We live longer than our forefathers; but we suffer more from a thousand artificial anxieties and cares. They fatigued only the muscles; we exhaust the finer strength of the nerves. ~Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
Do you work long hours? Are your kids making your life miserable? Has your social life disappeared? Do you feel you do not have time even for yourself? Have you ever felt that you are losing total control of your life? Do you feel that the time at your hands is not enough to accomplish your tasks?
Dwell upon the above questions. Everything seems to be hard, tough and difficult. You feel like you have no time and you have loads to do. There are even times where 24 hours in a day seem insignificant and insufficient to us. Why do we feel all this? Is it positive? I really don’t think so. All of these are symptoms that each one of us is suffering from some level of stress in our everyday lives. Today we are going to see what we can try and do in order to manage stress.
In the present day and time, it is important for us to realize the important of stress management. It is important to recognize and realize when you are taking unnecessary stress and then should immediately work on to take those measures in order to manage it in the initial stage before you come to a point where your body is over taxed or you are on the verge of a total burn out.
Before we do tackle the subject, we need to know what stress really is. Stress can be loosely defined as ‘the way a particular individual’s body responds to a situation or demand’. There are many causes of stress but they can mainly be divided into ‘Physical Stress’ (for example a fear of some external dangers) or/and ‘Emotional Stress’ (concern about health, family, job etc).
Stress affects both your physical as well as your mental abilities. It can make you tired, sick and create mind blocks that hinder your normal functionality in day to day activities. At times the effects can be so adverse that they end up in mental breakdowns.
Important to note is that everyone has stress. The key is to remain positive and focus more on the positive aspects rather than taking stress and being negative all the time.
A regular stress management routine or practice makes sure that we are not negatively affected by it and that we may direct it into a positive direction where it makes us feel more relaxed and energized which keeps us happy in general.
In the following we will first see what the negative effects of stress are and the simple ways through which we can eliminate them from our lives followed by what the positive outcomes we can get by reducing these stress elements on our overall lives.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF STRESS
There are several and unending negative effects of stress. Taking unnecessary stress or by not managing it in the right way can lead to the following. Here we will see a few of them:
This is the most important factor as we all know that ‘Health is Wealth’. Stress can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, drastic weight gain or weight loss, headaches and migraines and make you more vulnerable to getting sick more often.
It can affect your mind and your emotional stability. One can have a depressive disorder which can lead to prolonged depression. One can have a loss of concentration and memory, have sudden mood swings and sleep deprivation.
Affect on General Life Routines
It affects your overall ability to function, to enjoy life, to accomplish goals, to develop and maintain relationships and to have an overall effective, efficient and content life.
HOW TO ELIMINATE AND MANAGE STRESS
There are several adjustments that you can make in your daily lives in order to manage and eliminate the stress you have. Taking care of these factors can play a major role and help in drastically reducing the levels of stress that you maintain leading to a much purposeful, conscious and fulfilling life. Let us take a look at some of them in the following:
Express your feelings
It is extremely important that you do not bottle up your thoughts and reactions. Express your feelings and react but be sure to do it in an appropriate way. This is way you don’t keep the feelings inside you and at the same time you have an outlet.
Be Willing to Compromise
This is the basic rule and concept of every kind of relationship you have on planet earth. You will not always get your way and therefore it is not sensible to try to do so. Be compromising with the other person or even situations that are arising. This is the only way to deal with situations that do not go your way instead of stressing about them.
This aspect can never be stressed enough. Always keep a track of the tasks you have to do and the time you need to do them in. Try to adjust them in a schedule and do the important things first. Keep the unimportant things to the last and do the things that are a priority first. Trying to too many things in too less time will naturally increase the stress levels and make you irritated and frustrated. Manage time sensibly.
Reframe problems & be positive
Try to view the problems and difficulties you have in a more positive light. Instead of fuming at a particular situation, try to look at the positive side and the benefits that situation gives you. If you cannot see the positive side, create it.
Don’t try to Control the Uncontrollable
Not everything in the world is in your control. If you do not like a situation, do not aggravate it by trying to control or reacting to it inappropriately. Instead focus on changing the way you react to it. You cannot control others but only yourself.
Set aside Relaxation time
Always set aside a time in the day which is totally for you. This is the time to sit back and relax. Do something which you love doing. Play sports, listen to music or go for a walk. Do not let any other activity take up this time of yours. It is solely for the purpose of recharging your batteries.
Connect with Others
See, meet and talk to people who are positive and emit positive vibes and give you a better way to look at life. You are majorly affected by the company you keep. Therefore, always look for positive people.
Exercise, Eat Healthy & Get Sleep
The last but not the least exercise every day eat healthy and sleep well. Make sure that you have a 30 minute cardio every day, avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs and sleep for 7-8 hours at least.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF STRESS MANAGEMENT
Finally we will take a look at some of the many positive effects there are for stress management. Some of them are listed below:
Good Health & Long Life Span
Stress management keeps you in good health as your physical and mental functionality is maintained at a peak and hence resulting in a longer life span. Bear in mind, it is always better to have a long life but only if it comes along with good health which you obviously cannot have if you lead a stressful life.
Better Mood & Mindset
Your overall mood and mindset is good at all times. As you have a reduced level of stress, you have a more positive outlook on life. This of course directly affects the way you look at life and handle the day to day affairs of life.
Clear Focus on Goals & Increase in Productivity
When you do not have any additional burden on your minds and you are a free bird mentally, you have a better focus on your work, career and goals. You are better able to decide what you want in life and are able to work towards it in a better and much organized way. This in turn does result in increased productivity and your personal and professional progress increases.
Contentment with Life
The most important of all, you will be happy and more content with life. When you do not have stress, know what you want to do with your life and are moving towards your goals in the right direction. This will automatically result in a life that is balanced, fruitful and purposeful.
Therefore, I would conclude by saying that we should look at things in a bigger picture and see the positive aspect instead of looking at the negatives. Once we see the positives, the stress will not be there in the first place and even if there is, it will gradually start to fade away and things will be a lot more beneficial for you physically, mentally and spiritually in the long term.
“How we perceive a situation and how we react to it is the basis of our stress. If you focus on the negative in any situation, you can expect high stress levels. However, if you try and see the good in the situation, your stress levels will greatly diminish.” Catherine Pulsifer
Talha Tashfeen Qayyum is a full-time postgraduate business student at the University of Birmingham, UK, and a freelance writer. He intends to contribute to life, society and Islam through his writings on self improvement and personal development with the vision to positively affect other people’s lives. Talha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Life Discovery: Living, not merely Existing: talhatashfeen.blogspot.com. This article cannot be re-published without permission.