Stress is something we experience every day, at some level, whether we realize it or not.
Healthy stress is called eustress, where as unhealthy is called distress.
Human beings should come with a label: CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE. Sometimes life can even be scary!
We need healthy levels of stress to survive, but when we are bombarded and overwhelmed by sudden changes or enormous amounts of hardship, our stress levels escalate. It’s this negative type of stress, that when left untreated, is referred to as “the silent killer.”
This prolonged stress, especially unchecked and uncontrolled, can lead to:
- cardiovascular diseases
- chronic fatigue
- diminished immune system making you prone to more and more infection
- high blood pressure
My reason for writing this post is to help you identify and learn the causes of your stress. I want to create a haven for you to come and get some great stress busting tips that have served me well, as well as a place for you to share your story.
I know from experience… serious stress can choke the life out of you. There were many periods in my life when I felt paralyzed by stress. I had been through “burn-out” at work more than a few times and the nature of the work had me see the backside of life on a daily basis. The stress of rotating shifts and short changeovers also added to the growing stress level.
For more than 18 of the nearly 32 years I was in the police department, 9-1-1 seemed like my home number.
My daughter Laura would even note the time when it was 9:11, AM or PM… “Daddy, its 9-1-1… 9-1-1!”
That was her being cute and did not add to my stress.
Gradually, the frequency of the worst types of calls imaginable increased when I worked… murders, stabbings, robberies. The stress was compounded by lack of available manpower and resources, such as enhanced 9-1-1. Stress is experienced from the personal perception that demands placed on you exceed your resources.
In one such case a Greek woman, who spoke no English at all, called 9-1-1 screaming. She could not be calmed down and I could not get her to tell me her address. By the time the line was traced, her 15 year old daughter had choked to death on a chicken bone.
It was a fatal shooting followed shortly thereafter by a little 3-1/2 year old girl witnessing her mother being bludgeoned to death, as I frantically had the line traced, that told me I don’t want to do this any more. Work that I once lived for!
A police officer, who survived being shot in the head, came to my home to console me. At this time, I felt like a zombie. Devoid of feelings, I also saw my first marriage of 18 years disintegrate. From there, I was transferred to one of the local courts to do administrative tasks for the remaining years.
That’s just a little of the stress I experienced. Thankfully, all that’s in the past.
15 Great Stress Busting Tips
- CALM COUNT. Words cannot be taken back once you’ve let them out, therefore, keep calm. Before you say something regrettable, count out a few deep breaths, count to 10, or practice a small number of affirmations.
- DEAR DIARY. Keeping a daily diary or a journal is great because you give yourself permission to explore your thoughts and feelings surrounding the day’s events. You’ll quickly identify what things stressed you and then you can write about them in detail for future reference. Be sure to include your happiest moments of the day and future plans, too. Otherwise, your diary will simply become a record of negativity which will add to your stress.
- ENERGETIC EXERCISE. This is a great way to burn off stress. Maintain your physical agility with moderate amounts, but not to exhaustion. Every lunch hour at work for over 3 years, I would play badminton in the gymnasium. This made me feel great!
- ESTHETIC ENVIRONMENT. Partaking of nature is spiritually refreshing, heightens your creativity and helps you keep a sense of the beautiful when life appears to be ugly. When you feel stressed, try going for a walk in the woods, visit a lake, or go birdwatching.
- LEARN LIMITATIONS. Clearly define and know what your limitations are. Saying “yes” to everyone just to be a people pleaser is the purchase of a one-way ticket to Stress City. Say “no” when you need to.
- MEDITATION MUSIC. While upbeat music may give you more energy — meditative, relaxing music is great for soothing jangled nerves. It has the ability to transport you to another place and calm you down. It is this shift in focus and attention that changes your demeanor. When you’re feeling especially nervous, put on some quiet music that allows you to meditate. This is great background for writing in your DAILY DIARY.
- MOOD MANAGEMENT. When you’re feeling stressed, pay particular attention to how your mood changes. Keeping yourself in a positive frame of mind helps you to fight the stress you’re feeling, whereas, allowing yourself to be in a foul mood only makes it worse.
- PERSONAL PRAYER. The best advice I’ve found on this comes from the Bible… “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” Philippians 4:6
- PROVIDE PERSPECTIVE. Everyone has the ability to make molehills out of mountains. Get a piece of paper and divide in down the middle. On one side write the things you may be able to change, and on the other, write down things that stress you that you have no control over. Change what you can and stop worrying about the rest!
- REGULAR REST. Getting the rest you need is imperative. Sleep refreshes and restores your frame of mind which gets bent out of shape by stress. You simply can’t function properly without getting the amount you need; you get brain drain.
- SELF SPEECH. Be careful what you say to yourself. Berating yourself, belittling your talents or otherwise bad mouthing yourself only adds to your stress level. Be patient and gentle with yourself and speak words that affirm your inner strength and beauty. Keeping your feelings bottled up only creates more inner turmoil. Talk things out, but do so using only POSITIVE words. Eliminate all negative self-talk.
- STAY SERENE. This assumes that you are serene in the first place. Find what gets you to your happy place and stay there awhile. Remember this: You are NOT your circumstances. Keep a healthy outlook on life by controlling your perceptions.
- TAILORED THOUGHTS. No different than taking your clothing to a tailor for alterations, you can do this with your thoughts. Some thoughts you carry around with you no longer fit with your lifestyle and need to be trimmed from your mindset. Take yourself in for an attitude adjustment. Change your mindset and keep the change!
- TAKE TIME. Not only take time out from what is stressing you, but also take time to process your feelings, to meditate and to pray. Taking time out for yourself gives you a “breather.” You deserve it, right?
- VANQUISH VICTIMIZATION. When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, it doesn’t mean life is all downhill. Don’t add misery to your stress by having a pity party or loudly voicing, “Why does this always happen to me?”
May your STRESS be… Strength To Resolve Every Scary Situation
Have your Say…
What stressful experiences have you had? What stresses you out, and what do you do about it?
I invite you to share your story here or in the comments below. Thank you kindly!