Updated August 31, 2023
Definition of Stress Management Skills
We are all familiar with the word ‘stress’; nowadays, it has become a prominent issue. The mental stress that doesn’t get noticed leads to physical stress. Most people cannot cope with or deal with stress properly. Doctors, scientists, and psychologists confirm that a high percentage of diseases have a psychosomatic cause; these diseases are induced by tensions, pressures, or a negative attitude towards life that influence the body and the mind and, in due course of time, lead to a medical disorder.
In addition, a highly stressed mind loses ethical values like humaneness, respect, compassion, and caring for others. So stress is a very high-risk factor we are dealing with in our day-to-day lives. Understanding the cause of stress and learning effective measures to make our stress as eustress rather than distress is important. In this topic, we are going to learn about Stress Management Skills.
What is Stress and Stress Management?
Stress is a mental reaction to our body’s experiences due to a demanding circumstance or event requiring immediate attention. This reaction initiates our nervous system to produce adrenaline and cortisol hormones and release them in our blood system; gradually, it suppresses the functions of our immune, digestive, and reproductive systems. That is why it becomes essential to handle our stress levels effectively to keep ourselves physically and mentally fit.
Stress management is a process that helps an individual to control stress levels by practicing self-care relaxation and also imparts some techniques to handle stress when it occurs. It is a “set of techniques and programs intended to help people to deal more effectively with stress in their lives by analyzing the specific stressors and taking positive actions to minimize their effect” (Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine).
Causes of Stress
The actual cause of stress varies from person to person; a situation may be stressful for an individual, but for others, it may be challenging. The various stressful conditions and situations which plague the mind of many people are called ‘stressors’. The stressors are generated by our perceptions depending on our personal traits, thought processes, habits, available resources, etc. Some people consider financial issues, health problems, conflict in the relationship, job satisfaction, etc., as the source of conflict, while others become stressed by mundane issues like a busy schedule or time pressure. Actually, when the challenges are greater than our ability to encounter them, we feel stress.
Effects of Stress
We always consider stress as a negative impression on our minds. However, a certain amount of tension is helpful for triggering a stimulus to overcome the challenging situation. A certain amount of positive stress, known as eustress, is vital to enhance our positive energy. On the other hand, negative stress, which we call distress, is responsible for all kinds of physical, mental, and behavioral problems. The below diagram clarifies the various patterns of stress levels.
Importance of Stress Management
If we start to live with a high level of stress, it impacts our mental equilibrium as well as physical health. We detract from a healthy lifestyle, and even a lot of stress also hampers our productivity level. The ultimate purpose of our life is to enjoy a balanced life with timely work, healthy relationships, relaxation, and fun. That is why effective stress management is essential to handle our stress level efficiently, think clearly, perform our professional role productively, and relish a healthy life.
Various Skills or Techniques to Handle Stress
In the process of stress management, it is our skill to find the source from where the stress begins; in order to prevent the stress from occurring at the outset, we should follow some strategies. But then, stress management strategies vary from person to person based on the individual’s stressors. Various stress management techniques can be implemented to handle stress effectively. Some approaches address stress physically and psychologically and help to develop the skill of resilience.
Some useful stress management techniques include:
- Time Management: Time limitations can elicit stress in people’s lives. Work schedules sometimes become overloaded, which causes some individuals to feel overwhelmed. In order to manage this kind of situation, one can make a plan of priorities to do the work accordingly. This will help to reduce the stress and even a manageable schedule that can be completed within the time frame.
- Self-limitation: Knowing your limitations and performing your work accordingly helps alleviate unnecessary stress. Creating your own boundaries is essential for healthy, stress-free living. Boundaries mean we create internal rules for ourselves to take care of our well-being. Sometimes it is good not to be involved in any kind of racing thoughts, which may also aggravate stress. It is suggestible to deviate your mind from that kind of thought and involve yourself with some activities which give relaxation and refreshment to your mind.
- Friendly social network: Sometimes, a supportive network of friends and relatives help to face challenging situation with stability and less stress. Their encouraging words and listening ears become supportive.
- Reduce the noise: You may try to distract yourself from all kinds of technologically advanced gadgets and manage some time to stay quiet. You can notice that the things you consider most important for daily life are very trivial.
- ABC technique: The well-known ABC (A – Adversity or stressful situation, B – Beliefs or the way response to the situation, C – Consequences or the result of your belief) technique was first introduced by psychiatrist DR. Albert Ellis, and later it was adopted by Martin Seligman. The purpose of the technique is to think optimistically.
- Healthy Diet: A healthy balanced diet gives fuel to the body and mind function; it helps us to cope up with any stressful situation. Reducing the consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and sugar is a proven way of decreasing stress or anxiety. If our body gets proper nutrients, stress can likely occur in our everyday life.
- Exercise: Maintaining a consistent routine of exercise is a sign of following a healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps our body to reduce tension and relax muscles.
- Meditation: Use the techniques of deep breathing, breathing exercises, yoga, yogic sleep, and meditation to control our physical and mental being. Meditation helps calm our body and mind to awaken our inner power.
- Sleep habit: Adequate sleep is necessary to rejuvenate ourselves. It is helpful to boost our immune power and also increases mental alertness, memory, and concentration.
Actually, stress comes about because our mind is everywhere, either regretting the past or glorifying the future. That is why we should develop certain stress management skills to cope up with stress in our daily activities and be able to adore a healthy life.
This has been a guide to Stress Management Skills. Here, we have discussed causes, effects, useful stress management techniques, and various stress-handling skills. You may also look at the following article to learn more –