Understanding Stress

When it comes to understanding stress, there are many myths can be misleading or damaging. Debunking these myths can go a long way toward overcoming the feelings of stress that we all experience from time to time.

7 Helpful Hints on Understanding Stress

Here are some of the myths of stress management for you to watch out for, and some hints on how to deal with those times when you feel overwhelmed.

Some Stress is Good

While it’s been said that some stress is good – for example, the stress you feel when you have a big presentation coming up is said to motivate you to do better – but “stress” may not be the right word to describe what motivates you to work hard on your presentation. Instead, it might be inspiration or stimulation, not stress. When we’re talking about chronic stress, it’s not ever good.

Stress is Unavoidable

This myth might come from the prevalent nature of stress – people feel it’s “just life.” But feeling stressed all the time is indeed avoidable, even though we can’t always control or choose every circumstance and situation.

Rather, changing your mindset and practicing mindfulness can actually decrease stress hormone levels, sources say. So reducing stress is certainly possible, meaning that not all stress is unavoidable.

All Stress is Caused by Circumstances

This may tie in with #2, where people assume that since they can’t control their circumstances, they can’t avoid stress. But stress is more about how you respond to circumstances than the circumstances themselves. Yes, some things are inherently stressful; but how you work through those emotions and manage them has a lot to do with how much stress you experience.

Stress is Part of “Making It”

When you picture a successful person, you may picture him or her madly working, never resting, and being completely driven and stressed out. But actually, it’s not healthy to be a workaholic, and it’s not necessary to stress yourself out to be successful.

If You “Feel Fine” You’re Not Stressed

Not necessarily so, unfortunately. Of course, if you’re not stressed, you probably won’t have symptoms; but it’s possible to be stressed and not show any symptoms at all, or experience symptoms that are not generally associated with stress. For instance, a stressed person may experience physical problems like shortness of breath or headaches. Other times, the symptoms are psychological or mental, such as memory problems or being disorganized.

Stress is “No Big Deal”

This myth implies that stress only needs to be addressed if it becomes a big deal, such as when it results in a heart attack. But why ignore stress until it tries to kill you? It makes more sense to manage it before the big crisis hits, which is why the “no big deal” myth can be so dangerous.

There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

One of the worst things about feeling stressed is the overwhelming notion that you can’t do anything about it. So it only makes sense that taking action is one of the best ways of dealing with stress.

Are you feeling like the situation is completely out of your control? Do something, even if it’s only something small, to take back some kind of control. Even just taking a few deep breaths and controlling your breathing can help you to feel empowered in a difficult, stressful situation.

Understanding stress can go a long way toward overcoming it. The bottom line with all these myths is, if you feel over-stressed, it’s time to seek help and start to practice appropriate stress management techniques.

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Norma Esler
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