Coping with Stress in Our Fast-Pace World

By: Robert Thomson

The natural response most of us have to stress is to make it go away. But stress is a fact of life as much as food and air is and we will have stress at different levels every day. There are good stresses and bad causes of stress. If you land that exciting new job, that is a source of tremendous excitement and potential for you. But when you show up on the first day to do that job, the stress of taking on something new and challenging can be overwhelming. Even something as fun as a first date or Christmas can cause stress that could become a problem if you don't know how to deal with it.

While some turn to artificial means of dealing with stress such as alcohol or drugs, there are plenty of good healthy ways to cope with stress so the impact of the stress is not so debilitating to you. You cannot always eliminate stress and in many cases, you would not want to eliminate it because you would have to eliminate the opportunities that come with stressful situations. But you can develop good natural coping methods so you can diffuse the long term effects of the stress. And when you do that, you can become refreshed and empowered to deal with causes of stress with renewed energy each day.

Perhaps the best cure for stress is to find ways to put your mind elsewhere for a while. We all tend to obsess and worry about problematic situations. It is an act of will and a mental discipline to literally walk away from the cause of stress and forget about it for a while. This is particularly true of work related stress. The old saying, "leave your work at the office" is good stress management advice. To be able to forget about the problems and enjoy time with family and friends is one of the most powerful stress management methods there is.

Another old phrase goes, "living well is the best revenge". We can adapt that adage to say that living well is also an excellent method for coping with stress. A good diet and plenty of sleep can do more to empower you to grapple with stress than hours of worry can do. Sleep has the ability to wash the effects of stress out of your system if it can hold you long enough to work its magic. But you must be sure you don't "go to bed" with your stresses or you will obsess about them even when unconscious. Watch a movie, read a book or walk the dog to give yourself something different to dream about than your worries.

Exercise is also an outstanding stress management strategy. The effects of stress are often stored up in your body. We get sore necks or backs and become generally unhappy physically when stress has its way with us. By going on a walk, playing a round of tennis or working out on your Stairmaster, you allow your body to loosen up and release all that pent up tension. Its like working the stress right out of your system. And when stress cannot drag you down in your personal life, you have the ammunition to defeat it at its cause.

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