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Written by Jimmie Burroughs Email this article to a friend
Stress can kill you if you don’t kill it first. It has been linked to five notorious killers…heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents and suicide. The common way to treat stress is through drugs. The problem with drugs is that they only treat the symptoms by numbing the brain so stress is not felt. The real root problem isn’t dealt with and waits to re-emerge.
If you are feeling stressed out right now, you are not alone. It may seem to you that others are happy and free of stress, but that is not so. Stress is no respecter of persons. Everyone must deal with it. It is a major cause for serious health problems.
Here are the facts concerning stress: Around 43% of adults suffer due to stress related health problems; 67% of all medical care from doctors and medical institutions is a direct result of stress related illness. This is evidence of how important it is for you to learn to deal with the stress in your life as quickly as possible.
Remember, the first obligation we have is to take responsibility for our own life, whatever condition it might presently be in. Blaming others or things outside yourself only increases the severity of your stress and never helps resolves it.
Therefore, the first thing in managing your stress is taking responsibility for your life and then secondly, taking charge of your life; which involves managing your thoughts, emotions, work issues, dealing with problems, family issues, health etc. The objective is twofold: eliminating and coping. Much of what stresses us is self induced and therefore can be eliminated, but there is some stress that we must learn to cope with and knowing the difference and how to go about it is the key.
Here’s a list of some of the most common causes of stress and how to cope with them; perhaps you can add the list:
- Bad relationships
- Using unhealthy ways to deal with stress
- Hidden sources of stress
- Overbearing boss
- Poor physical shape
- Not enough time for self
Dealing with hatred is essential if you ever plan to be happy. “Hating someone is like drinking poison yourself and hoping the offender will die from it” (T.H. Russell). Hatred and bitterness is a poison to the soul that must be eliminated before it eliminates you. It requires taking the movement of the mind under control. “Those who do not observe the movement of their own minds must of necessity be unhappy.” (Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome).
Learning right thinking is an important concept since stress, worry, depression and anxiety are all mind games to be played out in the channels of the mind. “The one supreme power that guarantees personal happiness is personal right thinking. This right thinking is based on practical wisdom.” (T.H. Russell). Learning wisdom and how to use it is a basic key to solving all the problems of life including stress.
Bad relationships are hardest to deal with if the relationship is with someone that you must be in contact with often. While I don’t believe in divorce, the fact remains that sometimes a marriage partner is impossible to cope with. Other acquaintances that cause continual stress should be dropped without question. Avoiding negative and stressful people is avoiding a lot of unnecessary stress, and if not avoidable, precaution must be taken to not allow then to pull you into their web of misery. Remain alert to these people’s tactics for drawing you in with their negative comments and bad attitudes. Here is a neat quote that you can use the next time a negative person tries to draw you in to their poisonous conversation: “I have nothing to say on that.” Their attacks can be thwarted and avoided this way.
Negative people want to get you involved in their defeat. Vernon Howard writes, “An attitude of defeat in another person cannot touch you unless you carelessly accept it as yours. And there is no need at all for you to accept it. A quiet refusal to enter the battlefield is a perfect reply.”
Indebtedness is another very common cause of stress. It is often a self set trap brought about by lack of money management skills. Space does not allow a comprehensive discussion on how to cope with debt. “10 proven steps to financial freedom” is a good resource for learning how to eliminate stress caused by indebtedness, through financial freedom.
Using unhealthy ways to deal with stress often increases stress or creates additional problems. Below is a list of things to be avoided:
- Self withdrawal
- Overindulging in TV
- Under eating
- Using drugs
- Too much Sleep
- lashing out with outbursts of angry & physical violence
- Blaming others and things
- Avoiding facing stress & problems
Hidden sources of stress are those things we are not readily aware of; therefore, they present the greatest challenge. Discovering hidden sources of stress requires discernment of our inner self. You might begin by making a list of those things that you feel add pleasure and happiness to life and checking to see how many are missing from your life, or perhaps if all; that could tell you about some of your hidden stressors. Physical health problems are also a source of hidden stress; in this case medical attention is needed. Sometimes professional counselors are needed to determine what may be the cause of stress and unhappiness.
Overbearing bosses are indeed at the top of the list for causing stress. The first objective is to overcome whatever fear you may have of your boss. The reason he is difficult in the first place is that he has some personal un-dealt with problems in his life. Most commonly it is a feeling of being inferior, so to compensate he plays out the part of lording it over others to show his power, trying to build his own personal self esteem. He is just a man or a woman, whatever the case may be, and is in no way superior to you. There is absolutely no reason you should be fearful of him or her.
How to deal with an overbearing boss can be a tricky situation. I will suggest three ways here that you might want to consider: The first suggestion is to talk with him and let him know in no uncertain terms that you have no fear of him. Let him know that you feel that he is trying to intimidate you and that it will have no bearing on you and your intention to do the best job you can. In order to take this approach you must be an asset and be contributing to the work force. If you are a sloppy worker it might just be his excuse to fire you. You must face the possibility that in the worst case scenario he will fire you. But even that would be better than facing him every day for the rest of your life under the present conditions.
The second suggestion is paying no attention to him and quietly going about your job. This is very hard and takes a lot of self-discipline that many do not have but if you are one who does, it will resolve the issue.
The third suggestion is finding another job, or the absolute best thing to do is to become your own boss. Being your own boss does not eliminate all of the stress but it sure beats the 40 hour a week JOB and dealing with bosses who should never be bosses.
Poor physical shape causes a low resistance to stress; increase your resistance by forming a new healthy lifestyle:
- Start a healthy diet; cut out unhealthy junk food.
- Get the proper exercise; you may not like it but it is essential.
- Control the amount of caffeine and sugar in your diet.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol altogether.
- Get 8 hours of sleep per night.
Not taking enough time for yourself can make for a dull existence. Making time to have fun and relax is healing to the soul. Loving yourself and taking time to nurture yourself is a positive approach to dealing with any kind of stress. Below are some healthy ways to get started:
- Plan a relaxing vacation each year.
- Enjoy your family and friends.
- Start an exercise routine; it will relieve stress.
- Take long walks in a beautiful environment.
- Write your stress away. (Write how you feel in a journal.)
- Take up a hobby.
- Read a good book.
- Go to a live show.
- Gardening is great source of exercise and also releases stress.
- Learn to play a musical instrument or just listen to music.
- Get a pet, if you don’t have one.
- Enjoy your favorite meal out with someone you love.
I stand behind each one of the concepts I write about in this article. I have personally used each one and proven them to be effective. Consequently the stress level is almost nil in my own life. Of course I haven’t included all about stress in just this one article. This is my first on the topic, to be followed by many more I hope. Even though I know these concepts work, I can only offer them to you for information only and not to be considered as a substitute for the need of professional help. Some problems with stress have medical or mental ramifications and need medical attention, medication or professional counseling.
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