How to Handle Stress

How to Handle Stress

Stress can be defined as emotional or physical strain or pain produced by the body in response to tough situations. That’s a pretty loose definition — another way of thinking about stress is as a body’s way to respond to any kind of demand, physical or mental.

Stress causes tension, pain, headaches, bad moods, and all kinds of other physical and mental symptoms that are generally bad for the body. Stress exists as a way for our bodies to cope with outside circumstances (“stressors”) and is generally considered a good thing, as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.

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When Stress Gets Out of Hand- How to Manage Stress

If you find yourself feeling “stressed” (tired, achy, wrung out) most of the time, you are dealing with a huge amount of stress. How can you cope with stress in a healthy and positive way?

Psychologists tell us that the best way to deal with copious amounts of stress is with something called the TARP method. TARP stands for: Tune in, Analyze, Respond, Prevent. This is a simple way for people to remember at a moment’s notice how to cope with stress. This simple four-step process has worked for millions of people. Let’s take a closer look at each part of the TARP method.

Tune In to Relieve Stress

How to Handle StressTuning in to stress means recognizing the early signs of stress so you can deal with it before it gets out of hand. Tuning in means making a habit of analyzing your body’s responses to stress and nipping stress in the bud before it gets out of hand. Look for muscle tension, perspiration, a rapid heartbeat or rapid breathing. These are all signs that you’re dealing with the beginnings of stress.

Analysis as a Stress Management Technique

We all know what it means to analyze something — once you’ve noticed the early signs of stress, you need to look into what is causing the stress so you can complete the TARP process. Scientists tell us that stress comes from two sources — external and internal. External stress can be anything from physical sources of stress like noise, heat, or cold down to demands made on you by friends or family. Internal stress is the “noise” you listen to in your head, like anxiety or self-criticism. Analyze the source of your stress and you’ll know how to deal with it.

Respond to Stress

This is the most crucial part of the TARP process. You need to learn how to respond properly to stress. Responding to stress means calming yourself either with breath control or by changing your environment. Escape the stressor, or deal with it in a healthy and direct way.

How to Prevent Stress

Prevention is something you do all the time, not just when stress happens. Prevention of stress means getting your work done on schedule, making a budget, and controlling your breathing. Do this all the time and you will be better equipped to deal with stress when it comes your way.

The TARP method is just one way of dealing with stress — albeit an effective way. You have to decide for yourself what method of stress relief works best for you. Lots of stress management tips are available on the Internet, and these are just some of the tips that we’ve found most effective in managing and handling stress.

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