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Beat Stress in 3 Easy Steps

Stress may be an unavoidable human reaction, but trying to cope by avoidance, excessive worry, or indulging in bad habits can do more harm than good. So, the question becomes, "How can we manage stress in a more positive and productive way?"

Limit the nonsense

Learn to say "no" nicely, when needed, on both a personal and professional level. Taking on too much work can lead to stress overload and leaving you feeling irritable and fatigued. Take a break as a way to recharge your battery, so that you can perform better and with a happier state of mind. If your worried that things will not get done, ask for a helping hand or divvy up responsibilities. Some people may become so fearful of a stressful situation or person that they do everything in their power to avoid it. If this behavior continues, it can lead to isolation and many missed opportunities in life. Worse, some people may use drinking or drugs to compensate for their grief or negative emotions. This leads to a dangerous path with a terrible outcome. If necessary, seek out a friend or coach to confide in, so they can act as a sounding board for you. Develop the steps you need to build confidence and break down the walls you have created, so you can find true happiness and freedom.

Avoid being disorganized or too meticulous. Life requires balance in an effort to feel comfortable and calm. Spending hours looking through piles of clothing, paperwork, etc. not only wastes time and energy, but also aggravates you. In this case, create a realistic schedule that lists tasks by importance first, date due, and the time needed to accomplish it. Make adjustments as life changes happen and stay committed to the plan you create. Likewise, over-organizing can create intense stress and pressure. Feeling the need to have "everything perfect and in place" is not only unrealistic, but also unattainable. This creates a cycle of repetitive behaviors that though may seem productive is, in actuality, counterproductive. Try taking a break from organizing for an hour or two so that you can reevaluate, with a fresh eye and mind. It may surprise you that everything you already did is perfectly functional.

Check Your Behavior, Lady

Now that you have left the situation causing you grief, it's wise to look inward. Ask yourself, "Did I respond well and remain in control?", "Did I allow the stressor/s to cause me anguish for a day or much longer than I wanted?" It's this self-reflection that allows you to identity, more calmly, what moves you made and how to change your game plan for the future. If it helps, write it down in a journal so that you can better identify your specific triggers. Add in how you responded, what you would change next time, and then give yourself a score on your future performance. You might just shock yourself!

What happens in your mind transcends to your body, so take notice of your behavior from your head to your toes. When we find ourselves in a stressful event, it sets our body into a fight or flight response. This occurs in response to a perceived threat, no matter how large or small. Take a moment and listen to how your body responds. Do your muscles feel tight? Are you clenching your jaw? Do you notice breakouts on your skin? These physical responses indicate changes in your nervous and other systems. If they persist long term, they can cause great harm to the overall health of your body. Take time to stretch out tight muscles, practice deep breathing, meditate to diffuse tension and worry, or just engage in an activity you enjoy. If nothing else, surround yourself with people who love and support you. Keep in mind good friends and family shouldn't put you down or compete with you. Know your limits on what is acceptable and what is not. Your journey is about what YOUR needs are above anything else. Celebrate life while you can, because the "little stuff" is really insignificant in the end.

Forgive the unchangeable and change the rest

It's not easy to make peace with those things and people that drive you crazy, but you can't change everything. We know we can't change things like taxes, aging, and yes even hormone imbalances, but yet we still try. I'll give you an A for effort, but you might still flunk life's test. Instead of fighting those things you can't control, try working with them. Life is all about adjustments, adjustments, and adjustments. Today's world offers a lot of ways to change your appearance, manage stress, get proper sleep, increase chances of fertility, etc. But, nothing is 100% certain. First consider all the risks, read reviews, ask for feedback... take your time. The most successful people in life adjust their view constantly to make sure what they are doing is working well for them. You wouldn't want to keep all your money in a failing stock, would you? If you feel overwhelmed, set a small goal to start and build upon it. In time, you can set multiple goals at one time. If you get overwhelmed revise your strategy or seek a coach to assist you. Change what you can and let the rest go.

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