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Stress Management

"Stress". Such a wonderful concept, isn't it? Yech! Who needs it? Especially when so much is already going on in our lives, who needs yet another thing? Actually, we do. I believe that stress is unavoidable, that it is a feedback system on our decisions or circumstances, and we would do good to learn to listen to it. I need a small amount of stress to keep me going in my responsibilities, because I am inherently lazy. I love just being, and would gladly stop doing from time to time. So, the stress reminds me of my responsibilities and the consequences of not meeting them. It motivates me to action! For some people, the only reason they meet deadlines at work is because of the stress, or pressure of the consequences of failing!

"Management". Such a awful term. How about stress elimination? or stress reduction? or stress control or destruction? Wait, I got it ... let's try ... "termination"! Imagine someone running around, looking like a big muscular actor named Arnold calling himself the "Stress Terminator". I can here him now, "I'll be back!". No, management is the right word, again for several reasons. One I have already mentioned, and that is that you and I will always have some stress in our lives, and that it is good for us. We want to optimize the positive things that stress can do for us, not just minimize the negative things stress can do to us.

Learning to live with the stress we can not reduce, reducing the stress we can and knowing the difference. (For the complete serenity prayer, with your name in it, click here.)

Time out! If you just want to relieve some stress:

Hence "Stress Management". Developing the ability to do the following:

  • Recognize symptoms of stress in yourself and others,
  • Identify sources of stress in your life,
  • Recognize the need for self-control when under stress,
  • Discuss techniques and strategies for managing stress.
  • Bottom line: getting the most out of the stress in your life (or is it getting most of the stress out of your life?)

Some key things to learn about stress are that:

  • Stress is a body's physical, mental and chemical reaction to circumstances that frighten, confuse, excite, endanger or irritate it.
  • There are 3 main factors that determine differences in our optimal level of stress: physical health, emotional stability and past experiences.
  • Drugs / Alcohol / Sex / Food / Violence / Money / are all sometimes abused in efforts to manage stress, but are not effective as long-term stress-management tools.
  • Not all stress is bad. Many of us need a 'kick-in-the-back' to get us going in the right direction at times.
  • Self-awareness, setting goals and developing action plans are key steps in learning to deal with stress, and maximizing your benefit from stress.
  • Keys to dealing with stress is to understand yourself, your body and your reactions to stress.

To learn about three ways to deal with stress, click here.