The month of April is Stress Awareness Month. This month I want to share with you how to really handle stress so it does not handle you. When you were young you probably heard people talking about being stressed out.  You probably couldn’t really relate until you actually experienced stress for yourself, you immediately knew what everyone was complaining about!

I can recall having a very stressful job when I worked as a Lead IT Project Manager for one of the largest medical centers in Michigan. I would successful manage 10 – 30 projects ranging from hundred thousand dollar projects to million dollar projects and all simultaneously. Talk about stress. Not only did I manage large projects I also managed 5 departments – to say I was stressed was an understatement.

Stress is a part of life, but it should be handled with care. A healthy amount of stress is good for us – it can sometimes push us toward our dreams and goals.

Where does stress come from?  What is the origin of stress?  This is a question that many people ask but can never quite pinpoint it.

Where Does Stress Originate?

If you ask 10 people where their stress comes from you’re likely going to get answers such as their kids, family, work, and especially money.  These are stress factors that are common to most of us.  Yet, when you receive these answers and really understand them you’ll notice that these are causes of stress but not where the stress actually comes from.  So where does stress come from?

There are many different schools of thought about where stress comes from.  The fact of the matter is that stress is our body’s response to the demands that we place on it.  The demands may be physical, mental, or emotional in nature and when we place these demands on our body, chemicals and hormones like Cortisol and Neuropeptide Y are released into our bodies and then we feel stressed.

During the 13 years I served as a Lead IT Project Manager my stress really came from the expectations I placed on myself to handle all those projects and manage 5 departments without asking for the help I needed.

Stressful Thinking Leads to Stressful Feelings

Some believe that stress can stem from our own minds.  This is true to some extent because we can cause stress through our worries, fears, and anxiety.

We often get into the habit of negative thinking where we can somehow convince ourselves about things that are untrue. For example, have you ever convinced yourself that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough to do something? This negative self-talk creates stress within our own minds. Unfortunately, these thoughts are going on unbeknownst to us because we have come to accept our negative thoughts as truth, even when it’s far from it. This is precisely why we need to begin to tame our negative thoughts and replace them with positive truths. Helping people tame their negative thoughts is a passion of mine that I take very serious.

Stress is a normal part of life so we’ll never be able to escape it. What really matters is how we deal with stress, but we all experience stress differently; hence there’s no universal stress treatment!

Dealing with Stress

As we now know, stress is a bodily response to the pressures and demands that we place on ourselves in every day life.  To limit the negative effects of stress – such as heart attack, breathing problems, reproductive problems, and stomach problems – you need to learn how to actively manage your stress.  There are many simple stress coping strategies that you can employ such as:

•    Getting more exercise
•    Using positive self-talk
•    Getting more restful sleep
•    Eating a healthier diet
•    Knowing your work limits
•    Saying no when you need to
•    Asking for help
•    Creating time for fun
•    Using positive imagery
•    Employing deep breathing techniques
•    Listening to calming music
•    Clearing your life and workspace of clutter
•    Keeping things simple

These are all effective ways to deal with the stress in your life; however, you need to remember that the goal is to proactively manage your stress.  If you react to your stress, you’ll be spending most of your time putting out fires.  Instead, if you constantly implement just a few of these stress management techniques, you will live a healthier, happier, and more productive life!

Shift Your Mindset Change Your Life!



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