Feelings of stress are caused by the body’s instinct to defend itself. This instinct is good in emergencies, such as getting out of the way of a speeding car. But stress can cause unhealthy physical symptoms if it goes on for too long, such as in response to life’s daily challenges and changes.
When this happens, it’s as though your body gets ready to jump out of the way of the car, but you are sitting still. Your body is working overtime, with no place to put all the extra energy. This can make you feel anxious, afraid, worried and uptight. Here are a few tips that may help you deal with stress a bit more.
The first step is to learn to recognize when you are feeling stressed. Early warning signs of stress include tension in your shoulders and neck, or clenching your hands into fists.
The next step is to choose a way to deal with your stress. One way is to avoid the event or thing that leads to your stress – but often this is not possible. A second way is to change how you react to stress. This is often the more practical way.
- Don’t worry about things you cannot control, such as the weather.
- Solve the little problems. This can help you gain a feeling of control.
- Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not as a threat.
- Talk with a trusted friend, family member or counselor.
- Eat regular, well-balanced meals and get enough sleep.