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Families and Stress – coping skills for living wit

Is stress always bad?
No! In fact, a little bit of stress is good. Most of us couldn’t push ourselves to do well at things — sports, music, dance, work, and school — without feeling the pressure of competition. Without the stress of deadlines, most of us also wouldn’t be able to finish projects or get to work on time.

If stress is so normal, why do I feel so bad?
With all the things that happen on a daily basis in our lives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Things that you can’t control are often the most frustrating. You can also feel bad when you put pressure on yourself — like to getting good grades or to get promoted at work. A common reaction to stress is to criticize yourself. You may even get so upset that things don’t seem fun anymore and life looks pretty grim. When this happens it’s easy to think there’s nothing you can do to change things. But you can!

Things that don’t help you deal with stress
There are safe and unsafe ways to deal with stress. It is dangerous to try to escape your problems by using drugs and alcohol. Both can be very tempting. Drugs and alcohol may seem like easy answers, but they’re not. Dealing with stress with alcohol and drugs just adds new problems, like addiction, and family and health problems.
Although you can’t always control what’s stressing you out, you can control how you react to things. The way you feel about things results from the way you think about things. If you change how you think, you can change the way you feel.

Stress is not an easy topic for everyone. We all have stress; it is with us throughout our lives. Stress can cause a person to become angry or sad. There are many types of stress that can affect a family. Suffering from stress is common for all members of a family. Family members must first let go of their daily stressors this is the first step to dealing with it. Sometimes when we hear the word stress, we think of the negative impact it can have. But not all stress is bad. And even “bad” stress can motivate us to get things done or create change. The real question is: How do we make stress work for us? We can channel our stress to make us grow as individuals and as families.

Signs you’re family is stressed out
Feeling depressed, edgy, guilty, tired
Having headaches, stomachaches, trouble sleeping
Laughing or crying for no reason
Blaming other people for bad things that happen to you
Only seeing the down side of a situation
Feeling like things that you used to enjoy aren’t fun anymore or are a burden
Resenting other people or your responsibilities
Very little time to spend with your family- schedules are to busy with work and outside activities
Never enough time to relax or be alone
Explosive arguments with your spouse, children or parents
Most, if not all family meals eaten in a hurry and never together

The “recipe” for de-stressing is, of course, not complete. The full recipe involves combining awareness of your physical health, eating habits, rest, exercise, workplace, home environments, and your relationships. In developing your own personal “stress recipe” you’ll find your family and you to be happier and healthier!

Reduction of Burnout
In today’s fast paced environment, individuals are more prone to burnout because the stress they have is unrelieved. Constant exposure to stress with no relaxation, leads to a condition that is more serious than stress. This condition is burnout.
Burnout is a feeling of total emotional exhaustion, a feeling of not caring for anybody and anything, and a feeling that your achievements do not really matter. If this sounds familiar, it is time to think seriously about your future and your goals. When a small vacation or break still leaves you feeling depressed, it is time to get new batteries for renewed life energy. Plan time to relax!

