Stress Management Strategies
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is an internal reaction to events and circumstances that challenge us to make changes in our lives. There are both external and internal causes of stress.
- Getting diagnosed with a serious illness
- Failing a test
- Having a baby
- Sleeping through the alarm clock
- Losing a job
- Being in an automobile accident
- Being late for class
- Having a fight with your boyfriend/girlfriend
- Physical changes that occur in the body
- Being in poor physical shape
- Worrying excessively
- Thinking negatively
- Setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves/others
WHAT DOES STRESS DO TO US?
When we are stressed, our body responds in certain way called the Stress Response. The Stress Response includes the following bodily reactions:
- Muscle tension
- Increase in heart rate
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Increase in blood pressure
- Cold and/or clammy hands and feet
- Queasy stomach
- Feeling fidgety
When we experience a number of internal and/or external stressors over a period of time (i.e., weeks, months, years), there is a negative impact on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. As a result, people frequently turn to ineffective and, usually, self-destructive behaviors to try to cope. Fortunately, there are numerous healthy strategies and techniques available to cope with stress effectively.
INEFFECTIVE COPING STRATEGIES
- Consuming too much alcohol
- Taking excessive drugs (legal and illegal)
- Acting out behavior (including physical aggression)
- Quitting jobs, relationships, etc.
- Excessive worrying
- Denying that a problem exists