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My day began with a cranky computer and missing emails that couldn’t be restored.  I wish I could tell you how well I handled this stressful situation, but the truth is that I could have done better.  Managing stress is one of my ongoing challenges – how about you?

The Mayo clinic suggests that we first assess how we typically react to stress and then find healthier ways to respond.  Do any of these unhealthy reactions sound familiar?

  • Pain – from clenching jaws or fists, upset stomach, shortness of breath, back pain, headaches or insomnia.
  • Eating – too much or too little.
  • Anger  – at the wrong people at the wrong time.
  • Crying – about things unrelated to the source of stress.
  • Depression – when the stress is too much to take.
  • Negativity – expecting the worst in every situation.
  • Smoking or Drinking – stress is one of the main reasons that smokers who quit start smoking again. Alcohol is also a common stress reliever.

Once we identify our unhealthy reactions to stress, we can choose one of Mayo’s recommended strategies to manage it more effectively:

  • Scale back on obligations or delegate work.
  • Prepare for meetings well in advance.
  • Reach out and make or renew connections with others
  • Enjoy a calming hobby.
  • Relax through physical activity, meditation or yoga.
  • Get enough sleep – seven to eight hours a night.
  • Get professional help if things don’t get better.

I invite you to choose one new approach to stress management and resolve to try it for 90 days.