How often, in your typical week-day, do you say that you feel stressed?
How often, due to the said feeling, do you find yourself unable to focus on the task at hand?
How often do you feel overburdened by life and the challenges it regularly pelts us with?
It is normal to feel that way, from time-to-time. However, we should understand the fact that stress can be regulated. The tools and techniques which help us do that are collectively known as stress management.
What is stress?
Stress is a normal reaction to any changes that may occur internally (physical, or mental changes) or externally (environmental or social changes). This reaction is felt as a feeling of emotional, mental, or physiological strain.
Good Stress & Bad Stress
Stress is a normal part and parcel of our lives. It can be good for us as well. Stress is the motivator behind you working extra hard for that bonus, or finishing the last few crucial reps of a workout routine. However, it can be debilitatingly harmful if you don’t learn how to appropriately cope with stress and get a good grip over your life.
The level of stress that is good and healthy for us is called eustress. It helps us perform our tasks efficiently and manage minor crises. However, eustress can turn into distress if not managed the right way. This level of stress exceeds our ability to cope and has many severe physiological manifestations, too.
Why is managing stress so important?
Stress is a powerful feeling that can make or break your entire well-being. It can, if not handled properly, completely shake the foundations of your career and relationships. Just like that, your whole life could be impacted.
If you felt uneasy reading that; hold on, we’re not here to overwhelm you.
In fact, we’re here to help. But to do that, we need to make you realize the significance of what we’re trying to help you with.
A staggering 92 per cent of the working population of Singapore report feeling stressed, as revealed by the Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey. This is much higher than the global average. Moreover, 13 percent of this group report that their stress is unmanageable.
You could very well be contributing to that percentage.
Now, you see; if you’re living with an uncontrollably high amount of stress, you’re not just putting your mental health at risk, you’re also very likely to have poor physical health. It is a proven fact that stressed individuals are likelier to expose themselves to pathogens of illnesses. Around 60-80% doctor visits are stress-related. This is because distress impacts our immunity levels drastically.
Moreover, stressed people are also much more susceptible to taking part in health impairing activities such as:
- Consuming high amounts of alcohol
- High dietary fat consumption
- Substance abuse
- Unsafe sexual practices
- Risky driving
- Antisocial behaviour
- Violent or suicidal behaviour
Physical health problems and chronic illnesses like ulcers, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and even cancer have strong links with stress. This makes stress management not only an important skill to have, but also necessary for one’s survival.
Learning how to deal with stress, in this sense, immunises us in many ways against both physical and mental health complications.
How to manage stress?
1.Practice relaxation techniques.
Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is one of the most popular ways to relieve stress. It plays a crucial role in reducing symptoms of stress.
- Begin by tensing a group of muscles. If you’re hurt somewhere, presumably due to stress-related causes, then tense the muscles around that area, otherwise, you can either begin with facial muscles or foot muscles.
- Breathe in for about 6 seconds as you tense your muscles this way.
- Relax the muscles suddenly and abruptly as you breathe out.
- Relax for a few seconds before you repeat the procedure with the next muscle group.
Meditation techniques are the age old method of reducing stress.
Meditation usually involves focusing your attention to a particular object, thought or bodily sensation. The attention is generally focused on the breath. This focused attention and increased level of concentration helps the meditator achieve an altered state of consciousness which can prove to be very healing and relaxing.
3.Working out is the key to keeping stress in control.
Exercising and working out regularly is the simplest way to reduce stress in life. It is very cathartic and also improves the functioning of the heart, improves blood circulation, lowers blood pressure, etc. Working out at least 3 to 4 times a week for 30 to 40 minutes is crucial for health.
4.Are you an imaginative person? Well, then imagine things that make you feel good.
Creative visualisation involves the usage of imagery to help calm the mind. Any scene, like that of a serene beach, or beautiful stratocumuli in a dazzling blue sky on a windy day, or a sunrise in the hills, is imagined. Then, one lets go of all the tension in the facial muscles, the limbs, and then gradually the whole body. All attention is focused on the scene and it’s visualised for as long as required to soothe away any stressful feelings and thoughts.
5.Start writing a self-reflection journal.
Being one of the most ancient forms of self-help in the world, journaling is most definitely a tried and tested way to vent out your feelings appropriately, learn much more about yourself and grow and mature holistically as a person. We often prescribe journaling to our clients, as well. As long as you begin journaling with the intention of increasing your self-awareness, journaling can help you accomplish wonders.
Incontact’s Counselling & Therapy Services for Stress Management
At Incontact, we believe that every individual and his or her experiences are unique. Therefore, every individual requires a unique treatment plan. Our team of extensively experienced professionals adapt and evolve the treatment plan according to the client’s distinctive needs. We strive to create an eclectic mix of different concepts and therapeutic approaches to resolve the specific issues that you may be experiencing. For more information on our services offered for stress management, visit our service page for the same.
Frequently Asked Questions about Stress Management
Q. Can I completely eliminate stress?
No. It isn’t possible to eliminate stress from life. In fact, it’d be unrealistic to think that way. However it is crucial to make use of at least one stress management technique everyday to reduce stress.
Q. Can stress be a positive thing?
Yes, stress in a small amount isn’t only good for us, but is necessary for our optimum functioning. It helps us achieve our goals and keep us up and running. In fact, too little stress can make us feel quite listless and low on motivation.