Staying in Control

Ivette J. Russo MS in Clinical Psychology

Stress is an emotional response to the demands of life.  It is the pressure we feel to meet a deadline, write a report, keep to a schedule, to expect others to keep their commitments, or to raise caring children in a seemingly hostile world.  It is estimated that 75% – 90% of all illnesses are stress-related.  Getting a handle on stress can, for a lot of us, mean a healthier and longer life.  Not all stress is bad.  Actually, there is some stress that’s good.  Good stress activates us to use our personal power in positive ways to meet our needs, desires, and wants.  The kind of stress that is bad is called distress, or stress that drains us physically, emotionally, and socially.  The most important aspect of stress is the ability to handle it.  Since most stress is self-induced, the ability to handle it rests primarily with each person.

The following are some strategies that are proven in reducing stress.

  1. Get regular exercise.  Exercise increases our strength and stamina.
  2. Improve your diet.  Stress and diet are closely linked.  Balance is key.
  3. Learn to listen to your body.  Minimize the wear and tear on your body by listening to its messages.  If your feeling fatigued, the message your body is sending you is to “relax.”
  4. Adequate sleep.  Everyone’s body is different.  Learn to listen to your body and find out what hours are enough to feel well rested.  For some, naps during the day make a big difference when they are not able to sleep at night.
  5. Develop Hobbies.
  6. A sense of humor goes a long way.

Mental Approaches to dealing with stress.

  1. Increase self-worth.  Replace negative self-labels (I’m no good) with positive self-labels (I can succeed).
  2. Set realistic expectations.
  3. Keep a positive outlook.  Use the acronym PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) to remind yourself.
  4. Improve communication skills.  Use problem solving, negotiation, and compromise.
  5. Leave work at work.  People need to get away from work and leave it behind.

Get organized.  Make lists of things that need to get done, evaluate what’s really important, VALUE FREE TIME

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