Why Stress Is Bad And What We Can Do About It

Stress is a normal part of life – it is what gets us moving, to meet our daily challenges and reach our goals. It also gets us out of danger triggering the fight or flight response. 

However the type of stress we are more familiar with is chronic emotional stress (or distress) that stays with us for weeks, months even years.  This type of stress leads to weakening of the immune system, elevated blood pressure, fatigue, depression and even cardiovascular disease.
What happens to our body when we are distressed?

If you’re constantly under stress, you can have physical symptoms, such as headaches, an upset stomach, problems managing diabetes, asthma, skin conditions, chest pain, and problems with sex and sleep.

Stress can also lead to emotional problems, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.  It can affect the motivation around the choices we make including the types of foods we eat, alcohol consumption, how we look after ourselves and engage with others.

There are many ways to reduce stress in our lives and while not every tip will help every person there will be some that will be more appealing and effective for you.  Make your selection and give a couple a try. 
Managing family stress

1. Get up 15min earlier in the morning to reduce the stress of morning mishaps.

2. Prepare for the morning the evening before such as prepare lunches, bags and clothes.

3. Plan ahead – ensure you always have more than 1/4 tank of fuel in your car, keep a well stocked emergency shelf of home staples in the pantry. 

4. Relax your standards, the world will not end if the carpet is not vacuumed this weekend.

5. Say no to extra projects, social activities and invitations you know you don’t have time or energy for.  This requires practice and the belief that everyone needs quiet time to relax for a time every day. 


Stressless lifestyle

1. Practice preventative maintenance for your car, appliances, home and relationships.  There will be less likelihood of breakdowns at the worst possible moment.

2.  Procrastination in stressful.  Whatever you want to do tomorrow, do today.  Whatever you want to do today, do it now. 

3. Don’t put up with something that doesn’t work right .  If you alarm clock, shoe laces, windscreen wipers – whatever- are a constant aggravation get them fixed or replaced.

4. Create order out of chaos.  Organise your home and workspece so you always know where things are.  Put things away where they belong and you won’t have to go through the stress of losing things. 

5.  Set up contingency plans  “just in case”. If for some reason either of us are delays, here is what we’ll do…..


Less stressed mindset

1. For one thing that does wrong there are probably 10, 50 or 100 things that go right.  Be grateful for your blessings. 

2. Have a forgiving view of events and people.  Accept that we live in an imperfect world 

3.  Turn needs into preferences.  Our basic physical needs are food, water and warmth.  Everything else is a preference, avoid getting too attached to preferences.

4.  Live one day at a time

5. Have an optimistic view of the world and believe that most people are doing the best they can. 

Daily living without stress

1. Get enough sleep.  If necessary, use an alarm to remind yourself to go to bed.

2.  Delegate tasks to other capable people. 

3.  Do unpleasant tasks early in the day and get it over and done with.  Then the rest of your day will be free from associated anxiety.

4. Allow yourself time everyday for privacy, quiet and introspection. 

5.  Do one thing at a time.  When you are busy with a project, concentrate on doing that project and avoid multi tasking. 

Managing internal stress

1. Writing your thoughts and feelings down either in a journal or on a piece of paper to be thrown away can help you clarify things and give you a renewed perspective.

2. Talk it out.  Discussing your problems with someone you trust can help clear your mind of confusion so you can focus on problem-solving.

3.  Focus on understanding rather than on being understood, on loving rather than being loved. 

4. Participate in acts of self-nurture, take bath, go for a walk, play with the grandkids.

5. Eliminate destructive self talk.  “I’m too old to…”, “I can’t possibly…..”

There are loads of ways you can be proactive about managing stress if it is a problem for you.  Simply taking action – whether talking this action results in reducing your stress at the time or not – is an act of self nurture and is in itself beneficial.