Management of both physical and psychological stress is hugely important to help recovery from all illnesses- from cancer diagnoses to long-term conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Equally management of stress is crucial to well-being for people who do not have physical illness. The simile I often use is that of a low cholesterol diet for cholesterol related heart disease; this is of course essential for people who have this condition. But a low cholesterol diet in people who do not have a high cholesterol, whilst not essential, will also be beneficial and have many positive health effects for these individuals.
Stress management benefits all of us in society. Reducing stress improves productivity in the work place, it improves our relationships and enhances our quality of life.
The sixty-four-thousand-dollar question is how to do it?!
The answer is of course not simple and trying to learn stress management in a hurry is more or less futile. A good starting point is recognising the negative health effects that stress is contributing to your overall quality of life. Accepting this allows you to focus on a strategy going forward to limit the damage caused by the stresses in your life. And finally you need to learn stress management techniques and build them into your lifestyle like steel reinforcement or underpinning of building infrastructure.
There are many ways to target stress and we need to tailor the techniques we use to our own individual circumstances. Mindfulness and similar mind management strategies are extremely effective when learned and implemented but some people are unable to or unwilling to use these techniques. Other types of meditation, yoga and physical exercise can all be beneficial. However relying on stress avoidance alone, whilst sometimes resolving short term issues, is usually ineffective in the long term because our lives are inevitably at some points chequered with major events, sadness, tragedy and illness. Therefore if we do not have stress management strategies inbuilt in our health infrastructure, major life events can easily obliterate our health like the effects of an earthquake on an unreinforced building.
Be self aware about your stress and look into different ways that might work for you to address stress management.