Like most things, stress is good when used correctly.  There are times when “stress” can be very beneficial.  For example, let’s say that your being chased by a bear, you don’t want to sit back and pop in the Yanni CD, you want to run.  That is where stress comes in, it tells the body to prepare for evasive action, without it you would be a sitting duck in headphones.

To much of a good thing can be bad.  Stress is intended to remove us from harms way in short bursts, it is not intended for extended use.  Using stress over a long period of time is like trying to sprit a marathon; you need to pace yourself.   Rarely is the stress that we experience in our day to day lives life-threatening, but our bodies don’t know the difference.  The  signals from the brain that keep you from getting eaten by the bear are the same signals that are firing when you have a project that is due or you’re running late.

Just as a sprinter who attempts a marathon, you to will burn out and need a boost.  You might be tempted to start your day with a cup of coffee to get your worn-out systems moving, but that is like putting the wrong fuel in your car!  You body makes it’s own stimulants, but often has a tough time keeping up with the demands of a stressed out individual.  When that happens, you become sluggish and rely on the caffeine cycle to make it through the day. <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:”Cambria Math”; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:1; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;} @font-face {font-family:Calibri; panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:swiss; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073750139 0 0 159 0;} @font-face {font-family:Consolas; panose-1:2 11 6 9 2 2 4 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:modern; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073750091 0 0 159 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; margin-top:0in; margin-right:0in; margin-bottom:10.0pt; margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} p.MsoPlainText, li.MsoPlainText, div.MsoPlainText {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-link:”Plain Text Char”; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.5pt; font-family:Consolas; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} span.PlainTextChar {mso-style-name:”Plain Text Char”; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-locked:yes; mso-style-link:”Plain Text”; mso-ansi-font-size:10.5pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.5pt; font-family:Consolas; mso-ascii-font-family:Consolas; mso-hansi-font-family:Consolas;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoPapDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; margin-bottom:10.0pt; line-height:115%;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} –>

I am sure this scenario sounds familiar to just about anyone in the industrialized world, but does it have to be this way?  As I mentioned earlier, for the most part the stress that we experience is in our heads and stressing about these things doesn’t help one bit.  So, that’s easy enough…stop stressing!  If it were only that easy.

There are a lot of things you can do to help deal with stress and many of them are simple and cost little or nothing.  My favorite is to:

Make a mole hill out of a mountain

Often we get stressed because we’re overwhelmed with tasks that really are not all that important.  It’s easy to let all of these task pile up to be a mountain of stress, while their is really nothing more than a mole hill of tasks.

  • Stop what your doing and turn off the TV, radio or whatever is distracting you
  • Write out the tasks you need to get done
  • Prioritize the tasks
  • Sit back and look at your mountain and watch it shrink

If your stress is created in your mind then you can exercise some control over the stress. There are a number of great way to control stress and this is just one.