What is Stress?
According to psychologist and professor Richard Lazarus, stress is, “a condition or feeling experienced when a person feels like demands exceed the personal and social resources they are able to mobilize.” We face stress if we consider that we don’t have the time, resources, or knowledge to deal with a situation. In a word, we undergo stress when we feel “out of control.”
What are the signs of stress?
Everyone reacts to stress differently but many signs and symptoms are common to most people. These include:
- Frequent headaches.
- Cold or sweaty hands and feet.
- Frequent heartburn, stomach pain, or nausea.
- Panic attacks.
- Excessive sleeping, or insomnia.
- Persistent difficulty to concentrate.
- Obsessive or compulsive behaviors.
- Social withdrawal or isolation.
- Constant fatigue.
- Irritability and angry episodes.
- Significant weight gain or loss.
- Consistent feelings of being overwhelmed or overloaded.
What are the Consequences of Stress?
Stress influences our aptitude to do our jobs efficiently, and it impacts the way we work with other people. This can have a major effect on our careers, as well as on our general well-being and relationships.
Long-term stress can also cause conditions such as burnout, cardiovascular disease, strokes, depression, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.
How to manage Stress?
The first thing to do in managing stress is to understand where these feeling are coming from. Take action where you can.
There are also many approaches to deal with stress which include:
- Practicing relaxation techniques: breathing exercises, meditation, prayer, yoga…
- Exercising regularly: You’ll feel better and be more prepared to handle problems.
- Healthy eating.
- Saying no, when you can, to things that would add more stress to your life.
- Making time for hobbies and interests.
- Getting enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
One other important approach is knowing how to manage your time. For this purpose, you need to:
- Always use a TO-DO list: Write down all the activities that you long to do more of―whether they’re things that make you happy, relaxed, sane(r), or all three.
- Set personal goals. This can be very important to manage your time because goals can give you a path and a vision to work toward. Knowing where to go helps you manage your resources and priorities.
- Prioritize. It is important to know how to prioritize tasks efficiently in order to manage your time better even though sometimes it is hard to know how to do it especially in front of a flood of urgent tasks…
- Avoid procrastination. Don’t put off tasks that you can do today for another time. Tell yourself that you are going to start on a project for some minutes. And start!
- Don’t take too many projects and commitments. This can lead to little performance, to stress and demotivation. Learn to say “yes” to the person but “no” to the task.
- Avoid multitasking. Take one task at a time and don’t waste your time on working on many simultaneously. This can lead to poor results and errors. Instead focus on one thing and you will get higher quality of work.
- Take breaks. Don’t think that if you take a break you will be wasting time. On the contrary, this will help you to disconnect and then be able to think more creatively and work efficiently.
Finally, Don’t worry, be happy. According to a recent Real Simple/GfK Roper happiness study, 65 percent of women who say they’re “very happy” make time for themselves. So which comes first, the time or the happiness?