Stress = Pressure – Adaptability
Stress is the gap between the pressures brought on by life’s events, and our ability to cope with them and adapt. One stressful episode may not be difficult to handle, but over a period of time, built-up stress from several different incidents can contribute to problems such as heart disease, ulcers, colitis, hypertension, psychiatric disorders, and decreased resistance to disease. And it should be added that resentment and guilt are stress-related illness!
Given the algebraic nature of the equation – to manage stress more effectively, you need to either reduce or remove the pressure or increase your ability to adapt. So if quitting the job, leaving your partner, or selling your kids off seems like a goofy way to reduce the pressure in your life, you must review ways to increase your ability to adapt to the life you are living.
Luckily, the news is good! There are ways to make yourself more ‘stress-hardy’ so that you develop the resiliency to manage stress more effectively. While the following strategies may not be intuitive, these are approaches that can help alleviate feelings of pressure and tension and can be learned and practiced until you become a Master.
Open to Change – A degree of open-mindedness and flexibility can help your effectiveness when coping with change. Few things are “written in stone”. One of the few things you can count on is that things will not stay the same. Think of embracing change and planning for it, rather than resisting it.
Feeling Involved – The stress-resistant person is emotionally committed to work as well as work relationships. They have goals that they are working towards. Eastern philosophies believe that there is only now. Know what you value, and then spend time doing it. Have goals for 5, 10, and 15 years from now – and work toward them.
Feeling In Control – If you feel like a victim and you find yourself blaming others, you are not taking responsibility in your life; you are giving up control. Identify where you do have power, and then take control!
Seeing the Humor – Under stress, your sense of humor can go right out the window. That is too bad, because laughter can be a great way to cope with stress. Physically, you are releasing tension by relaxing muscles and exhaling. Even a brief smile can relax you and serve as a reminder to keep your perspective.
Keeping Perspective – Not having a good Wi-Fi connection when you need one is pretty annoying. A project deadline moved up two weeks can be infuriating. But think about what your life would be like if the person you cared most about suddenly died tomorrow. Instantly, your perspective changes and these other things are not so important anymore. Life is short. Channel your energy into those things that are really important to you.