Stress is often referred to as the silent killer and causes many harmful, often overlooked effects, which can introduce pain and strain into your daily activities. It can affect your work, school, friendships, relationships and even sleep habits. It can result in physical suffering as well and can manifest as a headache, upset stomach or back pain. Stress can reduce the ability of your immune system to fight off colds and other illnesses the body would normally be able to fend off. In fact, Dr. David Danskin from Kansas State University estimates that 85% of doctor visits are due to stress-related causes. It’s important to learn how to effectively identify and manage stress in your life to increase your longevity and become a happier, healthier person.
The first step in managing stress is identifying the cause. This may be a major life event that has recently occurred. A recent job change, marriage, increased workload or new baby can all lead to increased personal stress. Sometimes the causes are not obvious, such as poor time management skills, excessive worrying and ineffective coping strategies. Here are a few strategies you can use to combat the stress in your life.
Tip 1: Keep a daily stress journal. This will help identify how much stress you are under, potential stress triggers and ways to reduce stress in your life. Take 15 minutes a day to describe any event that caused you to become stressed and any resulting emotional or physical response. Over time, you will be able to identify patterns, which will help you develop healthy management strategies. Label your entries with the date and time and use adjectives! Take your stress journal to your doctor if you need additional advice.