How to Manage Stress

Worried retired woman


Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.

A state resulting from a stress: especially: one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.

It can feel like one is out of balance or overwhelmed. Too many things to do and not enough time!

Stress is a part of life; it is HOW we deal with it that is most important!

Consequences of Stress:

When we are under stress our body responds by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones serve a purpose if we need to get away from a dangerous situation. This is known as the “fight or flight” response.

Research is clear that long-term stress plays a role in many illnesses. It is a contributor to high blood pressure, which has been linked to heart attack and stroke.

Over the long-term stress also lowers our immune system making us more vulnerable to colds/flu.

Common Causes of Stress:

The stressors that many of us face today are things like time pressures, a change to our health status, loss of a loved one, work demands, family demands, relationship issues, financial issues.

There are many different ways that we can cope with stress. Some of those ways are healthier than others.

Negative coping strategies:

It is easy to get into negative habits when we are dealing with a stressful period in our lives.

  • Alcohol/Drugs
  • Isolation
  • Over-eating
  • Excessive TV Watching

Positive coping strategies:

Retired man doing YogaThere are many different “healthy” ways to deal with stress. These are a few of the more common tools that people find useful when managing stress.

  • Deep Breathing
  • Guided Imagery-Visualization
  • Yoga/Tai Chi
  • Exercise
  • Meditation

There are also many “quick and easy” ways to deal with stress. Some everyday things that one can do to alleviate stress are:

  • Taking a walk in nature
  • Talking with a good friend
  • Playing with a pet
  • A warm bubble bath
  • A good book
  • A funny movie
  • Reading poetry

The key is to be aware of the things that cause stress in your life and develop a plan or activity that can help you relieve stress so does not become a chronic issue that takes its toll on your health and well being.

The goal of stress management is to come back to a state of balance, physically and emotionally.