DEALING WITH EVERYDAY STRESS
Stress is a part of everyday life. There are days that you simply cannot avoid it. Each person experiences stress in fairly different ways, in varying levels. And each one deals with it differently from the conventional to the bizarre.
What is stress? According to medicinenet.com, “In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure)”.
Dealing with stress is stressful in itself. The key is to identify the stressors that you are strongly inclined to react to and then finding a positive and meaningful ways of managing the stress that works for you.
In a stressful situation, whether you are in the office, at home, inside the classroom, at the supermarket, or driving on the street, your attitude is paramount. You may not have any control on how others will behave or what other people will say but you have control on how you are going to respond. That’s right. Do not react; rather, try to respond. The difference between the two is huge and can make or break your day.
REACT VS. RESPOND
In an article entitled “Respond/React – A Mindful Difference” by Jon Mertz, the author has this to say:
“When people react, it seems to be defensive. We seem to be at a disadvantage. We are uncomfortable with what is being said or done, and we react. In our reactions, our emotions take a central role. The hair on our neck stands on end. We feel our stomach turn. Our face heats up and our defenses are on red alert”.
“There is a downside to reacting. We let emotions without reason drive us forward. We lose control. Reacting is sporadic and emotional”.
Jon Mertz also explained about responding:
“On the flip side is respond. There is still an external spur to our response. Responding, though, is more thoughtful. Responses contain reasoning…. The difference may be this: Responding is guided less by emotion and more by logic”.
A calculated response engages both parties to a civil, meaningful, and positive conversation that can spur us to grow, learn, and listen.
HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS
First of all, no one can drive you crazy without your own approval. Your choice of attitude will ultimately dictate how a simple misunderstanding can ruin your day. Similarly, by being calm and rational in the midst of a verbal argument can empower you to strike a positive dialogue and win a friend in the end.
Secondly, learn to accept that there are things in this life that you cannot change. By honestly accepting that reality, you are acting wisely and capably. Now accepting does not mean that you are resigning your fate to what comes along, and altogether give up. It merely affirms the fact that since there is nothing you can do about it, it is more prudent to acknowledge it and plan how you can get through it or get around it. The most important thing is to find means on how to cope up and move on.
Thirdly, try to focus on gratitude. Instead of getting angry or getting frustrated or giving in to negativity, try to think of positive things that you are most grateful about. Your job, your loved ones, good health, and financial blessings are some of the reasons to be grateful. The flowers in bloom, your pet dog, a soft and warm bed, a hot and delicious meal at home, unexpected call from a long-lost friend, a beautiful sunset, and other mundane things in life may also help us find gratitude. By directing your thoughts and feelings on gratitude, you can undeniably change your attitude.
Finally, it’s absolutely essential to remember that you can control how stress affects you. Whether you will allow the stress to control you or you take matters into your own hand and control the stress, is entirely up to you. Stress may be unavoidable but how you deal with it is a choice.
“Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life”. Proverbs 4:23