Stress

I want to talk about stress today.  
There are two types, physical and mental.
I never worry about the physical stresses I may encounter in a survival situation. 
Nobody can fully train for the rigors of a survival situation and it’s incredible how even the disabled, sick, young, and old can cope when things turn bad.
Besides I’m disabled yet probably more ambulant than a lot of the average couch potatoes.
Mostly people just keep on going drawing on reserves of power they never knew they had.
Mental stress is what I often muse about and that will bring anyone down. It’s something that is not easily avoided.
As stress builds up it can explode out in a devastating physical reaction like rage, sorrow, or despair.
Survival books and articles harp on about positive mental attitude and even fitness yet a doubt, a concern, a worry, can fester into an incurable sore which can incapacitate you quicker than a physical injury.

It’s not limited to individuals though. One stressed person in a group can drag everyone down. That person going to pieces, exploding, or just not operating nominally could be disasterous.

I’ve got a number of strategies for dealing with stress but they are a bit like fuzzy logic, sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.  

Firstly discuss your concerns and encourage others to do the same.

The old adage of a problem shared is a problem halved works.

Yet, that has it’s negative points.
Keeping the realities of the situation to yourself may not undermine the confidence that others have built up but could be terrible for you.
On the other hand, perhaps they are doing the same to you to protect your “feelings”.
Secondly it’s wearing to keep talking about a problem so discuss it once.
Then unless the situation changes, don’t mention it again.
Too often problem discussion takes on a repetitive nature.
Same sh#t, different day sort of thing.
Even the most meekest person will eventually snap and either explode or sink into a sudden deep pit of despair.
Identify and quantify the sources of the stress.
Work out if they are real or perceived.
Real problems cause stress and can be solved BUT perceived problem stress is a game stopper.
This is because theoretical scenarios tend to err on the side of extreme as opposed to realism.
Perceived stress? The “what if XYZ happened” scenario.

Avoid stress.
If your job or life is too stressful, think about a career change. If you can’t, consider most stress at work is taken on board in an attempt to please others or self advancement.
Taking on more than you can handle is a guaranteed recipe for stress.
A simple word may hold up your promotion and “hurt” relationships but it is very effective.

That word is “NO”.

Avoid people who stress you out.
Simple personality clashes can raise your blood pressure.
Deliberately mixing with such people (especially out of the work environment) is just plain daft.

Change what physical event causes you stress.

  • Driving in a daily traffic jam? Take a bus, let someone else drive.
  • TV is full of depressing stuff? Turn it off and do something else.
  • Saturday shopping winds you up? Don’t go shopping on Saturday.
  • Getting into discussion about religion or politics, the price of biscuits, or inter-family relationships can wind the most passive person up.
    So don’t talk about what annoys you or to a person that does the same.

If you can’t avoid something, change how you experience it.
Leave early to avoid traffic, try late night or early morning shopping.

Don’t avoid the issues.
Some people use smoking, drinking, using drugs to relax, over or under eating, or just sitting in front of a a TV or computer for hours on end.
Then they may try withdrawing into yourself, constantly mulling things over, sleeping too much, working flat out for every waking moment.

It doesn’t work. All you are doing is delaying the inevitable.

Not solving the issues will inevitably end in a number of ways.

Total collapse, self withdrawal, getting irrationally angry, or even violent.

So stop thinking and do something about it!
You could try:
  • The art of compromise. They demand NOW, you reply if I can.
  • Be more assertive. Too much work, say NO.
  • Deal with problems head on, anticipate and prevent them.
  • Manage your time better.
  • Re-frame problems. Immediate, needs to be completed, tomorrow will do.
  • Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress.
  • Accept that there are things you can’t change. You can never please all of the people all of the time.
  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.
  • Focus on the positive.
  • Relax and recharge your mind and body. Take time out for yourself.
  • Go for a walk, preferably in the woods with a dog. (My personal favorite)
    A dog is an excellent stress reducer and a good exercise buddy.
    It’s faithful, calming, sensitive to your moods, a damn good listener, demands little, gives lots.
  • Call a good friend. Have a long chat about anything except work and problems,
  • Have a favorite meal or even just a good QUIET cup of tea or coffee. Indulge yourself (but not to excess).
  • Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury so curl up with a favorite book, listen to music, watch a happy film.
  • Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule.
    If you are entitled to a lunch break, take it. OUT OF THE OFFICE.
    Go for a walk BUT NOT just into the nearest pub.
    Take the time out to RELAX.
  • Interact with others. Trivial conversation or sharing jokes takes your mind off things.
  • Do something you enjoy every day.
  • Keep your sense of humor. One of the key signs of stress is losing your happy outlook on things.
  • Eat healthy. Cut out caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and sugars. These either overstimulate to depress the mind.
  • SLEEP. The restoration power of  a good nights sleep is often forgotten.
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