Consider several examples of what is more likely to occur when people do not appropriately manage their stress. They might:
- have serious car accidents on the dangerous roads of Baltimore when their excessive stress causes sleep deprivation and aggressive driving.
- lash out at others with road rage, for example.
- become addicted to drugs or alcohol and become a danger to themselves or to others.
As described in the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, there are dozens of reasons for high levels of stress. Unemployment, for example, is currently stressing millions of Americans in general. More specifically, in Baltimore, as another example, residents are stressed by urban life which brings with it excessive noise, traffic jams, and fear of crime.
Stress management must be personalized. Some people, for example, can tolerate and even thrive on higher levels of stress than others are able to tolerate. Some events stress some people but not other people. To personalize your understanding of stress management, keep a stress log. That is, keep a daily written record of when, where, and to what degree people or events have stressed you. In addition, take note of and record what you did that lessened or increased your stress.
Even if you felt better, you should avoid future stress reduction techniques that involved:
- drugs and alcohol.
- cigarette smoking.
- hours of continual TV viewing.
Instead, try to learn new skills to help you properly manage your stress. Examples of these skills include:
- time management.
- goal setting.
- conflict management.
- problem solving.
Furthermore, try stress reduction behaviors that have worked for many other people, and see if any of these techniques will work for you. For example:
- Eat right.
- Get enough sleep.
- Develop a sense of humor.
- Pray. For thousands of years, prayer has helped billions of people.
- Have daily loving contact with significant others in your life.
- Learn an enjoyable hobby, and spend time each day with it.
You will never completely eliminate stress from your life, and it would be counterproductive if you could do so. We all need enough stress for motivation to accomplish worthwhile goals. Too much stress, however, is too much of a potentially good thing.
Lack of time is not a good reason for not taking time to reduce your stress. Readjust your priorities. You never need stress reduction as much as when you don’t have time for it.