School and interaction are parts of life. They are necessary if you want to grow up basically as close to normal as possible. Maybe you work and become easily worried about projects or longer shifts, etc. What do these things have in common? Could you be stressed with school and the work that accompanies it? Definitely. What about social interaction or any other interaction? Sure. Work? Oh, yes.
How do you deal with the stressors in your life? Well, that’s what I want to figure out.I want to know how to deal with them the “right way.” Everyone stresses at one point or another over certain obstacles. So, what’s the secret? I’m sure more than half of us would love to find out.
I have taken an anatomy class where the teacher described the parts of the brain and the emotions released by those certain areas. I attended yoga classes where the instructor taught breathing techniques, as well as being aware of tensions and how to release them through physical movements. I have also taken a psychology class were the professor explained the reasons for particular stressors. These classes sparked my interest in discovering why people stress, what happens to their body’s chemistry, and especially how to curb stress.
I have certainly learned to focus my attention toward tasks that actually matter instead of stressing over little tasks such as, a list full of items to do, having a day packed with work that is due, or driving siblings around. A calmer friend of mine taught me how to allow things to just happen. This friend does not stress nearly as much as I do, (maybe not even at all but only for a few things). When he saw how worked up I became over my “to-do” list or driving people around, he told me to stop, calm down, and just get it done. Just do the work and just drive them to the place they need to be. He said to check off my list as I accomplished the items. Once I saw how ridiculous I was being, I began to approach my tasks differently. I learned to get my things done and check them off as I go. Yes, I will stress over tests or presentations or something of the sort, but now I let things roll off my shoulders if they don’t deserve my full attention. My friend still has to remind me to stop, breathe, and just get my stuff done, but I have gotten much better at handling my stress.
While researching and digging deeper into various studies, stories, and articles about how to deal with stress, I found Melissa Masikiewicz’s article about various solutions to handling stress. She explains that recognition of personal strengths and weaknesses and altering some habits can aid in the management of stress. Purvis Lashieka Hunter uncovers the life of three women who were faced with major stressors in their lives and the women revealed how they dealt with them. Christine Gorman writes in Time Magazine a list of things to do to help decrease the stressors in life. Her piece also includes a study done at the University of California, San Francisco on infants with stressed mothers. After my research, I added a few more tips to my list of how to handle stress. I hope you can do the same.
Masikiewicz, Melissa. “How to Handle Stress.” Career World 27.3 (1998): 22. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Apr. 2016
Melissa Masikiewicz writes “How to Handle Stress” because she recognizes the amount of stress put into everyday tasks; therefore, she names different solutions to manage stress. The signs of stress are as such, but not limited to, lack of concentration, anxiety, headaches, trouble sleeping, etc. Just like the pain tolerances, everyone has a different “stress tolerance.” Masikiewicz says that the first step in taking action toward decreasing stress is knowing the cause of it. Once you know the cause, you are better prepared to deal with it.
Masikiewicz uses Vera Peiffer’s book Stress Management to further explain the “hiccups” of life. People tend to be more stressed if their personality falls in line with anxious, perfectionists, ambitious, etc. because they are motivated by “what ifs.” Managing your lifestyle plays a large role in guarding yourself against stress. Getting enough exercise, a healthy balanced diet, and getting enough sleep are basic steps toward decreasing stress. Learning to recognize your strengths and weaknesses and how to use them to your advantage is beneficial. Some tips included in the article are: clearing your work area, breaking bigger tasks into smaller ones, visualizing yourself achieving something because it builds confidence, and so on.
Hunter, Lashieka Purvis. “How I Got It Together After Everything Fell Apart.” Essence 45.4 (2014): 114-116. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Apr. 2016
Hunter’s article uncovers the life of three women who found themselves in life-altering situations but overcame the obstacles. Ricki Fairley was a fifty-five year old mother and wife. She was diagnosed with a serious form of breast cancer. Her nurse suggested that she learn to manage her stress levels. Fairley thought she was only busy, not stressed, then the stressors in her life became noticeable: her dysfunctional marriage and rough relationship with her work partner. Soon she took initiative by filing for divorce and moved to open her own company. She began to put herself first and stated, “God is in control,” (Fairley).
The other two women mentioned faced similar stressors of unhealthy relationships or loss of loved ones. S. Michele Dorsey relied on her faith in Christ. Her mother always told her “it’s okay to be down but it’s not okay to stay down,” (Dorsey’s mother). Taryn King discovered the power of overcoming stress and obstacles in her life. She relied on timing. She states “timing is everything. Sometimes it’s not right at that moment. But later on, it’s perfect,” (King).
Gorman, Christine. “6 Lessons for Handling STRESS. (Cover Story).” Time 169.5 (2007): 80-85. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Apr. 2016
Gorman’s list of lessons for handling stress begins with remembering to breathe. Slow breathing forces the heart rate to slow on exhale and increase a bit on inhale. Gorman’s main complaint in this portion of her writing is that people nowadays live a life “on-call” for the world. Further into the cover story, she unveils the chemistry in the blood and brain patterns as stress/cortisol levels increase. The brain actually has an “off switch” for stress responses. The adrenal glands and hypothalamus work closely together to balance cortisol levels.
In the article, she provides a study that stress actually ages people before the years physically age them. The University of California, San Francisco compiled a study that showed the telomeres, (protective covering of the chromosomes), of children with chronic disorders were much shorter in length because the children’s mothers were more stressed than those who had mothers with lower stress levels. The article ends with tips on how to relax- deep breathing, getting enough sleep, doing what you love, taking a break, etc.