Stress is a natural phenomenon that occurs when our well-being is faced with challenges that seem to exceed our coping resources and/or abilities. Stress can be physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. When occurrences of life are thrown at us, or when too much has been put on our plate, we tend to become “stressed out”. Stress is a very common experience that affects all people; its form, intensity, longevity, and the specific affect it has on a person comes in much variation, but one thing for sure is that we all get stressed. And believe it or not, stress is actually good for you.
This fact about stress may lead one to wonder: “Why do I constantly feel stressed?” or “How come _______’s life doesn’t seem as stressful as mine” or “I’m so stressed out, no one knows what it’s like to feel like this”. The reality is that STRESS HAPPENS! And despite what you may think, everyone around you is experiencing some form of stress. Life isn’t about being “stress free” nor is it about “removing” stress; this idea in itself is an illusion. Our lives will always have stressors, and even when we get rid of one stressor there is typically another there to take its place. –Keep in mind I’m not strictly referring to the extreme cases of stress (i.e.: death, deep financial troubles, family issues), I am also referring to the lighter stressors (i.e.: annoying weather, bad hair days, deciding what to wear). — Therefore, we need to first get rid of the idea that we can live “stress free”. Life is simply about MANAGING YOUR STRESS.
I define stress management as: being capable of developing ways to deal with the stresses of life, not being overcome with the stresses of life, and being able to see past the current stressful situation. Stress will happen, but we do not have to let it handicap us.
The first part, developing ways to deal with stress, is what psychologists call coping mechanisms. It is a way in which we (humans) deal with things that affect (hinder, interfere, disrupt) our daily flow of action, aka: stress. Coping mechanisms allows us to work through, around, or above whatever may be stressing at the moment. They allow us to remain consistent in whatever we are doing despite the stressor.
The second part: not being overcome with the stresses of life. As previously mentioned, stress happens to EVERYONE, and although you may not be able to see your neighbors stress does not mean they are not going through it. It is important that you don’t allow yourself to become bogged down with your current stressful situation, what you are experiencing is common to all men (1Co10:13, speaks about temptation but can be applied to stress). The mere fact that you are not stressing alone should encourage you to continue moving forward. Despite what you are stressing over, keep in mind that it could always be worse. God will never place more on us than what we can bear, and if He brings us to it He will bring us through it.
Lastly, seeing past the current stressful situation; this part is so important yet is often forgotten when we are facing stress. Being able to understand that “this too shall pass” is a lot easier said than done, but when we are able to effectively grasp this concept while we’re stressing, it makes the stressful situation seem so much easier. One way of mastering this concept is to think about all the previous stressful events you may have experienced that are no longer relevant. Being able to say “I remember when…” gives us hope, power, and encouragement to believe that the present time will soon be a memory.
If you’re a practical person like me, you’re probably reading this thinking: “This is a nice piece and all, but how is it really going to help me manage my stress”. I personally know how hard it is to read a piece of literature about something I need to focus on and it always seems that the writer can give you all the facts, opinions, and inspiration but they fail at giving you the tools to carry it out. Therefore, below is a list of techniques that I have realized help me in managing my stress more effectively. Keep in mind, it is not a cure all-be all, nor is it proven to be effective for all people. However, it does work for me and it has the potential to work for you as well. They are not in any particular order, and I tend to use some more than others depending on the specific situation.
- Write a list (of things you have to do, want to do, or simply things that are on your mind in order to help you think more clearly)
- Listen to music
- Prioritize –organize all that is stressing you out in order of importance, intensity, or time you have to complete it
- Focus on one thing at a time –don’t try to do a million things at once, handle 1st things 1st
- Do only what you can –don’t over extend yourself or make promises/commitments you may not be able to keep/meet
- Take it easy –stressing WILL NOT make anything be better or happen faster
- Don’t beat yourself up about it –remember, STRESS HAPPENS
- Pray, and read scripture– ask Him for clarity, peace of mind, and balance
- Give it to God, believe that its already handled.
by Edie King, BA
Posted on January 23, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged Accountability, Coach Edie, Coaching, Life Coach, Management, Overcoming, Past, Stress, Stress Management. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.