Focus On: Stress Management
Follow these simple stress management techniques to help avoid or reduce stress in your personal and professional lives.
Stress is a normal physiological response to any new challenge or change in our lives. Our bodies are hard-wired to handle stress by going into “fight or flight” mode, which gives us all of the tools we need to address whatever is causing the stress. This is a healthy defense mechanism that’s designed to be a short-term solution, making us adaptable to different situations.
Too much stress affects your wellness
However, with the increased pressures of modern life, you may find yourself in a state of stress that lasts for weeks or longer, which can impact you personally, psychologically and physically. Too much stress can lead to irrational thinking, and may cause several wellness issues, or make existing issues worse, including:
- Pain that may include headaches, back pain or stomach pain
- Insomnia or other sleep problems
- A weakened immune system
- Emotional problems such as moodiness, anger, irritability, depression or anxiety
- Trouble with family or personal relationships
If you’re experiencing too much stress, it’s important to find stress relief, so that you can get the highest quality of life, at work and home.
Stress management techniques
Before you can get stress relief, you need to identify what is causing it. In some situations, stress may be due to a major life event, such as the death of a loved one, getting married or buying a house. In other cases, it may be stress due to family, money or health problems.
Once you have identified what’s causing your stress, you can work on better stress management in several ways:
- Avoid stress where you can: One key stress management technique is to avoid unnecessary stress. For example, if you’re overcommitting at work or home, cut down your to-do list to a manageable number of tasks. If rush hour traffic is stressing you out, find a different route or leave at a different time to get some stress relief.
- Improve your time management: Become aware of the ways in which you can contribute to your own time management issues and learn techniques to improve your efficiency. Henry Ford Enhance offers a free time management workshop.
- Follow a healthy lifestyle: Our health habits can impact our emotional wellness. If you’re not eating a good diet, getting regular exercise and enough rest, it can make it difficult to find stress relief. Also avoid smoking and if you drink alcohol, only do so in moderation.
- Try relaxation techniques: This can be as simple as taking some personal time for reading or writing in a journal. Breathing exercises, yoga, massage, tai chi or other alternative medicine techniques may also help you with your stress management.
- Get support: Family and friends can also be a great resource for helping you with your stress management efforts. Spending time with your social network and confiding in people you trust can help you to get your feelings out, instead of keeping them bottled up. Henry Ford Enhance also offers a free stress management workshop.
Counseling for stress management
If you find that these stress relief techniques do not help, it may also help to talk to an ENHANCE counselor.