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How to Handle Stress

The word ‘STRESS’ is most times used with little understanding of its meaning. How well you handle a thing is determined by how well you understand it. So what is stress? Stress can be psychological; a mental or emotional strain. It can also be physical; a force that produces strain on the physical body. Stress can also be anything that cause burn-out, wariness or tension either physically or psychologically. A useful activity like watching network news or an educational program can be stress if one already had a tiring day. Also, worrying can stress you.

Now that you know what stress is, just how much of stress are you under. Use the stress line as a yard-stick and tick your stress level.

Imagine pulling a heavy shipping container with a Volks wagon car. The car will not move more than an inch and the engine are bound to breakdown. However, the job becomes easier when you use a large truck because its engine is more powerful.

Now, that is the problem with many of us; we want to pull so many loads we are not powerful enough to. Hence, we crumble under its weight with stress. How then can stress be handled?

To answer this question, write on a sheet two advice you would give to the driver using the car to pull the large container.

Were your advice similar to these?

  • Reduce the load
  • Use a more powerful engine

 These are expected of us if we must manage stress effectively. Let us see how.

 Reduce the load

 You can lighten the weight by:

  • Saying just one word ‘NO!’ when someone asks you to help them do something even when you already have enough things to do. In some cases, other people are not the problem; rather we wanting to indulge in some social activities, like hanging out with friends on the play ground or engaging in sport, despite that we have just enough work to attend to. We should learn to say ‘no’ to others but first, to self. Saying ‘no’ means we acknowledge our limitations. A word of caution: saying ‘no’ is not an option when our parents direct us to take care of some chores. One must admit that it is quite difficult to give an outright ‘no’ answer to people because we do not want to let them down. In this case it will be best we told them we will get back to them. This will give us enough time to think if we can devote the time and energy needed for the activity.
  • Getting started with the most difficult task. Procrastination is not the thief of time alone but of energy too. Our everyday activities can sometimes be too many and some quite difficult that we give in easily to the temptation of putting off one or two tasks to the next day. It is already enough problems that the task is a hard one, so why add to the load of the next day by putting it off? It is wise to, at least, begin the difficult tasks. Truth is the task only stays longer before us and we will worry that we still have to do it. Worrying raises our stress level. It is therefore wise that we at least get started. You never get to know how easy a task is until you begin. For instance, you can have a less stressful morning if you set aside time to press your uniform, clean your shoes, and tidy your homework and room the night before going to bed.

 Use a more powerful engine

Our body together with our mind is the engine that does all activities. When we continue to work our body and we are not caring for it, the body becomes too weak to function. It is at this point our stress level increases. It is therefore paramount, in stress management, to pay appropriate attention to our body and mind. How can we do this?

  • Take care of your body. Regular exercising, eating good diet and having proper sleep are ways we can care for our body. The purpose of caring for our body is to remain strong and healthy so we can do everyday’s work without stress. Caring for the body is not a difficult task. For example, we should ensure that our food have all the important nutrients we need. Fruits supply the needed vitamins, so we should consume more fruits and avoid late night meals. Washing our hands regularly is the safest way to stay healthy.
  • Ask for help. Turn to families and friends for assistance. A problem shared is half solved. Loved ones can offer emotional support regarding very disturbing issues. Turning to others for help does not at all indicate weakness; in fact, it does show the maturity of an individual. In some cases, some friends and family have gone through what you may be experiencing at the moment. Don’t you think it is rather wise to seek advice as to how they made it through? Words of encouragement or advice may just be what you need to pull through. This will save you from anxiety-induced stress and help your engine (mind) function well.

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