“Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.” – Jane Wagner
The experts say that 83% of US workers suffer from stress – the reason why employees are absent from work and some require serious treatment. Work-related stress causes around 120,000 deaths every year and around $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly.
Since 1992, April has been Stress Awareness Month. It’s about making the public aware of the seriousness of stress, which is rampantly on the increase. The thing is, stress is linked to so many other health problems like heart disease, immune system problems, digestive problems, insomnia, among others.
This year, 2021, the experts say that most of the USA is experiencing collective trauma. Dr. Michael Young, a service chief at a psychiatric hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, says it is not a surprise that more than 4 in 5 adults in the US are showing signs of prolonged stress.
How to manage stress in life is a big question people ask today.
According to stress consultant and life coach, Elaine Sanders, “Stress is a direct result of negative emotions that are out of control.” Kathleen Hall, another counselor and CEO of The Stress Institute and Mindful Living explains that “Stress is a physical, mental, or emotional response to change.” Both these experts have shared tips on how to manage stress better at home and work – apart from a healthy lifestyle such as what you eat, drink, what you put into your body, and exercise.
To spread the understanding of Stress Awareness Month, Health Web Magazine collaborated with various Health Experts and Enthusiasts to share their views on – “How to manage and reduce Stress?”
My first tip on managing stress is “STOP judging your stress”.
Stop feeling stressed about “feeling stressed”. Criticizing yourself for feeling stressed will only result in your feeling stressed and crappy, “less than”, frustrated with yourself, etc. Normalize your feelings of discomfort. We are living in crazy times. You are only human.
My next tip is “get specific”. The statement “I am stressed” is too amorphous. You can’t fight vague, shapeless demons. Are you tired? Are you feeling unfit? Are you stressed because you are missing your friends? Are you overwhelmed?
Make a list. Divide the list into two camps: “In my control” and “out of my control”. Create a plan to control anything you can control. Overwhelmed? What can you delegate? Feeling unfit and/or disconnected from friends? Make a regular walking date with a friend.
Let me quote Susan David, “emotions are data, not directives”. Meaning, all emotions need to be acknowledged, but the behavior doesn’t have to flow automatically from any emotion. No emotion is “bad” or “good.” All emotions are simply data. So, acknowledge that you are “stressed” (which is probably a code for anxious, overwhelmed, scared, etc). Then, ACT in ways that will decrease vs increase your stress.