What is Stress?
"Stress is an emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition of mind which When something pleasant or unpleasant happens around you, which puts you in a state of strain or pressure, it is called stress. It occurs in response to adverse external influences. Stress raises the level of adrenaline in the body, which leads to increased heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, putting more physical stress on bodily organs.
Stress affects women and men in many ways, and it's important for people to learn about its impact, how to control it, and how to avoid taking on other people's stresses. Although stress isn't the most fun subject to talk about, it is one of the most often talked about. Think about it: how many times have you heard yourself, your coworkers, family or friends reply, "stressed", when asked how they or you feel? "
Why Is Women's Stress Management Such an Important Concern?
"Stress does more than give us headaches and mood swings. Some of the many ways stress can impact women's health include:
- Sleeping problems
- Upset stomach
- Mood swings
- High blood pressure
It's a fact that stress can has negative effects on the body. It can limit the length of life, and it can also limit quality of life. Many people don't realize that more women die each year due to Heart Disease than all forms of cancer combined."
What Are the First Steps in Effective Women's Stress Management?
"The first step in managing stress effectively is recognition. As yourself: What types of events or situations cause stress for you? Is it deadlines, family events, traffic, running late, disorganization, poor communication, illness, poor time management, noise levels, responsibilities, expectations, etc.?
It's important to find out what affects you and learn to change those situations. For example, if you know that running late makes your heart beat faster and your breathing becomes short and fast, and you usually get a headache and become really grumpy, then it's best to manage your time more wisely so that you don't run late. There may be one or two small, simple changes that you can make to your schedule so that you have more time.
It's also important to pay attention to when you feel stressed the most. You're likely to notice a pattern in these feelings. Many people experience stressed during certain times of day or days of the week. Others experience stress related to the winter blues, birthday, anniversaries, when bills come due, or when certain health cycles begin or end. Anticipating a stressful time puts you in charge of your reactions, you control the stress so that it does not control you. For example, if the last hour of your workday is the most stressful, take time at the beginning of the workday to plan that hour out so that you don't feel overwhelmed."
How Can Women Take Proactive Steps to Manage Stress?
"Learning to manage stress effectively may require change in the way you think. Here are some examples of practical applications to stress relief:
- Realize your limitations.
- You cannot be everywhere at every time. Sometimes you have to reschedule or send someone else.
- You aren't perfect, so do your best - but don't always strive for perfectionism. Most people won't know if what you've done is perfect or not.
- You cannot remember everything, you must write things down.
- You can't do everything yourself, you need to delegate (besides, as Pooh says, 'it's friendlier with two').
- Learn how to say "no".
- Slow down. Don't talk so fast - you won't be asked to repeat yourself if people understand you the first time.
- Don't try so hard to please other people or 'measure up'. Resist peer pressure, and be yourself.
- Remember: You are a person, you are not a machine. And that's what makes you special and irreplaceable.
- Practice effective time management.
- Don't just plan to take personal time, schedule it in advance and look forward to it.
- What a difference it would make if you use waiting time (while stuck in traffic or waiting in line) as relaxation time to breathe, relax your neck and shoulders, and be peaceful.
- Make time for stress relief activities.
- Recognize and use the power of a good, deep breath. It turns off your stress response, and turns on your relaxation response. Each deep breath brings oxygen into your body, giving life to every system and every cell. Deep breathing even releases natural mood enhancers (endorphins) into your bloodstream.
- Laughter really can be great medicine. The benefits of belly laughter include: stimulating your organs with oxygen, activating your endorphins for a good and relaxed feeling, easing digestion for soothed tummy aches, improving your immune system, and relieving pain.
- Stretching can be a terrific stress reliever.
- Notice the green of the grass and the song of the birds (I know it sounds cheesy but really - truly - take the time to notice your surroundings; you may find your best lessons there).
- Let yourself enjoy vacation therapy, real or imagined. Even a short daydream can help. Imagine a pleasant place, and use it as a retreat from stress and pressure"
What Are the Most Important Factors in Effectively Managing Stress?
"When you look at the person or thing that you are allowing to cause you stress. Ask yourself: is he, she, or it worth it? Is it worth getting taken away from the life that you've worked so hard for? Is it worth not seeing your grandchildren, or not being able to play with them? The key to women's stress management lies with remembering an extremely important fact. Here it is: You allow yourself to be stressed. You allow it. And you can stop it."