Written By Elsie Velazquez Cert. Personal Trainer Prescription Fitness
Stress seems to be a universal experience. It does not seem to matter what gender you are, age, ethnicity, religion, etc. – we all experience it. Unfortunately, it is a normal part of life. Of course, we do not all experience stress in the same way nor do we all experience stress in the same circumstances. In other words, one person may become anxious in a traffic jam while another might find loud music an annoyance. A fight with a loved one might cause one person stress for the rest of the day while another might shrug it off and forget about it moments later.
The way we experience stress is partly based on our personality traits and the resources we have available. Extroverts tend to experience less stress in daily life while perfectionists bring stress on themselves unnecessarily and may experience more negative mental and physical health consequences than those who are not as concerned with perfection. Those who are “Type A” can stress everyone around them, including themselves.
One common thread we all share is the fact that we will all experience stress on a daily basis, and actually many of the stressors are the same for almost everyone. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following is a list of the most common stressors:
- Job and workplace unhappiness
- Money issues
- Personal/family relationships
- Daily struggles of getting things done – being too busy
- Fear and uncertainly
- Unrealistic expectations of ourselves and/or others
- Change – selling/buying a new home, divorce, marriage, etc.
While we cannot eliminate all stress in our lives, there are things we can do and steps we can take to reduce it before it takes a toll on our physical and mental health. Here are 10 suggestions:
- EXERCISE!!!! This is a proven way to reduce stress – it works by lowering cortisol…a stress hormone.
- Eat healthy and limit alcohol intake
- Adopt the right attitude – think positive thoughts
- Change/eliminate what you can – try solution-based coping for things you cannot
- Write it down – putting feelings to paper can help ease anxiety
- Reduce caffeine – if it makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back
- Laugh often – laughter is a great way to forget about things you are stressed about
- Spend time with friends and family who make you feel good about yourself
- Learn to say “no”. If your stress comes from doing too much – say no.
- Don’t procrastinate. It is easy to become overwhelmed when we lost track of our priorities