How to Build a Stress Management Plan

There is little debate among medical professionals about the affects of stress on a person’s physical and emotional well-being. Stress comes from many sources and can create a variety of reactions. Stress in animals produces the fight or flight response, in that the animal either flees or fights the predator or situation that is stressing it. Humans experience the same stress, however, rarely are they placed in the physical situation to fight or flee. The chemicals produced by these stressors can be a negative influence on health and wellbeing.

The steps to creating a successful stress management plan include acknowledging prime stressors, establishing current reactions to stress, finding outlets for stress, and learning how to prevent future stressful outbreaks. The first step in building a stress management plan is to identify the primary stressors in your life. Stressors are different for everyone, but examples include career changes, moving, financial struggles, family conflicts, etc. What are these stressors in your life? Make a list. Which one impacts your life the most? Prioritize these stressors in order of the ones that create the most conflict.

Once you have established those stressors that affect your daily life, you need to determine the ways in which you currently react to those stressors. Do you eat more? Do you watch more television? Do you act out in anger toward those you are closest too? Again, these will be different for different people and may even vary depending on the specific stressor. Developing a stress management plan depends on your honesty in this area. One great way to monitor your reactions is to keep a stress journal. Write down the specific stressor and what actions you took in response to the stressor.

The goal of a good stress management plan is to find healthy ways of dealing with the stresses of life as opposed to utilizing poor methods of avoiding and running from the stress. There are several ways to work through stress. The first way is to work through the conflict one step at a time and change those things that can be changed. If the stressor is not something that you can effectively correct, you still need to work through it in some manner. Healthy ways of dealing with stress include journaling, exercising, taking walks etc.

A professional golfer once related that to him stress was being on a green, shooting for a par from 30-feet away.There is a saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and in the world of stress, this is correct. One way to prevent stress is to increase planning and organization, understanding that there are frequently bumps in the road.

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