Stress: Friend or Foe?

Stress is the body’s reaction to an event that is more than a person thinks they can handle.

Understanding the causes of stress is the first step to stress management. Causes of stress can include both positive events and negative events. A person might categorize getting married, buying a house, or getting a new job as a positive event that causes stress. For the most part, negative events are more stressful and can negatively impact a person life. If the cause of stress is unknown, one suggestion would be to start a stress journal. A stress journal is a notebook where you write down when you are stressed, what cause the stress, and how you reacted to the stress.

Stress can be useful; by allowing a person to react quickly or work harder, but overtime too much stress can lead to serious health problems. Doctors have linked stress to headaches, stomach problems, back pain, and trouble sleeping. It is also known to weaken a person’s immune system.

In this fast-pace lifestyle, stress is a normal occurrence; therefore, stress management is extremely important. There are multiple ways to cope with stress. Everyone handles and copes with stress differently. One way may be right for one person and not with another.

Ways to cope with stress:

  • Exercise
  • Write your feelings down
  • Learn time management
  • Learn a new hobby
  • Relaxation (yoga, tai chi, meditation, massage, aromatherapy)
  • Talk to someone (professional, friend, family member)
  • Focus on the present

References:

Mayo Clinic. (2011, March 19). Stress Basics. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-management/MY00435

WebMD. (2009, October 14). Stress Management: Topic Overview. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-management-topic-overview

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6 thoughts on “Stress: Friend or Foe?

  1. Positive stressors is something I always forget about. The consequences of both positive and negative stressors tend to be the same in the short-term and long-term. The responses to a stressor are usually not good, so it is easy to forget that this comes from positive life events as well, such as marriage or a new job. I am at the age that I see this all the time. My friends and siblings all seem to be finishing up degrees, getting married, having babies, buying houses, getting new jobs, moving to other states, and/or going back to school. Most of the people I know are even experiencing multiple items of these positive life events at the same time. We have to remember that our body’s responses to these items is that of a stress-response. It is difficult to see these items as “stressors”, simply because they are all good things, even though they make us incredibly busy! Thanks for the great post/reminder!

  2. I have never really think about positive stress as well. Now thinking back on times in my life where I was stressed by positive things, my ways of coping with negative stress probably would have helped. When I have a negative stress in my life, I have always found it easy to go out for a run. Not only does it make me physically feel better, but it also gives me a chance to clear my head. Practicing yoga is another great stress coping strategy. Good post! Thanks for the other coping strategies as well! 🙂

  3. I have always thought that I deal with stress very well and I believe I can contribute my success to working out. I try to exercise at least five days a week and often enough I am too tired from my workouts to stress out about something. I work out hard enough where my mind and body are tired to the point where I am almost stress free. When I work out, I am focusing on my routine and not a stressful subject so I am able to keep my mind clear and worry free. I for one can say that if someone is under a lot of stress working out is the cure for you.

  4. Stress has been a major problem in my life. A lot of my stress leads to anxieties that I cannot always defend myself against. Like Jwilso15 I work out at least five times a week, and sometimes twice a day if I run in the morning. It helps me deal with stress only a tiny bit.
    I do find that creating list and writing things down helps me reduce stress, because it makes it simple. When I write down what stresses me out I write why it stresses me out. I write what could happen if I do not accomplish this stressor. What is the worst that can happen? after writing out my thought processes I soon realize what is stressing me out is usually not worth it. It would be nice to train my brain to deal with stress better, but it effects everyone differently and i got the short end of the stick.
    Positive stress I believe can be worse then negative stress , because most positive stress is caused by life altering decisions. Positive stress is only positive so long. It changes , because it will always be there. Like deciding to buy a house or who to marry are the two most important things a person can accomplish. These stressors can start out positive, but lead to negative stress very quickly.

  5. Great stress management tips! That is actually the first time I have heard of a stress journal to find the cause of it, but I have tried a form of meditation where it is basically like taking a 10 to 30 minute break where you focus your mind in a peaceful setting. Nonetheless, I am personally not very good at handling stress, but I think it is also largely due to the environment we live in (such as demands from our jobs or family), the type of lifestyle we are accustomed to (like having luxuries or conveniences, such as a car, computer, mobile phone), and how we expect to live up to that type of lifestyle. The shortcomings of these expectations probably account for many causes of stress.

  6. Pingback: Stressed About Money? 8 Better Ways to Manage Financial Stress | Allied California

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