Diseases

Stress Management

It may seem that there’s nothing you can do about your stress level. The bills aren’t going to stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day for all your errands, and your career or family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management.

Identify the sources of stress in your life

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.

To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:

* Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
* Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”).
* Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

* Smoking
* Drinking too much
* Overeating or undereating
* Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer
* Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
* Using pills or drugs to relax
* Sleeping too much
* Procrastinating
* Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
* Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)

Unhealthy ways of coping with stress

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