Don’t stress yourself out
Strive for self-improvement, not perfection; accept your limitations and aim for balanceBy Mitch Felipe Mendoza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
According to researchers Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman (1984), stress can occur when pressure exceeds one’s perceived ability to cope.
Studies show that stress can lead to heart problems, diabetes and even cancer. It is difficult to avoid stress; it will always come, especially if you allow it. But you can always learn how to deal with it.
Find time to identify sources of stress created by your own mind and habits, so you can continue your journey toward a well and healthy lifestyle.
According to the Social Readjustment Rating Scale developed by psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe in 1967, the top 10 life events that greatly affect an adult’s health are (in order): death of spouse, divorce, marital separation, jail term, death of a close family member, personal injury or illness, marriage, getting fired from work, marital reconciliation and retirement.
Stressful feelings coming from these events, and even daily hassles such as traffic jams, time pressure, arguments, problems with children and job dissatisfaction, can be resolved with proper stress-management techniques such as meditation, time management, exercise, relaxation, social activities, prayer and vacations.
However, internal stressors like our own perceptions, feelings, attitude and beliefs can remain unresolved for a long time, unless we recognize how they cause stress and health problems, so we can do something about them.
Low self-esteem and poor body image
Your negative perception about yourself and your body can be a huge source of stress. If you feel fat and ugly, it will always seem to be that way, even if you’ve reached your ideal figure.
You will forever stress yourself out by comparing yourself with others. You will always wake up in the morning and look in the mirror just to convince yourself that you will never be attractive. If you don’t believe in yourself, then it will be very difficult for others to believe in you.
Love your body regardless of the flaws. Initially, do positive self-talk, then identify your assets, strengths and abilities and you can finally say goodbye to feelings of inferiority.
Stressed about winning
Comparison and competition rule your life, and you will always be stressed about winning. Even if you are already at the top, you will never stop until you have proven that you are better. The efforts you exert, by doing whatever it takes to win, can cause too much physical, social, psychological and emotional stress.
Compete only with yourself. Strive for self-improvement, and not perfection. Accept your limitations and aim for balance. Even top athletes know when and how to rest and stop. Explore areas of your life where you find meaning like relationships, experiences and lessons in life.
Do not blame others because they have caused you to lose weight, eat less and exercise. It may be because your responses always allow them to stress you. You should make an effort to learn how to assert yourself without causing relationship problems. To reduce or eliminate stress from others, speak up and actively communicate your concerns, issues and feelings.
Being an all-around super person by always working, thinking and taking care of others can cause imbalance and, eventually, burnout. You believe that you can do everything, combining career and family at the same time, because you excel in all fields.
Playing multiple roles can be too stressful, and overloading yourself with responsibilities and commitments can make you forget about yourself, your plans and goals.
Learn to trust others so you can delegate work and responsibilities. Acknowledge that it is healthier to live a more balanced life, where you can also take good care of yourself, than to push your limits until you cannot give anymore.
Paranoia and anxiety
Do you stress yourself too much about your husband when he doesn’t reply to your calls and texts immediately? Just negatively thinking about the possible agenda of someone very close to you can already cause too much mental and emotional stress.
Manage this type of internal stress by nourishing your mind and body with positive thoughts and healthy activities that will keep you busy, fitter and more relaxed such as meditation, yoga, tai-chi, dance and running. Constructively communicate your thoughts with your friends, family or a mentor/counselor.
Unrealistic expectations may lead to disappointment and, eventually, stress. If you really want to change your lifestyle and lose weight, then you should accept that effective weight control requires patience, effort, attitude and behavior change, aside from exercise and diet.
Quick-fix methods will promise drastic weight loss, but are not a guarantee that you can keep the weight off long-term. Focus on the whole process of lifestyle change, aside from the numbers on the scale that will just cause too much stress if you don’t achieve your targets.
E-mail the author at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow her on Twitter @mitchfelipe.