6 Things You Need to Know to De-stress

Doctors define stress as feelings or conditions that affect your ability to function normally —physically or emotionally. Take the quiz and learn 6 things you might not know about how stress can affect your life.

1. If I were stressed, I would know it. I would feel angry all the time or burned out.

o True
o False

False. Different people experience stress in different ways. Some people yell or get angry easily, but others may have trouble sleeping, get headaches, feel overwhelmed, lose interest in eating, or eat constantly. Some people just feel sad and don’t want to participate in anything. It’s important to recognize when you’re feeling stressed and deal with the reasons for it. The longer you ignore what you’re experiencing, the worse it can get.

2. Stress can weaken your immune system.

o True
o False

True. If you’re already experiencing an illness or a disease, such as heart disease, asthma, or high blood pressure, stress can make the symptoms much worse. Stress that is not dealt with also can weaken the immune system and put you at risk for more colds and infections. Studies have also shown that ongoing stress can make it harder for you to heal from wounds.

3. I don’t have any control over outside factors that are causing my stress, such as my job, so there’s nothing I can do to control my stress.

o True
o False

False. Stress has two parts: the things we can’t control and those we can. We might not be able to control losing a job, having a spouse leave, losing our home, or having someone else take out his unhappiness on us. But we can control how we respond to bad situations. The healthier we are physically, the more focus and energy we can bring to dealing with stressful situations.

Eating right, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep all help us handle stress better. It can also help us think more clearly, increasing the chances that we will see new ways to resolve the problems causing the stress. Identify the things causing the stress in your life that you can control, and focus on removing them.

4. Counseling for stress always lasts a long time, and it’s always expensive.

o True
o False

False. There are many places you can turn to for counseling. EPFMC offers counseling for our patients who are experiencing stress that is affecting their health. You might be able to get the help you need in one session or you might need several. To manage your stress, talk to someone who can help.

5. I’m don’t need time management skills. I need more hours in a day to do everything I need to do.

o True
o False

False. We all get the same amount of time each day – 24 hours. Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep each night to be at our best. That leaves about 16 waking hours to live our lives. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, we have to make a few choices about how we spend our time:

  • We have to prioritize. Decide which things are most important.
  • Schedule your activities. Give your priorities priority in your schedule.
  • Learn to say “No.” When you’re considering adding to your things to do, check your schedule first. Don’t schedule on top of another activity and tell yourself you will just figure out how to get it done. This creates stress. This is where you have to decide. Choose the things that support your priorities. Say “No” to things that don’t.
  • Identify time wasters - the things you’re doing now that waste your time. Start by writing down everything you do during the day for at least a week. Then, sit down and analyze which ones make sense based on your priorities. Begin to eliminate the others. This might not necessarily be easy, but it is necessary. You might need to delegate or find other people who can take over or share these tasks.

It’s OK to make yourself and your health a priority. One way to manage stress is to manage your time differently.

6. Getting rid of the clutter around me will help me relax.

o True
o False

True. Clutter is a huge time waster. It makes us angry with ourselves because we know we’re wasting time trying to find things. More, we know we have no one to blame for this time waste but ourselves. When everything in your home or office has a place, it’s easier to make yourself put it in its place. It’s also easier to train the other people who use your space or live with you to put things back where they “belong.”

Whenever you can, set aside a day or an hour a day and declutter one room at a time. Make sure everything in the room has a place that belongs only to it. Remove everything else from the room. Do this for every room. Get rid of (donate or give away) the things that have no place.

You’ll notice the peace it brings to your surroundings immediately. Never allow things to accumulate again. Make a rule: When something new comes into the home or office, something else has to leave. This way you don’t allow clutter.

Nothing may help us relieve stress as much as being with people we love and enjoy being with. People who have great friends, family relationships, pets, or co-workers seem to handle stress better than people who are isolated. So why not call someone you care about today? You’ll both feel less stressed because of it.