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Create your 5 minute daily stress management program.

stress, stress management, stressed, stressful,focus, time,positive thought

Stress Management is something everyone must face. It is not the situations that cause stress, whether it is good stress or dis-tress. Rather it is how we respond to each situation that results in stress in our bodies and minds. You can be stressed out by a joyful event as much as we can by something we dread. Some people find it stressful to relax!

What we do in each moment affects how we handle the stressful incidents in our lives. The little choices we make can reduce our negative reactions to stressors. Build some stress relieving habits into your day and you will also be building your capacity to handle stressful situations.

Our perception of time is a huge stressor. When we believe we do not have enough time our emotions kick into a stressed out mode of behavior. So, let’s pay attention to how we manage our time and how we can improve those skills. Ideally, by improving your time management, you will be able to have more time to do the things you want to do like spend more time with friends or family.

Did you ever notice how hard it is to focus when you have misplaced something? It seems as if time is racing forward while you are stuck in slow motion just getting more aggravated trying to find it. So create some habits that help you, like always putting your keys in the same place when you come indoors.

An inventory of specific concerns will help you see where to focus your attention:
• How well do you manage your time?
• How stressful is your life?
• Do you have a good range of coping skills?
• How strong is your social network or support system?
• Do you have solid positive thinking patterns?

Time to pay attention.
• Give yourself time in your own schedule. If you don’t put it in there and honor it, no one else will either.
• Pay attention to how you are spending your time—all of your time. Make notes.
• Review those notes and decide which activities have the greatest importance or perhaps are the most urgent.
• Make your own priorities instead of letting a crisis do it for you.
• Think about your goals, both personal and professional. Use those goals to plan your time. If something comes up that does not fit into your goals be very wary about making a commitment to it.
• Stop procrastinating. Yes, you can do it. Set small goals to help you reach big commitments.
• Write out your plan for the day and pay attention to it. If you find yourself straying from the plan often, reconsider. Sort out the reasons.

When your life is congruent with your beliefs your stress level is significantly reduced. Pay attention. Are you living and thinking the same things? Or are you in conflict within yourself?

Look at your lifestyle. How stressful is it?
Some of your lifestyle choices affect your stress level. Some behaviors interfere with the way your body tries to get relief from stress.
• Put some balance in your life with work, family and personal obligations.
• Nurture your sense of purpose for your life.
• Always make copies of important papers.
• Get more sleep to allow your body time to recover.
• Eat a balanced diet.
• Exercise daily.
• Limit your consumption of alcohol.
• Don't smoke.
• Honor your limits and those of other people.

Coping skills are important. Cultivate healthy ones.
• Identify your coping strategies. If you don’t recognize them, keep a journal related to stress. Once you identify unhealthy approaches you can focus on making positive changes to reclaim your life.
• Buy yourself flowers.
• Talk less--listen more. That’s why we have 2 ears and one mouth, right?
• Give yourself permission to play or to say “no”.

How strong is your social network? Are you supported by friends and family?
• Your level of social support is significant when it comes to stress.
• Do you get positive support from family, friends, and the community?
• Do you give positive support to others?
• Nurture your sense of humor.
• Stop trying to “fix” other people.
• Knowing you are cared for and valued or loved leads to stronger social support and improved mental and physical health.

Who is in charge of your thought patterns?
Negative emotions like fear, anxiety, rage, depression or guilt can cause stressful responses as much as actual physical threats do. When you learn to handle these negative emotions better, you can reduce your stress level.
• Learn to stop negative thoughts and reduce stress.
• Avoid jumping to conclusions or exaggerating the negative thoughts.
• Cultivate your problem solving abilities and apply them to your stressors.
• Learn to communicate without being hostile. This reduces stress that comes from poor communication.
• Learn from others who are successful.
• Pray.

Everyone faces stressful situations. Learning how to handle the common events in your life can help you face and relieve your stress level. You may not be able to change the circumstances of your life but only you can change how you react to it. Choosing to live with less stress is healthy for you whether you are a parent, child or CEO. Do it today.

Published: 2007-12-18
Author: donna bessken

About the author or the publisher
donna bessken is a naturalist, educator, writer, caregiver and living in alabama at this time.

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