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Stress Management: For acute and chronic stress

Stress management : For acute and chronic stress

Stress can make you more powerful. However, too much stress puts a strain on your body and psyche. In this article you will learn how to recognize that your personal limit has been reached. You’ll also learn for yourself how to make yourself less sensitive to stress.

It depends on different factors how you react to a situation, whether you feel stressed or not, in which basic mood you are and which resources you have available for coping.

So it’s less about the load and more about your own resources. Is it an exciting challenge, are you very challenged or do you even feel overwhelmed.

These are all factors that influence your reaction.

Also, it matters a lot what patterns you grew up with. Did your academic and athletic achievements play a role? Were you compared to others as a child, or were many things taken away from you? As an adult, for example, this can result in the desire to want to do everything perfectly.

If you have too many expectations and demands on yourself, you can quickly become stressed under pressure. The reason is the fear of not doing something perfectly, or not being good enough.

Also, what you copied from your parents plays a big role in stress. For example, if you have experienced your father being quick-tempered in a stressful situation, you are more inclined to behave in the same way.

How you can tell if you are stressed

Realize that there is no life without stress. Stress cannot be avoided.

Stress used to be essential for survival. When you’re stressed, your body is on alert. Your heart beats faster, you have more energy available and your muscles are better supplied with blood. Now you are in Fight or Flight mode.

Today, you don’t have to run from a saber-toothed tiger. However, the reaction in your body is still the same.

You realize how thin the balance is here. The right pinch of stress can motivate you to perform at your best, making you more resilient and protecting you from illness in the short term because your immune system is ramped up.

Too frequent stress, on the other hand, constantly confronts your body with stress hormones.

Too much stress can make you sick. If you observe yourself when you are stressed, you can identify 4 levels of stress:

The 4 levels of stress

Behavior: Are you irritable, interrupting others in conversation, or hurried at work?

Thoughts: Do you often have negative thoughts that you can’t do something or that everything is too much for you?

Feelings: Do you feel powerless, drained and overwhelmed=.

Physical level: Cold or sweaty hands? Fast pulse? Tension / Strain?

If you find signs of stress on one or more levels, it makes sense to take a break. You should also reduce stress triggers, such as deadline pressure.

Factors for stress management

There are important factors that play a role in stress management.

You can:

Reduce stressors

Evaluate situations differently

Influence the stress response

Stressors are all conditions that can trigger stress in you, e.g. deadline pressure, high demands from the outside, social conflicts, but also factors such as the weather, e.g. a heat wave can be a stressor.

So whether the stressor really triggers stress depends on your assessment. Let’s take the current weather as an example. Outside it is almost 40 degrees. A person goes for swimming or sports in the morning. When the heat comes in the afternoon, she is already happy to have done something and to be able to switch off. She can use the free time. Another person uses their resources to constantly complain about the current weather everywhere.

Who do you think feels more relaxed? Socializing, hobbies, and relaxation and enjoyment can also help you soften your response to stressors. This leads to a higher load capacity.

What can stress management look like in everyday life?

In our example, the person got up earlier to go to sports or swimming in the morning. You can choose from:

Hand in tasks to avoid being pressed for time

Learning to say no so you don’t overload yourself all the time

Seek support from others

Build in targeted time for regeneration and relaxation

Stress Management: For acute and chronic stress

Coping strategies for acute stress

If you are in an acute stress situation, you can start with your body.

Exercise is particularly suitable for reducing stress hormones. The “round the block” during lunch break, shaking out hands or sports after work.

Additionally, you can bring attention to your breathing by inhaling for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 4 seconds, and exhaling for 4 seconds.

Even a short meditation can help you focus on your needs and let go of stress. When you are in an acute stressful situation, your thoughts also play a role. You should also take physical symptoms, such as palpitations, seriously.

With the 10-10-10 rule you can detach yourself from stress

What do you think about today’s situation 10 days from now?

What do you think about it in 10 weeks?

And what in 10 months?

This exercise helps you to work specifically on your evaluation of the situation.

Dealing with chronic stress

If you have chronic stress it is important to identify your stressors.

What exactly is stressing you out and what can be a solution to it?

Imagine a kind of energy barrel. Your energy for the week is in here. When you’re relaxed, the barrel is full. Every day you take out some energy, on the way to work, through work itself, social conflicts, deadline pressure… Your barrel empties little by little.

Therefore, it pays to ask yourself several times a week or a day how much is left in your barrel? You can refill your barrel with anything that is fun, relaxing or brings you joy.

Since stress is very individual, it pays to explore your own stressors. What stresses you may not yet upset someone else, while a third person already feels overwhelmed.

Therefore, find your own way for dealing with stress. So there is no one-size-fits-all approach. For example, a stress chart can help you better understand your stress.

Stress Management: For acute and chronic stress

Can you prevent stress effectively?

Yes you can! Every day again! Below is a small step by step guide.

Self-observation: Create a stress chart or write down in the evening what stressed you out during the day and what your reaction to it was. This is how you learn about your stressors and stress responses.

Solutions: Here you think about how you can react to your stressors in the future.

Planning steps: What are your solutions against stress? Think about when and how you will innovate. For example, do you get up 5 minutes earlier to plan your day? Will you take a deep breath in the future and look for a solution?

Have you even developed a solution pattern for yourself?

Implementation: Now it’s time to apply your plans to everyday life. This is the only way you can

Manage stress too. If one solution does not work, try another.

Balance: Which solutions best suit you and your daily routine? Which techniques and methods do you want to adopt and use permanently?

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