STRESS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?

The holidays are gone and the speed of daily life is suffocating. Work, children, every kind of task in existence is surrounding you, your days are overwhelming and you barely have time to breath. Couple that with a few “surprises” here and there and you will know the true meaning hell on your nervous system.

The day has barely just begun and you’re already running, the annoying sound of the alarm clock forcing you out of bed, despite a sleepless night, the entire family needing to be ready in time, you leaving the children at school and going to work, hitting traffic, being late, all while having an unbearable boss… Does this description fit your morning routine? If so, you will probably have some issues with excessive stress.

The boogie man of modern society is, in fact, merely a response from your body when it is faced with some particular demands. And if you think this only ever happens in unpleasant situations, you’re totally wrong. Some wonderful situations may be a source of stress and anxiety as well. Does that means that you’re condemned to suffer? No, not by a long shot.

Each person has his or her own way of reacting to a specific situation, according to their perspective and life experiences. What terrified us when we were but children may in fact seem almost ridiculous now, while other things may become more difficult throughout the years.

This happens due to the aging and maturation of your brain and your evaluation, at any given point, of the different events. Each event will be evaluated by us as irrelevant (stressless), a positive event (in which the stress response may or not occur), or a dangerous or threatening event (most likely a stress catalyst). Any given event, as stated earlier, can be evaluated differently accordingly to the moment or situation.

So, it’s important to recognize the factors that worsen stress overall. They are irritability, ruminative thought, which means constantly dwelling on the same thoughts or situations and reliving it over and over again without any logical or practical reason, social isolation, low self-esteem and, of course, a debilitated physical or psychological state.

All these factors can be quite normal in our day-to-day and very often there’s nothing you can do to avoid them. That’s why you should focus your attention on stuff that can help protect your body.

A very efficient way of fighting stress is knowing that you’re giving your best in each situation. Your efforts and their resulting performance will help you control the anxiety that something might cause as well as help you develop the ability to challenge yourself and consequently raise your self-confidence. This will allow you to face other complex situations in the future and control the stress they could otherwise bring about. It’s essential to identify the causes of your stress so you can face them properly.

Knowing yourself, the way you work, the way you react and how you should face stressful situations will allow you act on them in a more efficient and objective way, teaching you how to better manage your stress.

Some advices for better or more efficient stress management:

Reduce the number of stressful factors. You should reduce the number of stressful situations you need to deal with at a given time. Learn to define the importance of each situation and focusing in most important ones first.

Carefully evaluate the stressor elements. Is that meeting really so important? Possibly, carefully analyzed, some situations are not as critical as they might seem at first glance. So, you should take some time to think about that specific situation which makes you feel stressed and you’ll learn that, most of the time, you can just relax a little.

Find proper strategies to deal with stress. This point depends on each person, as each one of us should find the most adequate strategies for our specific case. These strategies may require some social support. You should learn how to manage the time available for each task, try and live a healthy life, participate in meditation sessions as a way to relax, train your assertiveness, cognitively control your anxiety levels and, of course, in order to achieve these goals, a professional help can make all the difference in helping you avoid this, which is now dubbed as the epidemic of our century.

Ki Magazine – No. 14

November 2014