The Anxiety of Managing Stress
Many people do not realise that a little bit of moderated stress is an essential thing in their lives or that it helps our bodies learn to cope and deal with some of the pressures of life. Stress, in prehistoric times, was the body's way of coping with danger. The heart rate would accelerate, muscles would get tense, and the senses would actually heighten in order to help cope with the coming threat. This was a primal defense mechanism that, as it turns out, was definitively vital to our very existence. As strange as it may sound, we have stress to thank for survival.
Managing stress, therefore, is not so much a matter of managing it to extinction, but rather managing stress to an acceptable level. We want to learn to cope with the stressors in our lives and learn to adapt to the situations better; we do not want to eliminate stressors entirely, because it is unhealthy and, let's face it, impossible.
The trick about managing stress is knowing your limitations. There are some people that can handle a very little dose of stress, while others thrive on it to make them sharper and keep them more alert. Incidentally the caffeine in our coffee that we drink to "wake up" affects all of the stress areas in our bodies causing the same effects as stressors. This tells us that, sometimes, we willingly access our stress reactions in order to become more alert.
Stressing About Stressors
Part of what managing stress is about is simply finding a happy medium or a healthy way in which to deal with your stressors. (Remember, when we say "stressors" we are referring to anything that causes stress.) Some of our greatest moments come from our reaction to a stressor; think of the time that you found out something about yourself because you reacted a certain way in a dangerous or tense situation. Many people use some of their defense mechanisms to cope with stress, such as humour or nervous fidgeting. These are all techniques that, although seemingly not elaborate, actually help relieve the stress within our bodies by distracting our brain from the harmful effects.
Managing stress can be a simple matter of keeping in tune with our normal, biological reactions to a stressor and learning to adapt that into healthier behaviour. Some people smoke, for example, because it helps in managing stress. This is harmful to the body and will likely cause more stress, so adapting that technique into something healthier will always have the same effect on our bodies. We need to find a way to turn that coping ideology into something healthier.