What is Stress?
- Wear and tear we experience as we adjust to our continually changing environment
- Has physical effects on us i.e.: body aches, head aches, medical issues, etc
- Has emotional effects on us i.e.: random crying, angry outbursts, depression, etc
- Positive stress can compel us to action, new awareness and/or exciting new perspectives
- Negative stress can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger and depression, which in turn can lead to health problems
Can I Eliminate Stress?
Our goal is not to eliminate stress but to learn how to manage it and how to use it to help us. The goal is to find the optimal level of stress which will individually motivate but not overwhelm us.
How Can I Tell what is Optimal Stress for Me?
There is no single level of stress that is optimal for all people. We are all individual creatures with unique requirements. As such, what is distressing to one may be a joy to another. And even when we agree that a particular event is distressing, we are likely to differ in our physiological and psychological responses to it.
It has been found that many illnesses are related to unrelieved stress. If you are experiencing stress symptoms, you have gone beyond your optimal stress level; you need to reduce the stress in your life and/or improve your ability to manage it.
How Can I Manage Stress Better?
Identifying unrelieved stress and being aware of its effect on our lives is not sufficient for reducing its harmful effects. Just as there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities for its management. However, all require effort toward change: changing the source of stress and/or changing your reaction to it. How do you proceed?
- Become aware of your stressors and your emotional and physical reactions.
- Recognize what you can change.
- Learn ways to change your response to stress.
- Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress.
- Develop a wellness plan (you can do this with your counsellor):
- Physical self-care (exercise, nutrition, sleep)
- Lifestyle habits (routine, goals, stress reduction, relaxation)
- Emotional self-care (feeling your feelings, self forgiveness, seeing a counsellor)
- Social Support (friends, family, colleagues)
- Spiritual connection (prayer, meditation, community, finding purpose/meaning)
- Counselling Services at Brandon University
- Counseling Center at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign