Stress Relief through Proper Management
Becoming stress resistant and having freedom from stress
Article four of four in stress management series
by Art Martin Ph.D
In becoming stress resistant it may take some concentrated effort to review your basic response to stressors in your life. Many people have autopilot reactions to stressful situations. We have to be able to recognize when we take an action to avoid the stress issue that is facing us. To better understand your reaction to life’s stressors, consider your current coping behaviors:
- Do you tense up? Neck and shoulder muscle tension or clenched jaws or fists are often early warning signs of stress. Stress may cause an upset stomach, shortness of breath, back pain, headaches and other physical symptoms as well. Fibromyalegia is a good example of the result of not being able to deal with the issues in our life. When we stuff our anger or fear it shows up in our body.
- Do you reach for something to eat? Stress and overeating are often closely related. Stress may trigger you to eat even when you’re not hungry or to lose track of your meal and exercise plans.
- Do you get impatient? Perhaps you find yourself pacing the floor or twitching nervously. You might have trouble concentrating or falling asleep at night. All of these are signs of stress.
- Do you get angry? Stress leaves many people with a short fuse. When you’re under pressure, you may find yourself arguing with coworkers, friends or loved ones — sometimes with little provocation or about things that have nothing to do with what’s actually triggering your stress. This stress becomes locked into your body in many locations and can even lead to illness.
- Are you reduced to tears? Stress may trigger crying spells or other emotional releases.
- Do you give up? Sometimes stress may be too much to take. You might deny the issue, avoid the problem, call in sick or simply give up then procrastinate to avoid facing the issue.
- Do you let negative thoughts take over? When you’re under stress, perhaps you automatically expect the worst or magnify the negative aspects of a situation. Our perception of the situation will cause the issue to manifest in our life.
- Have you started to smoke again? Even if you quit smoking long ago, a cigarette may seem like an easy way to relax when you’re under pressure. And smoking is a double-edged sword. Aside from the obvious health risks of smoking, nicotine acts as a stimulant — triggering even more stress symptoms.
- Do you turn to alcohol or other drugs? Stress leads some people to drink too much or engage in other risky behaviors, including drug abuse which can lead to addiction.
- Do you rely on a single coping technique? Sometimes crying, expressing your anger or isolating yourself from a problem that you can’t possibly fix can serve as an effective stress management technique.
The same goes for exercising, confiding in friends or other healthy coping techniques. But in the long run, you may need new ways to handle stress, too. If you find yourself using one technique all the time or you see yourself engaging in unhealthy behaviors — it’s time to open yourself up to other stress reduction strategies and take the next step. Try tracking your reactions to stress over the next week by keeping a journal. Carry a small wire bound booklet to write down your reactions to a stimulus when you encounter an uncomfortable reaction. Jot down five to seven words that describe it so you can recall it that evening when you go over it to see how you handled it and evaluate how you can handle it next time this same issue comes up. When you go through this a few times the stressor will not affect you any longer. Once you identify how you cope with stressful situations, you can begin to think about alternative strategies. Consider it the first step on the path to positive stress management. Once you are able to recognize the issue as it comes up, you will change your reaction to a positive response. The changes won’t happen overnight, but new tools to cope with stress are within your reach.
- Stress: Win control over the stress in your life by taking action instead of putting it off.
- Stress management: Understand your sources of stress.
- Stress symptoms: Recognize the effects in your body, feelings and behavior.
- Stress and hair loss: Are they related? Yes they are and will cause your hair to turn gray.
- Take a Stress assessment. There are many stress assessment profiles you obtain.
- Chronic stress: will cause depression if it persists for a period of time.
- Normal stress vs. adjustment disorder: What’s the difference?
- Stress: Can cause weight gain because we shut down metabolism and other processing.
- Ulcers and stress: there is a connection because we create excess acid in our system.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can come from experiences you were exposed to.
- Adjustment disorders are caused by not being able to handle the situation at the time.
- Headaches: Are a way your mind can stop you from taking action on what you are avoiding.
- Blog: The food and mood connection. When we feel unloved, invalidated or rejected it will cause us to feel depressed so we will turn to food as it makes us feel good and we can reward ourselves to avoid the feelings we are experiencing. This may lead to diabetes.
The best way to address all the issues is to find the root and base cause where it began in your life. Almost always we can find the seeds of everything in the first eight years of your life. The way you were treated as child will reveal all the issues. They begin with one basic issue; your mother was not able to provide the eight qualities of unconditional love for you in the first two years of your life. “Your interpretation was she is refusing to give me love and recognition.” Your perception continued to show you that she was withholding love and acceptance from you. Since she would not give you love you decided you were not acceptable and she did not care about you. As you became upset and pushed to get mother to recognize your need she became irritated and upset too. You did not know at the time she could not provide love and acceptance because she did not know what it was. His reaction was that you were acting out and she had to control your behavior. She used the parenting program she was given by her mother which was authority, control, discipline and compliance. When you would not comply with her demands she then decided she had to discipline you. This convinced you that you were not acceptable to her. So you began rejecting yourself telling yourself you were not all right.
At this point you began setting in the seeds for stress which will sprout when you are an adult. By the time you are four years old you have set all the patterns in your life. If you were raised in a dysfunctional family, all the seeds for stress and conflict were planted in your childhood. If you were fortunate to come from a functional family these seeds were never planted. Stress is much less an issue for people who were raised in a functional family.
Dr. Art Martin has been working in the field of stress management, personal growth and transformation for thirty years. If stress, chronic fatigue, Fibromyalegia, relationship communication difficulties or any of the other stress related malfunctions are affecting you may want to check out websites for more information about our books and training programs. The StressBlocker is our Basic product to help with dealing with stress. There are documented testimonials on our website about how effective it is in controlling stress and depression. Go to StressBlocker.org.