Managing The Stress  Making The Decisions  Discovering The Importance

Stop and look at yourself. Take time to recognize signs of stress like anger, over extension in outside activities, work and sleep habits. As you become aware of these signs, you will begin to identify how to make stress work for you. You are being proactive not reactive to these situations.
Accept what cannot be changed. We can accept what we cannot change by changing what we can. Make choices that are realistic, not out of reach. Be flexible. Know what you can change and what you can’t, go with the flow, and be open to changes.
Don’t say yes to everything. Recognize what your strengths are and focus on taking the time to do a project built on them. Taking on too many projects results in loss of control and creates stress. Learn to say “no”. It’s hard to say no sometimes, but recognize you can’t do everything, pace yourself.
Organize. Disorganization creates stress. Taking the “dis” out of disorganization can produce a sense of control in knowing what will happen, that in turn reduces stress.
Create environments that reduce stress. Colors of the walls, floor coverings, and furniture can reduce stress. Hues such as cooling greens and blues are positive colors that can reduce stress and create a sense of well-being. Identify a place in your home where family members know they can go to think and not be disturbed.
Use stress as a teacher. As a crisis occurs, stop and think of how to use it to make things better. Make lemonade out of the lemons in life. See an opportunity in crisis: As a parent, encourage your children even in the hardest of times to see positives in any situation.
Leave time for the unexpected. Look for the natural coping ability to deal with the unexpected. Coping requires time. Time is needed to perceive a crisis and to rally our internal and external resources.
Choose friends carefully. Your choice of friends can be the key to stress reduction. Friends should be people who help us to increase our strengths and create innovative solutions to stressful situations. They support us and reaffirm that we are not alone.
Don’t cancel your annual medical checkup. You are so rushed and so tired that you’re probably thinking, “Why bother?” But now, more than ever, you need a medical checkup to catch any stress related health problem before its symptoms become noticeable.
Make decisions. Indecision increases stress. Good leaders make decisions and act on them. If a bad decision is made, reevaluate.
Maintain a sense of humor. Laughing at oneself can release potential stress from the inside. And laughing creates fewer wrinkles than worrying. Laugh more. Watch a funny movie; tell a joke, read the comics.
Play… with your spouse, a friend, a child, a pet. Having fun is the natural way of lowering the body’s stress hormones. Stress tenses the body, play loosens it.
Go ahead and make mistakes. No one’s perfect. The only way we really learn is from our mistakes. Accept them as the natural process of growing in wisdom. Forget and forgive the past: Teach children that mistakes truly are in the past and should not be used to fuel current situations.
Get active. Exercises like aerobics, thi-chi, even walking bring out the body’s natural endorphins and pleasure-producing substances that are produced inside every one of us. Learn to breathe slowly, deeply, and well. Relaxation begins with slow, deep breathing from your diaphragm.
Meditation and Relaxation exercises Meditation techniques, such as Yoga and transcendental meditation, involve the repetition of a soothing sound or relaxing physical movement to loosen tense muscles and calm frazzled nerves. Visualization simply involves closing your eyes and imagining yourself in a peaceful, quiet setting drifting on ocean waves, lying in a peaceful meadow, or any other place of tranquility. Imagine yourself seeing the sights, hearing the sounds, and smelling the fragrances. Just 10 minutes of relaxation exercises a day reduces anxiety and depression, loosens tense muscles, and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. While doing the exercises, listen to tapes of calming background music or soothing sounds.
Eat well and avoid stimulants. A healthy diet makes the body strong and increases a sense of well-being. Watch those Starbucks double-lattes! Caffeine and nicotine put more stress on our musculature and nervous system.
Talk to others. Sharing life’s difficulties and problems with another person, whether a co-worker, friend, spouse, lover, or counselor, allows one to shed the weight of burdens shouldered alone. Talking to your friends or family can help by giving you a chance to express your feelings. But problems in your family or social life can be the hardest to talk about. If you think you can’t talk to your family or friends, look for someone outside the situation like your priest or minister, a school counselor or your family doctor.
Face your difficulties. Problems have a tendency to mount quickly, until there can seem to be so many that they become overwhelming. Tackle them one at a time. Set achievable goals. Your day will seem lighter even after one dreaded task is checked off your list.
Allow yourself to mourn. Changes, even good changes, can bring a sense of loss for how things used to be. You have the right to grieve this loss. In fact, everyone needs that time. . . time to adjust, to reminisce, to care, to process
Buy a book of encouraging sayings. Read several each morning as you eat breakfast and/or before going to bed. As you dress or eat breakfast in the morning, as you walk, exercise or do other chores, repeat the sayings you find most inspiring. Make a list of achievements and personal assets. When no one is around, say them aloud so that they become more strongly imprinted in your mind. Make several copies of the list and pin or paste them in places where you regularly look, like the bathroom mirror and refrigerator door. Read the list every time you get into a negative mood. Eventually your positive thoughts will become imprinted in your brain and the negative thoughts will go away. Here are some examples:
o     The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor (wo)man perfected without trials. __ Confucius
o     Where there is no wind, row. __ Portuguese Proverb
o     The only person who never makes a mistake is the one who never does anything. __ Theodore Roosevelt
o     The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. __ Thomas Edison
o     Keep your eye on the doughnut and not upon the hole. __ Anonymous
o     A clean house is a symptom of a blank mind. __ Anonymous

Last but not leastbe there for your family. Let them know that you love them and think of them throughout your day. Make the people in your life matter and make them feel special.

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