You may experience stress as:
· Feelings of sensory overload, diminishing control, generalized anxiety, or rising tension.
· Racing thoughts, a mild sense of panic, impending disaster, or of being trapped.
· Edginess, argumentativeness, a quick temper, mild anger, or reactivity.
The following general actions may be helpful:
· Identify the stressor. (For example, you may be abused, neglected, exploited, overworked, or saddled with too much responsibility.)
· Make a genuine attempt to recognize and understand your own responses to the stressor. (For example, you may be experiencing a mild social anxiety, an inability to articulate concerns, an oversensitivity to criticism, difficulty in managing anger, or symptoms of a depressive episode.)
· Develop and implement a plan for changing or eliminating the stressor, or managing your response to it.
Throughout this work, specific options for management of stress are presented. Suggestions for dealing directly with stress are presented in Balance. Relaxation techniques are suggested in Calm. A brief process for issue analysis is presented in Concentration. The value of seeking personal performance feedback is discussed in Criticism. Preparation for managing perceived threat is discussed in Defense. Holistic personal management is encouraged in Discipline. Ability to maintain grace under pressure is described in Equanimity. Stress reduction benefits of physical conditioning are discussed in Exercise. Elements and benefits of a balanced life are described in Holistic Health. Optimal function through self-management is discussed in Mastery. A brief daily meditation ritual is offered in Meditation. A technique for focusing thoughts, and the benefits of doing so, are described in Mindfulness. A problem-solving model with stress management potential is presented in Problem-Solving. The value of preparedness for expected adversity is described in Readiness. Accessing calm through progressive muscle relaxation is described in Relaxation. Analyses of stress-related behavior are discussed in Restraint. Rewards of a quiet environment are described in Silence. Cognitive and creative benefits of an unhurried life are discussed in Slowing Down.
If you are effectively managing stress, you are enjoying an organized, systematic, disciplined life of health and creativity. Your coolness helps others remain calm in a crisis. Your stability de-escalates emotional tension during interpersonal conflict. Your example inspires others toward optimum functioning.
‘How refreshing, the whinny of a packhorse unloaded of everything!’ –Zen saying