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stress management
 
 
The True Meaning of Stress (in a nutshell:-)

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining
stress management to an audience; with a raised glass of water, and everyone
knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half
full?'...... she fooled them all... "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile.

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I
hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for
an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll
have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer
I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is
with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the
burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." (of course, some burdens are heavier than others, and you'll have to call the ambulance sooner! :-)

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest
before holding it again (in this way, we get stronger). When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night... pick them up tomorrow.
  
 Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment. Relax, pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it and the now 'supposed' stress that you've conquered!"    
 
I think the above article summarizes stress management really well, but the reality is that it's not that simple for most people. If you have any obsessive tendencies (and this includes many people) or a job in which the boundaries are not clearly defined (like management or self employment) then you will have difficulty setting down the burden. This is where an understanding of love tanks, and the parental love tank in particular, comes in handy.
Filling up our lovetanks give us the power to manage stress.         
 
 
 There are many healthy ways of dealing with stress, as well as many unhealthy ways. Physical and emotional illness can result from unhealthy ways of managing stress. Exercise and supplements (like glutamine) can help the body recover from intense workouts and resist illness. We all use both healthy and unhealthy ways of dealing with stress, those who are better at managing stress use more of the healthy ways.
 
Being hostile in a stressful situation, drowning stress with alcohol and/or drugs, living with muscle tension and headaches, diarhea and upset stomachs are some of the downsides of not managing stress well. These things at best are undesirable, and at worst can be life threatening. They can be unavoidable, that is, until you learn better ways of dealing with stress. I am still a work in progress, and so are most people! No one does a perfect job of managing stress, and it is unrealistic to think it is possible. That is one of my complaints about many of the self-help articles, they seem to be suggesting that if you haven't done away with your stress completely, you are a failure, and that is not the case. Stress is actually necessary, to a certain degree, to keep us strong. When astronauts are in space, their bones will become seriously weakened, if they are not stressed (exercised) on a regular basis.
 
How we see our situation plays a role in how much we stress over it. For instance, seeing the problem as a challenge, and an opportunity to grow and learn, changes it from a losing experience to a gain. For  each of us, there are specific stressors in our lives, and it's important to identify what they are. To recognize that stress is both inside and outside of us is a key thing. Just to recognize that a stressor is stressful can be helpful, to validate what you are feeling. Often times people try to talk us our of our stress, and it rarely works! It can seem as if they are saying that our situation is not stressful, and this is sure to raise your blood pressure! Perhaps a better approach is someone who talks us thru our stress.
 
We often believe we need that stress to get things done, to solve the problems. I sometimes find, when facing mismanagement in a company, or government office, that my anger helps motivate me to take care of myself in a situation where the other people are not doing their job properly. I think this is a valid use of anger, to try to remain too calm can work against you, and render you impotent to get done what you need to do to take care of yourself. On the other hand, it is tricky, it is very easy to shoot yourself in the foot by getting so angry that the other person takes it personally, and then you will never get them to do what you want them to do. And sometimes, they simply are not able to do what you need, and it is necessary to accept this. Just don't go straight to acceptance, or you will not take a look at what you could possibly do to remedy the situation. After you've done what you can, let go of the anger, it is of no further use, and will cause physical harm if held onto. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
 
These are a few of the relaxation techniques that are helpful. Stretching, moving the tense muscles, relaxing each muscle group, and meditation are good. I find focusing on the rhythm of my breathing, noticing how tense I am, letting my breathing deepen, letting go of my negative emotions, letting go of the need to do something, turning it over to God (allowing for the possibility that there is a higher power that can help you take care of things), these things all help me to let go of the stress. Sometimes I'm more successful that others! John Gray has a technique called feeling letters which can be very helpful. You'll find more on that on the page feeling letters. How we manage our negative emotions is the key to managing our stess.
 
It is also interesting to note that men and women handle their stress in different ways. To see a funny video on that, click on relationships.