Stress is a process, not a diagnosis. Stress is experienced when there is an imbalance between the demands being made on us and our resources to cope with those demands. The level and extent of stress a person may feel depends a great deal on their attitude to a particular situation. An event which may be extremely stressful for one person can be a mere hiccup in another person’s life.
I don’t believe that a stress-free life is possible. Stress is a response to challenges in life, and a life without challenges is too boring to contemplate. By careful editing of your life, and changing certain habits, you can eliminate most (not all) sources of stress in your life.
The old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ is certainly true for stress management. It will help if you:
Exercise regularly – regular exercise is a great way to manage stress. You should do some form of exercise that causes you to feel puffed afterwards – a leisurely stroll to the bus stop is not enough! Have at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week.
Avoid conflict – avoid situations that make you feel stressed as much as you can. Avoid unnecessary arguments and conflict if you find them stressful (although ignoring a problem is not always the best way to reduce stress). Assertiveness is fine but becoming distressed is not.
Relax – make sure you give yourself some time to relax each day and try to spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself.
Eat well – a nutritious diet is important. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid sweet and fatty foods.
Sleep – a good sleep routine is essential, so do something calm and relaxing before you go to bed like listening to music or reading if you have difficulty falling asleep.
Smiling reduces stress – studies have shown that smiling affects emotion, and that positive emotions have an effect on stress. Researchers from University of Kansas, USA suggests that holding a smile on one’s face during periods of stress may help the heart also.
Enjoy your life – it’s important to make time to have some fun and to get a balance in your life.