Stress Management Articles
Climbing Big Chief
I faced an interesting situation managing my "stress response" in the summer of 2004 when I was mountain climbing in British Columbia. I was climbing up a part of Big Chief in Squamish (a renowned mountain in an area known for incredible climbing) and my climbing guide Geoff and I were doing what is called "crack climbing". What this is can best be described this way: picture a flat sheet of rock that goes hundreds of feet in the air, but the rock has a straight vertical crack right up the middle. The crack in some places is big enough to slide your entire arm in and is a foot wide; in other places it's less than half an inch wide and you can barely manage to slide the tips of your fingers into it. Wedging our fingers and our toes into the crack, this is what we were using to climb up the side of the mountain. (And yes, I actually paid to have my guide take me up this part of the mountain!).
It's Actually Good To Have Some Stress
Contrary to popular believe, it's actually a good idea to have a little bit of stress in life. The opposite of stress is boredom. Without any pressures, any deadlines, anything challenging us to perform, we will just slack off and lay around the poolside, sipping margaritas and playing yet another round of golf before we get our afternoon massage. (You might be thinking "that doesn't sound so bad!").
Manage your Chemical Intake
If you can't stop the event from happening, and if you can't keep a positive attitude, your body sends a signal to your adrenal gland and you go into the third stage: your chemical response. While it is unlikely that you will have conscious control over the production of these chemicals, we must also recognize that any chemicals we introduce in our body can soothe or
exacerbate our stress response.
Most Fears Are Learned
Most of the time when we get stressed, we are not in physical danger. The danger we fear is almost always a figment of our imagination. Babies are born with only two natural fears: the fear of loud noises, and the fear of falling. Thus, anything else that you fear is a learned fear.
Only React When The Threat Is Real
The only time we should really get stressed in when we are in actual physical danger. I had a situation a couple of months ago where, while driving in my car on the highway, a trailer truck decided to come to a dead stop in front of me. And by dead stop, I mean that he was doing 120km/hr one moment, and the next moment he slammed on his breaks and was no longer moving forward; he was doing ZERO km/hr.
Reduce Stress by Controlling Your Perspective
If you can't stop or control the situation that causes you stress (Stage #1), your next option is to control your evaluation (Stage #2). Whatever your perspective, if you think something is worth getting stressed out over it, you're going to get stressed. The simple solution at this point is to remember that your perspective or "attitude" has massive control over your stress response. Remember that a person can be paralyzed with fear because of an intense phobia like claustrophobia in an elevator, whereas other people remain totally calm.
Strategies for Reducing Stress
It just makes sense that if you know what triggers your stress, if you can avoid the trigger then you will avoid the stress. For example, if traffic jams tend to frustrate you, then if you listen to the news or look at the internet highway traffic cameras, you can pinpoint where the accident is and drive around it. The result: you avoid the trigger of your stress, so you avoid the stress
Take This Stress And LOVE IT!
It seems that no matter where I speak, the #1 topic that is requested of me is "how do I manage my stress?" Whether a person is working on the assembly line or in the C-Suite, stress seems to be an overwhelming part of our daily lives. Personally, my belief is that most of the stress that we experience is largely exaggerated and we initiate many of the situations that cause us stress.
What are The Consequeces
If you don't learn to manage your stress, do you believe that eventually your health will suffer? Absolutely! In fact, the pioneering father of stress research, Montreal doctor Hans Selye, says that "Mental tensions, frustrations, insecurity, aimlessness are among the most damaging stressors, and psychosomatic studies have shown how often they cause migraine headache, peptic ulcers, heart attacks, hypertension, mental disease, suicide, or just hopeless unhappiness.".
What Are Your Triggers
Since people can respond differently to the same situation, it's valuable to identify the things that you know will cause you to feel frustrated. I've provided a checklist below of behaviours or situations that might "stress you out".
What is Stress
Stress is not the event that happens in front of us, or the person who exhibits a behaviour in our presence that we find "irritating"… stress is our reaction to those things. Stress is our emotional and physiological response to any perceived threat, whether real or imagined.
What is the Fight or Flight response
The fight-or-flight response (otherwise known as the stress response) is our rapid physiological response to a mortal threat, for example at the hands of a predator. To quickly summarize, this response gives you an immediate surge of energy that allows you either to run for your life away from the predator (flight) or if you cannot run fast enough, to turn and defend yourself even if it is a fight to the death (fight).
50 Tips To Manage Stress
What follows is a massive list of stress-reduction tips and tricks that I've amassed over the years. As you scan down the list, put a checkmark next to the tips that you think might be helpful and enjoyable for you!.
Stage 4 Change Your Physiology
You are sitting at your desk, driving your car, or sitting at your kitchen table, and you are stressed out. So, now what? Because the stress reaction is a PHYSICAL REACTION in your body, it demands a physiological intervention in order to calm yourself down at this point. So what's the best way to calm down your body? The top three interventions I recommend at this stage are Exercise, Laughter and Deep Breathing.