How to Deal with Stress-A Three Step Approach

By Val Silver

stress relief

Do you know how to deal with stress so it doesn't get the best of you mentally and physically? Pressure at home, school, work, your health, finances and relationships, can all leave you feeling stressed out and unhappy.

Life's stressful situations can't always be avoided, but there are ways to reduce, eliminate, and manage them. This three-pronged approach will help you deal with in-the-moment mental distress, long-term emotional challenges, and the negative effects stress wreaks on your health over time.

With much unhappiness and the vast majority of illnesses being blamed on stress, these strategies for how to deal with stress effectively are a must.

A Three-Pronged Approach for Dealing with Stress

The following three-pronged holistic stress relief approach will help you enjoy greater levels of calm and well-being. You will feel less reactive and more in control and it helps protect your body from the effects of mental distress.

For best results, choose and use the principles and techniques from each category regularly. They are in no particular order. Numbers one and two are easiest. Number three will yield the deepest long-lasting results. 

1. Short-circuit acute and chronic stress. 

Acute stress includes annoyances, conflicts, upsets, and overwhelm that occasionally have you feeling stressed out. When you are often or perpetually worked up, short-tempered, anxious or overwhelmed, that makes for chronic stress. 

For most of us, chronic mental distress is a given. We get too busy and burn the candle at both ends. We stew over past and future situations. We worry, fret and push ourselves. It has become such a way of life that for many of us it feels normal.

Infrequent bouts of mental and emotional distress are not harmful. Your body is designed to get you out of the path of the occasional saber-toothed tiger with no ill effects. At times, a little adrenaline kick once in a while energizes and motivates you to get up and get doing what needs to get done. When you are in a positive frame of mind about it, this eustress is beneficial. on the other hand, a steady diet of distress and its accompanying physical demands of fright, flight and freeze is likely to take its toll sooner or later.

The trick is to minimize distress and use good, or positive eustress to your advantage. Better yet, learn to tap into the calm, focused, good-feeling energy springing from your inner space of intention and inspiration rather than force of will or fear. Don't confuse "adrenaline addiction" for this positive state. An example of this is always rushing to meetings and arriving almost late and energized.

Take some time to observe yourself and be aware of your mental and physical states throughout the day. Where there is tension, tightness, tunnel vision, fear, temper or the blues, there is distress. Then visit one or more of the following pages for manage it.

2. Shore up your mind and body reserves. 

Whether you are dealing with an ongoing difficult situation or a series of everyday troubles, you will be better equipped to handle them mentally and physically if your mind and body are resilient and have reserves.

A mind that is resilient and clear adapts and rises to challenges. It may even become better because of them. 

Commit to telling yourself the truth about situations without "awfulizing", exaggerating negatives, and taking the victim role. See where you have control, which maybe only over yourself, and claim it. Develop flexibility and strength of mind so you can weather the storm, adapt, and conceive of creative solutions. 

Your body naturally knows how to deal with stress and return to a state of balance. When your body has energy and nutrients in reserve, a short-term drain is not harmful. Chronic mental stress or severe acute stress saps your energy and makes you vulnerable to a variety of illnesses.

Help you body cope with stress by living a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, sleep well, and practice relaxation techniques such as these mind body exercises.  When your body has the resources it needs, it can cope with greater demands and regain normal functioning with greater ease.

Herbs are also important allies in reducing stress and protecting your body from its effects. Relaxing herbs such as chamomile tea ease mental and emotional stress, as well as muscle tension, indigestion, sleeplessness and other physical symptoms caused by stress.  Rhodiola rosea, ashwagandha and other adaptogenic tonic herbs protect you physically from ill effects and may even promote better mental functioning and athletic performance.

If you are already ill, alleviating as much mental and physical distress is absolutely essential if you are to heal. Be diligent in keeping mental disturbances at bay. Deal with chronic and acute stress and take steps to protect your body from its ill effects. 

3. Eliminate head trash.

Reducing the amount of negative and constantly draining thoughts, emotions, and beliefs that you carry around in your head is ultimately the most important method of how to deal with stress permanently. Head trash is the undercurrent of troubling self-talk that keeps your worry, upset, discouragement, limitation, guilt and anger perpetually bubbling just under the surface. All by itself it can keep you feeling stressed out. 

These conscious and unconscious feelings build up and take up your mental energy, making it is more difficult for you to cope with annoyances, challenges, and perceived threats as they arise.  Over time long standing stinking thinking can lead to undesired brain changes that create feelings of depression, anxiety, anger or being on edge more often than not.

Fortunately, you can take charge of your emotional state and eliminate a good portion of the negative stuff in your mental trash barrel. It can be easier to do than you may think. As a result, your natural state of being will be more peaceful, life will be happier, and you get triggered less by everyday hassles. It is a great feeling to come face to face with an irritating someone or something  and to be able to respond as you wish and not react. That's how you know you have made progress with your healing and personal evolution, and that at least some mental garbage is no longer in your head.  

Spend as much time as you need exploring the principles and techniques for clearing head trash. Think of it as a lifetime process that will help you feel better and better about your life. 

Approach stress management with this three pronged approach in mind. It will help you relax, heal and evolve personally. You will be healthier and happier for it. 

For complete information about how stress affects you mentally and physically, and how to deal with stress, visit the Natural Stress Relief Guide.

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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