Life gets stressful for all of us. Work demands, time constraints and relationships can all place pressure on us that builds over time. Learning to manage time, boundaries and obligations effectively is a skillset that can be difficult to maintain. Research indicates that stress management is an integral part of maintaining physical health as well as psychological health. Our bodies respond to stress with a survival mechanism (called the “fight or flight” response). When this system runs constantly due to chronic stress, the systems of the body begin to struggle to keep up, leading to burnout.
What is Stress Management?
The term stress management refers to applying a combination of skills to reduce the impact of stress on our bodies, minds and relationships. Stress management includes practical skills such as time management and goal prioritization, as well as cognitive skills such as “reframing”, where we adjust our perspective to reduce worry and anxiety over stressful events. There are behavioral skills that are also applied to stress management, such as relaxation and mindfulness training. In a broad sense, stress management is the application of psychological principles to managing a busy lifestyle in order to improve overall health.
Why Is Stress Management Important?
When stress becomes a regular part of life, we are forced to cope with it, through either healthy or unhealthy means. Over time, many people develop patterns of coping that worsen their health and reduce their overall quality of life. Some unhealthy means of coping with stress are: