Whilst you may not be able to stop worrying about all sort of things, you shouldn’t stress about getting stressed. Stress, as we all know, is a killer. I bet the majority of people reading this will know someone who has either ‘died of stress’ or looks like if they’re ever going to go, it’ll be because of stress related problems.
Of course, stress doesn’t actually kill anyone, much like old age doesn’t kill anyone. Instead, complications and problems that stem from stress, anxiety, and worry attribute to the deaths and illnesses of millions of people across the globe annually. Whole industries indeed, have grown from our very understandable desire to minimise stress, unwind, and manage our time better.
But new emerging research suggests that it is not stress that actually kills, but the idea that it kills. People who did not view stress as harmful were least likely to die over the year, compared to people who believed stress was bad for you. If this is correct, the belief that stress kills is the 15th biggest killer in the USA – not stress, just the belief. Biological stress responses are normal, and socialising when stressed, or being stressed due to the strain of caring for others, has less of a health impact than being stressed alone about work.
So just the notion that stress is harmful is, it appears, the factor that actually makes stress harmful. The way we deal with itis the critical factor, not how quickly we eliminate it or how well we avoid it.
Therefore, today’s number one tip for dealing with stress is:
1. Accept that you’re going to get stressed and don’t worry when you do start to stress-out, feel anxious, or worry about something. It’s normal.
2. Don’t pretend not to be stressed or try to convince yourself that it doesn’t affect you, it affects everyone.
3. Identify the cause. Sometimes its obvious, other times it can be harder to see. Identifying the cause can make people assess it and deal with it more effectively.
4. Get some rest. You are not a machine, and even if you were, you’d still need maintaining. Whilst it may be clichéd, a good work-life balance is key.
5. Share. Talking about your problems with someone appropriate, such as a partner or friend, won’t necessarily be burdening someone else with your problems. When shared, causes of stress can be talked about and put into perspective.