(5) Five steps to deal with stress


By Eddy Montilla.

Step 1: Identify the real origin of your stress

You cannot find good solutions for a problem if you don’t know it well. So, your first step should be to determine the source of your stress. Unfortunately, when dealing with this issue, people usually tend to mistake the concept of origin for place. RH told me once that he was about to explode with anger because of the stress of his job.

“Does your stress come from the type of job you are doing or the number of hours at work?”

“No,” he said. “The problem is that I don’t like my boss. This man …”

RH blamed his job for his stress when, in fact, it was the result of something quite different: Affinity, working relationships, things that require different solutions. Take your time and look carefully until you discover the real source of your stress. Once detected, you will be in good position to fight against it.

Step 2: If your stress increases, take a break as soon as possible

Stress is cumulative, but different from money, for example, that can be represented by a mountain of bills in front of your eyes, it is invisible (what we can see is its negative reactions), and that makes it more difficult to cope with it. The most dangerous thing about stress is its process: it is too weak and manageable in the beginning that we don’t worry about it until it becomes too strong and almost uncontrollable to combat it. The key here is not to reach that level that goes beyond your strength. If you are overwhelmed by stress, take a little break to reduce its negative effects. The more stressful your work is, the more important to take breaks from time to time is. Go back to your work when you feel more emotionally stable.

Keep going with your job until you get it done once for all is far away from being a good method because emotional and physical problems caused under stress are irreparable. Besides, it is a dubious way to deal with problems since you will be in the same position tomorrow with new problems to solve.

Step 3: Make use of techniques and methods of relaxation

To keep your stress under control requires time, patience and effort. Until you reach that level, this step will be very helpful. There are dozens of good techniques that can help you to feel relaxed. Just chose one that fits your likes and physical condition (otherwise, you will add to your life one more reason to feel stressed!). Some people run, do sports or yoga. Other people go the movies, sit somewhere deep in contemplation, etc. Observe that most of these items on the list need a particular place to be practiced (a gym, park, etc.) or something (a book, etc.). I like breathing as a method to relieve stress because it is free and we can do it at anytime, anywhere. There are a lot of fine books about this topic. However, I don’t think it is something that needs a lot of preparation. After all, don’t we breathe all the time? With a smile played about your lips, just close your eyes and take a deep breath. Repeat the same action a couple of times avoiding abrupt breathing and you will see good results immediately. It is very effective, especially if you are about to commit an act of reckless folly due to stress. Besides, it is free!!

Step 4: Learn to coexist with people in your society

Have you seen how people get angry with drivers or are annoyed at having to wait in line? That’s what I call unnecessary stress caused by trivialities. Stress coming from these things is as absurd as the word “rejuvenation”. If you don’t have control of the number of cars that will be flowing, the level of inefficiency of the person who is talking to you when you go to some place for a service or the number of people who left their houses to do exactly the same thing as you intend to do, then, what is the point in getting mad and fill your heart with stress? There are millions of people in the world with different opinions, likes, etc. Since you cannot change the world to the way you like, you cannot buy a new one only for you or move to another place, you have to learn to coexist with people (good people, bad people, smart people, stupid people, and so on) and to be tolerant of routine things in society.

Step 5: Don’t be slave to hurry or worries

Antonio Machado, a Spanish poet, started a beautiful poem called Cantares with this verse: “Everything comes to an end and everything stays forever ….”, a deep understanding of human impotence and limitations. It really explains how absurd to lead a worry life is. With the passage of time, people have made life more difficult for themselves, and now, we don’t know how to get out of the hole in which we put ourselves. Just think that more than two thousand years ago, Jesus said the same as Machado did, but in its simplest form and in a more practical manner: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Then, there is no real reason for excessive worries, there is no point in being in a hurry or living in that way. Just keep and live your life, not to the rhythm of our crazy society, but to the rhythm of life itself. And believe me, your stress will start melting like an ice cube on a sunny day.

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