Everyone suffers from stress. Sometimes it’s good stress, which gives us the ability to perform certain functions like studying for an important test, or making it to the doctor’s office on time. However, sometimes stress can just be too much. How do you know when you’ve reached that point?
Let’s just imagine that you have a project due in school in the upcoming weeks. Here are a few ideas of how you might feel: Choose the option that best applies to you.
a. You’ve been doing work on your project off and on, making sure that you’ll be finished in time to turn it in, but also not leaving anything until the last minute. You feel confident in your work, though a little bit stressed about it turning out the way you want it to.
b. You haven’t even thought about your project, you’ll get it done at the last minute. However, you know when it reaches that point; you are going to freak out over getting it finished in time!
c. You can’t stop thinking about this project. In fact, you aren’t sleeping very well, nothing seems to be working out right whenever you try to put the project together, and you just know you aren’t going to get a good grade.
If you picked the first option, you are probably experiencing a normal amount of stress. You are dealing with the situation in a manner that provides you with time to get your work done, and you aren’t panicking over the matter. You are doing what you can to get the project finished without being too upset.
If you picked the second option, perhaps you should take a look at how you get things done. Do you always procrastinate? Perhaps by making yourself a schedule that you stick to stringently, you can reduce the stress of leaving things until the last minute. When you find out you have a project that needs to be worked on, be it for school, work, or home, start thinking immediately how you can approach it. This means not pushing it out of your mind until later, no matter how tempting that is. Often people say “but I work well under pressure, it’s the reason I leave things for the last minute!” However, doing that definitely increases the stress that you suffer from later. Not only are you taking care of your work when you approach things carefully, but as an added bonus, you reduce the stress you feel! Not to mention, you’ll probably do a better job when you work on the project steadily than just throwing things together at the last minute.
Did you pick the third option? If so, you need to take a deep breath, sit down, and realize that this is not the end of the world! Instead of panicking about what lies ahead, take a moment, and realize that you can do this bit by bit, and you can do it well! Do some research online; go to the library and read books and magazines that deal with the subject that you are working on. Often, if you are prepared for what you have to do, you will find that it’s easier to do what is needed with less stress. Even if your project is cleaning the house, a little bit of research can give you some fantastic ideas on the best way to approach it, only giving yourself a chance at an even bigger success! If you automatically decide that you are going to fail at whatever it is you attempt, then you are lessening your chance of success. Give yourself positive self-talk, let yourself know that you can do this. Don’t put it off, but don’t panic, either. You will find that if you do this, you will have an easier time getting projects done, and you won’t even need to stress out over it.
Here’s another example for you to think about. Imagine that a friend that you truly admire was going to come to visit, but unfortunately had a situation that was going to prevent him or her from arriving even though you have been planning it for quite a while. How do you feel?
a. You feel disappointed, of course, but you understand. He/she has a very busy life, and things just sometimes happen! You guys will reschedule, and it will be even better then, because there will be less stress in the way if your friend’s situation gets taken care of now!
b. You are angry. It’s your friend’s fault that you aren’t going to be spending time together, and what kind of friend is this, anyway? It feels like the whole world is against you having any fun whatsoever. You never want to talk to this person or plan an event with them ever again.
c. You cry, and not just a little bit. You lock yourself in your room and don’t speak to anyone for days. It’s just not fair.
If you picked the first option, good for you! You are taking a positive outlook on the situation, and realizing that sometimes, life just happens. Every once in a while things do get in the way of having a good time, and sometimes plans are temporarily put off to clear up a situation that may be more pressing. You aren’t angry at your friend for having to attend to another issue before having fun with you, and this will make you and your friend both much happier when you are able to take time together!
If you picked the second option, you definitely need to sit down and take a deep breath. It’s unlikely that the world is out to get you, and even though disappointments occur, they are not a symbol of everything going wrong in your life. If you truly feel that your friend is ditching you, think things through very well before bringing it up, and do not accuse them of wrong doing automatically. If you are truly their friend, you will try to understand why they can’t visit, instead of instantly being angry with them and possibly putting strains on the friendship. Remember that disappointment is often a part of life. The way you deal with the situation will determine how you eventually feel about it. That attitude is up to you.
If you picked the last option, ask yourself why you feel so depressed about not seeing your friend. Is there something in your life that you need to pay more attention to? Also, if you react this way to a lot of things, talk to your doctor or therapist, because you may be suffering from depression. Give yourself some credit, and try to understand where your friend is coming from. If perhaps you need to spoil yourself a little, then go ahead and spoil yourself! Some people use visits from friends or family to kick back and enjoy themselves, but you don’t have to wait for the arrival of a friend or family member to have a little bit of fun!
These reactions are just examples of how some people may feel in some situations. It’s normal to feel a bit stressed about getting a project done, catching a flight, or over disappointments that life sometimes dishes out. However, becoming angry, depressed, or obsessive over these situations can often cause more harm than good.
So what can you do? First off, if you think you have a problem, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or therapist. A therapist can often teach you coping skills to assist you in handling stressful situations. They can teach you the right way to react, which gives you more of a benefit, and makes you less likely to get as upset as you normally would. You can also join a support group. There are support groups for nearly everything you can think of! Contact your therapist, or even your local hospital. Learning to manage depression, stress, and anger is a fantastic step ahead to a better and more fulfilled life!
Lastly, remember that taking care of yourself is the most important thing to do. Eat healthy, drink lots of water, exercise, and avoid junk food and sugar. Feeling healthy goes a long way towards easing your stress. It’s hard not to feel stressed when you’re sick! Don’t be afraid to admit you have a problem, and don’t feel ashamed about going to therapy or a support group. If you have a friend or family member to confide in, than confide in them! Make sure that you take time to make yourself happy, because even though taking care of other people is a noble cause, you will never be truly happy unless you take care of yourself. It’s important for everyone to try to make a good life for themselves, including you! Learning how to do it is the hardest part, but once you learn, you’ll be happy that you did!