Stress is something we live with every day; at home, at work, in the grocery store, be assured something will happen to cause your body to release the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. As a normal part of our physiology, stress is what helps our bodies maintain homeostasis, or balance, and in extreme cases, it can be life-saving (think fight-or-flight response). It can be problematic, however, when everyday life sends our systems into stress overload and affects our mental health.
So what can we do about it? There are two kinds of stress, short and long term. Running late for work, worrying about a test or a long wait in the grocery store with a crying infant in your basket are examples of causes of short-term stress.
Here are some ways to maintain a semblance of calm in short-term stress situations:
- Breathe slowly to reduce your heart rate.
- Mentally engage in self-talk to help calm and build confidence. "I can do this," or "It's almost over, hang in there."
- Find the humor, if you can. Laughter, like breathing, helps ease physical and emotional responses to stress.
Some other means for handling short-term stress are: chewing gum, considering those things you have to be grateful for, and one of my all-time favorites, let a catchy tune take a mental hold for a minute or two (great for public places!).
Long-term stress happens when things that cause short-term stress are allowed to continue without dealing with them and can take quite a toll on our physical and mental health if left unchecked.
To get control of long-term stress, try these:
- Start and keep a journal. Write down everything. You'd be amazed at the things that you'll learn about yourself. Reading back over what you have written may help to define those areas of your life that need changing.
- Get some rest. If you can't sleep, try to at least relax and meditate or listen to some relaxing music.
- Exercise. You don't have to do an hour workout at the gym—though that would be good—but a 30 minute walk each day will have the same effect on helping you release the tension.
- Talk to someone, a friend or relative who doesn't mind listening.
Diet and stress go hand-in-hand, so choosing healthy foods can go a long way toward helping to eliminate, or better manage stressful situations.
No matter what the cause, there are many ways we can help ourselves lead happier, stress-free lives. Contact Staffing Plus to make finding the perfect employee, stress free!
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