How are you doing today?
Hoping you are managing your stress, my friend.
Stress levels appear very high, even in individuals who typically do not have stress.
What is stress anyway? A popular definition is "our reaction to any stimuli." This definition makes more sense when we understand that there are two kinds of stress: negative distress and eustress, which is positive.
Distress often occurs when we have a hard time in life, have a racing mind, and do not see a positive outcome.
Eustress often occurs when we are trying to obtain a specific goal, things become difficult, yet we can see a possible positive outcome. For example, attending school and studying for finals, applying for a job and having concerns about the interview process, or buying a house and feeling pressure due to the enormous decision.
The questions I ask you are, "are you managing stress?" and "how do you know if you are managing your stress?"
Well, signs and symptoms of stress, positive or negative, are very easy to see.
The most apparent sign is unhappiness. If you are unhappy, chances are you are not managing stress.
Other signs include physical ailments, emotional instability, or change in survival habits like eating and sleeping, for example, not eating, overeating, the inability to fall asleep, to stay asleep, or to sleep at all.
In my opinion, the number one sign of stress is denial. Denial shows its ugly little self when we have excuses for our behavior or condition and rationalize that we are not stressed. Other people can see our stressful signs and symptoms, yet we justify them by saying, "everything is fine."
Managing stress is managing our life, which includes managing our energy, thoughts, feelings, and actions.
How do we manage our energy? We all know the answer to this question because living a healthy lifestyle is constantly in our faces with the media. Living a healthy lifestyle includes eating healthy, exercising, and getting plenty of rest. Eating healthy is eating for energy; in other words, eating plenty of vitamin-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and proteins and eliminating processed food. Processed food takes a lot of energy to digest and, therefore, depletes the power we can use to sustain our day and stress.
How do we manage our thoughts? The number one way to manage our thoughts, whether stressed or not, is by meditating. When we learn to quiet our minds, we are doing the opposite of stress because when we are stressed, our minds are racing.
Meditating and quieting the mind is the ultimate patience and focus, and stressing may become impatience, annoyance, irritation, and intolerance.
Another way to manage our thoughts is to have goals that combat our stress and faith that everything will be okay. We know everything will be okay because it always is. No matter what we go through, we always survive. When we set goals to combat our stress, we just work towards solutions rather than worrying about our problems. When we manage our thoughts, we manage our feelings because our feelings follow whatever we are thinking.
If we are worried about money, then we feel fear. If we set goals to make money and create confidence that everything will be okay, we will feel certainty and trust.
When we manage our thoughts, which govern our feelings, we work our actions. If we worry about certain things, we feel fear and act upon that fear. When we quiet our minds and focus, we feel calm and confident and act upon those feelings of calmness and confidence.
Managing our stress is recognizing our stressful habits, like fear, doubt, and worry, eliminating these habits, and then creating successful practices, like confidence, faith, and hope.
Praying for you and rooting for you to create confidence, faith, and hope so you may manage your stress.