1. Stress can adversely affect health. Prolonged levels of high stress change the body’s chemistry and cause permanent damage. Stress can directly cause or greatly magnify a host of bodily problems including all kinds of pain, digestive difficulties, autoimmune ailments, sleep abnormalities, skin problems (such as eczema), depression and even thoughts of suicide, and obesity. Over time the damage accumulates and can result in heart disease and death.
2. Stress can come from external stimuli. This is no surprise, but it’s helpful to keep in mind the possible sources. These can include work, major changes in life, difficulties in a relationship, financial problems, trying to cram too much into the daily schedule and the challenges of family life.
3. Stress can come from internal stimuli. In other words, we can cause stress without anything external threatening us. We cause our own stress when we are unable to accept not knowing or uncertainty. Our own pessimism or negative self-talk can cause stress, too. Unrealistic expectations can cause stress when those hopes are not realized. As an extension of this, perfectionism can cause stress, because no one will ever live up to that high an expectation.
4. Controlling stress and how it affects you is all about taking charge. We are always responsible for our own feelings, whether the source appears external or internal. The root cause for all feelings is a decision to react a certain way. And this is where stress management becomes not only possible but imminently doable.
Stress management includes taking charge of emotions and the way we deal with life’s difficulties. It also includes taking charge of our own schedules and our environments. We need to take care of ourselves and we need to take time out to relax, especially when it most seems impossible to do so.
5. Stress management training is available online. One of the most underappreciated aspects of corporate training is the need to manage stress, its causes and effects. Online training courses make this knowledge broadly available and easily accessible. E-learning is a potent method for giving every employee the tools needed to overcome this silent killer.
6. Relax. Some stress will always be a part of life. To counteract this, find as many ways as possible to relax such as deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga. Practice these types of techniques daily. If you make it a healthy habit, your body will respond favorably. Then, when you start to feel stressed, simply remembering the technique can extinguish the fires that stress starts.
7. Laughter is good medicine. There are websites dedicated to humor. Visit them on occasion and get a good laugh. But even if that is not possible, it’s still possible to laugh. Simply laugh. Don’t be shy about it, and keep doing it until you feel your body relax. All it takes is deciding to laugh and to reap the benefits of its medicine.
Image Credit: yamaken on Flickr