Health Feature Articles
Personal resources to manage stress
Jinny Hopp, Human Development Specialist, Jasper County University of Missouri Extension
Work and life create stress for each of us. Why do some people cope better than others? Here are some ideas from researchers who study human behavior.
Before determining how to cope with stresses, take some time to identify
priorities. What are the important things in your life? Child rearing,
caregiving for elderly parents, buying a home, having time alone, or
completing education goals are some priorities people have.
Then determine what stress means to you. Stress is unique to each
individual. Think about the times you have felt overwhelmed. What were
the events which led to your dilemma? Were you tired, hungry, bored or distracted? Reverse those questions and ask yourself what you do
for relaxation? What does your body need? What does your mind need?
The greatest challenge of managing stress is taking care of your
self. This requires self discipline and limit setting when others want
your attention. Look at the priorities on your list and decide what
you need in order to meet them. If your priority is time, you need to
protect some of yours. You need enough exercise, rest and healthy food
to be fine tuned.
No matter how well you take care of yourself you cannot do everything.
You need help. The next task is to look at your support network. Your
support network can be family, co-workers, neighbors, friends or
anyone you interact with on a regular basis. How can you and that
person in your support network help each
other to meet the needs of both? Many families provide child care for
one another. Co-workers frequently help each other accomplish projects
at work. Neighborhoods have a giant garage sale to assist in turning
items no longer used into cash for families. All the while these interactions
give each of you emotional support. Adults need emotional support from
each other. Often this support comes from a spouse. Sometimes it comes
from a life long friend. Think about your support network and identify
the sources of your support.
Humans are curious so another stress buster may be learning. We
can take classes,
read books, search the web and join clubs or other groups to feed our
need for knowledge. We all have resources in our homes and our communities.
Our challenge is to find the balance we each need for meeting our priorities
without undue stress. It is an individual journey for each of us.
For more ideas about stress control see the MU Extension publication Stress Management — The Challenge of Balance (GH6651) at http://extension.missouri.edu/p/GH6651.
Last Updated 03/12/2015