“Ugh!” Lexia exclaimed, “Two presentations, two research papers, my books need to be updated and I have no time. I’m stressed.”
Stress can be described as, “great worry caused by a difficult situation, or something that causes this condition” (Cambridge University). Stress has often adversely affected persons and it is for this reason the topic was chosen. Anyone can be stressed but it mainly affects college students and working individuals. Stress is not all bad though as without it humankind wouldn’t have survived. It’s the part of us that controls the feelings we experience, such as paranoia and various other feelings. It is therefore impossible to avoid stress but it can be managed. Stress can be managed in many ways namely time management, exercising and proper rest.
Everyone has at least once in their lives experienced stress due to lack of proper time management. Some persons perform at their best when they are under stress but it depends on the degree and the person. In order to be on the right path to managing stress, one must understand that time is a limited resource if proper management is not done. “The global price tag for job stress at more than $200 billion in absenteeism, tardiness, worker’s compensation, and health care estimated by the World Health Organization.”(Organizational Behavior, p.135). This shows that individuals are unable to manage their time in the workplace. A cause of stress is an individual’s inability to get everything done in a specific time.
Newman and Hodgetts (1998) states that there is a process to effectively manage time, specifically “using a prioritized ‘to-do’ list, breaking work into small bites that are easy to accomplish, using a work/reward approach, deciding the type of person you are: morning or afternoon, assigning work appropriately and reading standing up” (p.112). Creating a ‘to-do’ list is an effective way to manage your time. This can be achieved by writing down what needs to be done, and organize time so that those tasks can be done. Also by prioritizing the most important stuff, and getting them out of the way reduces procrastination. Finally, time management reduces stress by freeing up time for persons to get other things done, and enables better decision making. Therefore, time must be managed effectively in order for stress levels to be reduced.
Additionally, exercising also influences stress management. Exercising daily has been found to improve mental capacity and is one of the best ways to control stress while maintaining good health. Working out regularly has been found to lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and increase positivity in ones’ life. Madell (2016) explains that “physical activity can improve quality of sleep, which can be negatively impacted by stress, depression, and anxiety.” This simply means that exercising everyday, even if it’s just walking, can improve whether you actually rest while sleeping or if you just sleep.
Physical activity has often aided in a lot of things as it enables a person’s body to be constantly in motion and provides no time to sit back and be lazy. For example, if you’re not an athlete performing yoga and meditation has been proven to increase concentration and lower blood pressure levels. “Exercise is like free medicine,” says Robert Leahy, PhD, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy. He went on to say, “Medication may work more rapidly to lessen the symptoms of depression or stressed feelings, but the effects of regular exercise are longer lasting.” This indicates that while there are medicines and antidepressants that help with stress, exercise is the real therapy. The process is simple: cardiovascular activity helps the heart pump more blood to the brain; more blood means more oxygen and more oxygen leads to better nourished brain cells which produces a chemical that prevents these cells from breaking down when exposed to stress. Exercise has been found to continually produced brain cells and buffers our response to stress because while stress is dangerous it is still required. Physical activity is then very important with mental capabilities that help reduce and manage stress.
Finally, stress management cannot be complete unless one has proper rest to improve their health. Stress is everywhere, even in your sleep. Imagine lying in bed trying to sleep but instead your brain is worrying and feeling anxious about something which makes it impossible to relax and quiet your mind enough to fall asleep. This leads to stress in the day which continues over a period of time and sleeping less becomes evident, poorer sleep quality and reduce in capabilities. Lack of proper rest decreases brain capacity because you start to feel more exhausted and unable to focus at home and work. Rest is so important that even the slightest lack of it can affect mood, memory and judgement. According to a press release by the American Psychological Association (2013), “thirty seven per cent of adults report fatigue because of stress.” This association has provided many statistics as it correlates to a study done on the adverse effects of lack of proper rest due to stress. The average human requires at least 7 to 8 hours of rest in order to perform tasks. Another finding by the association reveals that adults with high stress are more likely to say they are not getting enough sleep because their minds race, “49% vs. 10% of adults with low stress.
Newman and Hodgetts (1998) identified a third technique that helps an individual greatly with stress management, “transcendental meditation otherwise known as TM, which requires the mediator to shut out all distractions and concentrate on a mantra, which is a single word or sound.” (p.106). This method lasts for 15 to 30minutes and in this time the individual tries to attain a physical and mental relaxation peak that he/she can always go to when feeling stressed. Studies have shown that persons who practice TM falls asleep faster, and more self-confident and have emotional stability.
Ebanks (2014) states that your body needs as much rest as it needs to workout in order to “maximize gains and show optimal results, and there is a point beyond which further training will cause you to experience more negative results than positive.” Rest is just as important as exercise and thus two or three days must be allotted for rest when working out. Proper rest in its accurate quantity is a good way to reduce stress just as though high stress levels reduce rest. One must learn to balance their lifestyle in order to have everything in its right quantities. Similarly a proper night’s rest can add to stress management and reduce it drastically.
Overall, stress management can be a very complicated task if proper methods are not put in place such as time management, exercising and proper rest. Stress is a known problem that every human or animal faces in their lives and sometimes it can be too much to handle which is where stress management comes into play. It is with this that individuals are able to better use their time to perform different tasks while making time to exercise to keep their bodies in good shape. Stress management would not be complete if proper rest was not also taken into context. These three methods are therefore the key to stress management.