Stress management is no easy task, but it begins with emotional intelligence.
Delivering the message of freedom from stress is not easy. There are many different types of stress ranging from many different areas of life. Stress can cause anxiety, depression, and overall lower quality of life. I will be focusing on school and work-related stress and their effects and coping methods.
Stress In School & Coping Methods
Colleges and universities are major contributors to mental health issues in America and the world at large (Wilhsson, et. al.). This global stress epidemic is caused by the high expectations and standards set for young people still emotionally developing and becoming more independent and self-reliant. Without the skills to manage stress, we can fall into a relentless cycle that is hard to escape and has real consequences if not managed. Wang, Xie, and Cui published in Social Behavior And Personality that Chinese "college students with high, versus low, [emotional intelligence] can effectively regulate their emotions and will experience greater self-efficacy and be better equipped to cope with stressful situations". Both girls and boys have different coping strategies (Wilhsson, et. al.) The researchers found that "Girls express that they have to prioritize to deselect activities they use to do to handle demands from school, and boys prioritize their own activities to obtain strength to cope with demands". One coping method that was found to possibly decrease stress and at the same time increase quality of life was recreational sports (Kuo). While others may go down a different path of abusing drugs to escape stress, that is more likely to harm one's quality of life than to help it. The better solution is to rely on support groups, talk to friends, and never be too prideful to ask for help. We're all in this together and you need to know that you're not broken or stupid, you are human. And whatever happens in school or life in general, you will more likely than not have a chance to become successful no matter how low you get or how low you start. Never strive to be dependent on anything but your own drive, discipline, and spirit. Create opportunities when there are none, and never accept failure as your destiny. Make amends with your inner demons, and make do with what you have. You can't magically get everything you want at the snap of your fingers, so why ask that of yourself. Work on your emotions, and do this by looking inwards to discover who you are, and stress will begin to dissipate slowly, but undoubtedly.
Work-Related Stress & Coping Methods
Work-related stress is different than school in that it carries the financial burden as well as emotional ramifications. It was found in a recent journal article that "higher levels of midlife work-related stress were associated with poorer performance on global cognition [β-coefcient, −0.02; 95% confidence interval (CI), −0.05 to −0.00], and processing speed [β −0.03, CI −0.05 to −0.01]" (Sindi, et. al.). This shows that when you find yourself at the point where you're extremely stressed and think that your job is killing you, it might literally be killing you. A study found that "lower job control was associated with greater risk of any dementia " (Crowe, et. al.). While you may think the pain is temporary and you can get through this you have to be kind and thoughtful to your future health and loved ones. You risk a lot more than less sleep or a bad mood when you continue to suffer. Instead, take the time to meditate, or exercise, or general mindfulness exercises. By prioritizing these activities, you are telling yourself that you are deserving of peace of mind. You must allow yourself time to decompress or else you will burn yourself out and thus be in an even worse situation. Although it may be hard, if you want to live a healthier life, you must take care of yourself.
Living A Stress-Free Life
Without a doubt, stress is one of the most grueling experiences virtually every human has experienced. Stress tells us that something is wrong, and we need to listen to ourselves. This is part of the process of becoming more self-aware and cognizant of the world both around you and inside you. We live our lives experiencing our own unique realities, and life becomes a whole lot more enjoyable when you allow yourself to look at life without disruptions or chaos. Clear your mind...continue to think differently.
- Wang, Y., Xie, G., & Cui, X. (2016). EFFECTS OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND SELF-LEADERSHIP ON STUDENTS' COPING WITH STRESS. Social Behavior and Personality,44(5), 853-864.
- Sindi, S., Kåreholt, I., Solomon, A., Hooshmand, B., Soininen, H., & Kivipelto, M. (2017). Midlife work-related stress is associated with late-life cognition. Journal of Neurology, 264(9), 1996-2002.
- Andel, R., Crowe, M., Hahn, E., Mortimer, J., Pedersen, N., Fratiglioni, L., . . . Gatz, M. (2012). Work‐Related Stress May Increase the Risk of Vascular Dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 60(1), 60-67.
- Wilhsson, M., Svedberg, P., Hogdin, S., & Nygren, J. (2016). Girls and boys strategies to handle and cope with school-related stress. European Journal Of Public Health, 26(S1), 221.
- Kuo, C. (2013). THE EFFECT OF RECREATIONAL SPORT INVOLVEMENT ON WORK STRESS AND QUALITY OF LIFE IN CENTRAL TAIWAN. Social Behavior and Personality, 41(10), 1705-1715.