Stress is a natural part of life for every living creature on earth. Anthropologists believe that stress served as a major survival mechanism for our kind during the Stone Age. However, in modern times, it is now viewed as a detriment due to the overabundance of it in our everyday lives. From a strictly scientific point of view, stress can be viewed as negative, positive, or neutral. That’s right, even positive events in our lives can cause us as much stress as the negative ones. For instance, a wedding or the birth of a child can affect our bodies as drastically as a death or the loss of a job. Therefore, it is not stress itself that is so negative to our health and well being, but our reaction to stress and our innate abilities to cope with it. An example of a stress related lifestyle diseases is obesity due to stress-induced eating and lack of exercise due to stress-induced sleep disturbances. However, there is hope for us all!
Our overall level of health is a big determinant in how we deal with stress. Other factors include fitness level, nutritional status, emotional state, and level of restfulness. There is no shortage of stressors in our lives. In general, the healthcare field can be especially stressful. The work can be physically and emotionally demanding while simultaneously trying to care for your family and manage your personal life. Some positive coping mechanisms that I have employed during my nursing career:
1. Regular exercise (I like to run, dance, walk, and pilates).
2. Pray, reflect, and thank God on the many blessings I have received.
3. Keep positive notes from colleagues and patients that I can review on days that are especially challenging.
4. Spend time with my family.
5. Read magazines or a fun book instead of medical journals and text books.
However, there are other things that can be effective as well. What are some of the things that you do to help relieve stress?