Do you often feel irritable? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you easily forgetting things? Are you becoming unfocused at work? Have you lost your appetite, or can't stop eating? Do you sometimes feel like you are about to implode? If your answer is "Yes" to any of these questions, it may be time for you to de-compress. We are clearly more out of balance than our grandparents. We work longer, sleep less, and are overloaded by information and technology. Take steps today to turn stress into success.
Some stress can actually be beneficial. It can motivate you to finish a pending task, or prompt you to move faster along a dark street. However, the danger with contemporary stress is that it tends to be emotional rather than physical in origin, and is thus more persistent. Chronic stress can lead to insomnia, hypertension, severe acne, backaches, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, infertility, strokes, heart attack and depression. Managing stress is the key to a balanced and successful life.
Understand the nature of stress - Stress is any change you must adapt to. It can be good (like an upcoming wedding) or bad (like a death in the family). Once you perceive a threat, the body kicks in the fight-flight-freeze response. As long as the mind perceives the threat, the body remains in this state of alert.
Identify your key stressors – What hits your buttons the most? Does your current work situation make you irritable? Is your relationship grating on you? Are tight deadlines causing anxiety?
Understand your specific warning signs - Does stress go to your head and create headaches? Does it go to your stomach? Do you begin to eat significantly more or less? Do you get cranky? Observe yourself so you can understand how stress affects you.
Determine your most accessible coping strategies - When you identify stress, what will you do? Plan ahead. You may exercise, talk, pray, play, plan, scream... you get the picture! Outline your coping strategies in advance.
Practice relaxation every day - Relaxation is a learned response. It is something you can actively practice. Time time every day to be still. Learn one technique at a time. Start with deep breathing. Learn visualization. Begin to meditate. "Tone" your nervous system so that you can relax quicker over time.
Dear Dr. Terri K: I feel like I am in a downward spiral... Over the last couple of months, I've watched my investment accounts dwindle which is stressing me out. Because I'm stressed out, I'm eating more. Since I've gained weight, I'm more tired than usual. I now fear losing my job. What can I do to get back on track mentally and physically? - PAUL
Paul: First, congratulations for reaching out. When times get tough, it's time to get tough! Here are some suggestions:
Start a gratitude journal. There is something going right in your life for which you can be thankful - determine what that is and write it down. Look for the little things such as health and family. Actively seek joy every day. Practice acts of kindness toward others and see how it fills your heart.
Practice relaxation techniques. When you feel stress creeping up, take a few deep breaths to activitate the relaxation response in the body. Take a yoga class. Learn to meditate. Practice the techniques at home with the Power Living® Mini-Escapes relaxation CD. Get your adrenaline flowing by exercising.
Assess your skills. Take an honest look at your skills. Does your job highlight your strengths? If not, what can you do to emphasize your strong points?
Set clear goals. If you feel you've had a setback, that's the time to plan for your comeback! Be clear on what you want from your job and from life. Once you can see the vision, set S.M.A.R.T. goals - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-specific.
Tap into your Circle of Support. Identify those around you who are truly supportive of your life goals. Reach out to them when you need to talk or need advice. See how you can pool resources together to save money.
Work on your Personal Brand. When economic times are tough, it is even more important to be clear on your own unique value proposition and project the brand that represents you. Take time to outline your personal branding elements. To find out more, join our PWR® Branding Teleseries.
Celebrate milestones. Whenever you accomplish anything to move things forward, pat yourself on the back. Be your own cheerleader.
Today, start living a life that feels right. Keep your life vision in front of you. You can make it happen step-by-step. Start Power Living® today! - T
Do you have questions about managing a specific stressful situation? Are you confused about certain foods or herbs? Do you need some insights regarding a career shift and discovering your Purpose? Then... Ask Dr. Terri K. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you still desire on-going, individualized attention, then try out our one-on-one coaching. For more information, email email@example.com or call 212.901.6913.