Throughout life, we face an endless series of problems. Some are small and some are large. The total force of these problems on us is known as stress. Many neuroses, both mild and severe, are rooted in stress. This, in turn, produces tension, a disrupting emotional state.
When family life is unpleasant, the home may be a source of stress. Family friction is especially unfortunate because the family is the most important of our social institutions. The relationships in a family are necessarily close and personal. This produces a delicate situation that may lead to great happiness and security or to severe friction and tension. People today have been undergoing an enormous change in the standards of conduct and relations of parents to children and children to parents. This has resulted in friction in many families.
A person’s occupation is a frequent cause of further stress. Business today often involves tremendous pressure and the demands it places on people may easily become burdens. The worker in the factory feels the pressure of production schedules and the monotony of machines. The salesman must make his quota. The executive lives from one crisis to the next. Failure is depressing. Even success produces its share of stress and tension.
Social relationships add their share of stress to our lives. The inability to get along with other people is a common cause for failure in business or employment. This tragic condition may result from stress and, in addition, causes stress.
We cannot avoid stress entirely in our lives. But too much of it may lead to an abnormally neurotic condition. On the other hand, too little stress and resulting lack of tension is also abnormal. A person who has never experienced tension may be calm, but he is also passive and ineffective because he refuses to face life and meet his obligations to himself and others and to strive for maximum effectiveness.
Symptoms Of Stress
Since all of us experience stress and resulting tension, many of the symptoms listed below will apply to you. Stress-related mental anxiety can lead to neuroses.
Under tension, a person may:
- Feel depressed much of the time without knowing why.
- Have a pessimistic outlook and expect trouble.
- Magnify the seriousness of problems
- Have difficulty in getting along with other people and change his opinion of them frequently.
- Have a desire to run away from difficulty
- Dread facing new situations
- Hesitate to make new friends
Strategies To Dealing With Stress
Two important strategies in dealing with stress are learning to relax and learning to modify your behavior in order to avoid stress or alleviate it. Stress is an internal subconscious adverse reaction, so deep breathing can increase relaxation in the internal system and distract the mind from stress relating thoughts. It also helps to resist the body mechanism of “fight or flight” reaction. Learning to relax through breathing and other means requires practice and come gradually.
Learning Relaxation Methods
- Do not try to learn relaxation when you are feeling tired. You will learn better and more effectively when you are alert
- Try to minimize background sources of stress such as noise and the presence of other people
- Do not rush or watch the clock. If you are worried about going on too long, set an alarm to ring after a period of, say, 20 mins
- Choose a quiet comfortable place, loosen any tight clothing and take off your shoes
- If you are not succeeding, do not try harder. This will only make you tenser. Instead, give yourself a rest for a couple of days and start again. Giving most emphasis to the parts of the exercise you found most effective.
How To Relax Each Body Parts
Tense each part of the body as described below for a count of 10. Take a deep breath in, feel the tension, then let the tension go as you breathe out, quietly saying the word “relax” to yourself as you do so to reinforce the message of relaxation.
Toes – Curl your toes toward your face
Calves – Point your toes toward your face
Buttocks – Push your buttocks hard against your chair or bed, at the same time trying to make your body feel as heavy as possible
Abdomen – Tense your abdomen, as if preparing to receive a punch in the stomach
Shoulders – Shrug your shoulders as high as they can possibly go
Throat – Use your chin to press your throat high
Neck and head – Press your neck and head against the backs of your shoulders, stretching your neck as you do so
Face – Tighten as many facial muscles as possible, including forehead, jaw, chin, and nose
A Change Of Routine
One effective way to alleviate stress is to break the routine and your daily ritual. It sounds indiscipline, but monotonous living is another cause of stress. After office coming to the home, pick up a gift for your loved one or you yourself engage in shopping. Change the route and arrive home a bit late or early. If your ritual is to arrive home and watch television, do something else for change like 10 minutes exercise and then shower. Put some activities in your weekend list, don’t stay lazy and thinking about Monday.
As a rule, increasing your level of activity is beneficial in reducing stress. The list of possibilities is endless; why not start with simple activities like walking, jogging, singing, window shopping, cooking, painting, or gardening. Choose something you think will be fun, and if it isn’t, try something else.
There is no guarantee that specific thing or workout will dispel stress from your life, but if you do nothing, things won’t change, at least you can try.
Self-Talk To Relax Stress
Perhaps you have watched children engaging in their world, working with a continuous motivating soliloquy. This self-talk is important because without it the task can be harder to learn and perform. Recent research has also suggested that this approach could be helpful for adults as well.
As you are learning to self-talk, be concentrate on the positive aspects of the problem and focus on the solutions. Don’t become self-conscious if you discover you are talking aloud to yourself. Finding a way to deal with stress is more important than temporary embarrassment.