squeeze the lips together in a pout, then relax.
Suck in the cheek muscles, then relax. Tense the tip of the nose, then relax. Wrinkle the forehead muscles, then relax.
10. Now you have relaxed all the muscles of the body. To make sure of this, allow your mind to wander over your entire body, from the tips of the toes to the head, searching for any spots of tension.
If you come across any, concentrate upon this part and it will relax. If you do this mentally, without moving any muscle, you will notice that the part concerned obeys your command.
This is complete relaxation. Even your mind is at rest now. Observe your thoughts without trying to take your mind anywhere.
Remain in this condition at least five minutes. When you decide to wake from this conscious sleep, do so quite slowly. Imagine that fresh energy is gently entering each part of your body from the head down to the toes.
Then slowly sit up. This exercise helps create a refreshed and peaceful feeling for the body and mind.
Tension: Ten Easy Ways to Handle It.
Pray and meditate.
Sing or listen to music.
Laugh and use humor.
Hug someone. Itll remind you youre not alone.
Get together regularly with your friends and family.
Play a noncompetitive game or go swimming.
Take a hot bath. Heat relaxes your muscles and causes stress to decrease.
Take a brief rest during the day.
Get away for a while.
Spend money without overdoing it.
1. Inhale deeply through your nose, then purse your lips and exhale slowly through your mouth while letting out an audible sigh. Do this ten times, visualizing your troubles blowing away with each breath.
2. Lower your chin to your chest. Slowly rotate your head up the right shoulder and continue around and down the left shoulder in a complete wide and easy circle. Do this five times.
Then straighten up, and shrug and wiggle your shoulders. Then do five more head rolls in the reverse direction.
3. While seated, take your shoes off and roll a walnut or golf ball under your foot, including heels and toes, for one minute. Then repeat the exercise with the other foot.
4. Sit down, close your eyes, relax and slowly rotate your shoulders forward, up-ward, backward and downwards. Do five complete rotations one way and five the other way.
5. Sit down and let your chin slump to your chest. Close your eyes and picture the most beautiful sunset youve ever seen.
Then massage your temples and the corners of your jawbone under each earlobe. Use the tips of your fingers to tap rapidly and gently all over your head and the back of your neck. This entire exercise should take about five minutes.
6. Sit with your elbows propped on a table. Slowly rotate your wrists while keeping your hands limp. Do this five times in one direction, five times in the other.
Then get up and shake your hands as if you were shaking water from them. Imagine you are shaking off whatever has been causing you to feel stressed.
7. Put your arms at your side and shake your hands vigorously. Bend your elbows, bring up hands up to shoulder height and shake your hands once more.
Make a tight fist with each hand and hold for a minute or two. Now, extend your fingers into a wide span. Relax, and repeat the exercise about five times.
8. Rub your palms together briskly until they feel warm. Then quickly cup the palms of your hands over both eyes. Close your eyes and breathe deeply and quietly.
Imagine the sound of your breath as a light wind rustling through the trees. When you feel completely relaxed, you can stop.
9. Slap your whole body with warm water for a few minutes.
10. Get into a warm bath, lean back, relax and breathe very deeply.
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