Stress is a state of imbalance. The term ‘coping with stress’ is used to describe all reactions to challenges in a particularly important situation, which can compel people to take action, but is beyond their existing abilities. Stressful situations are stimulus events that require an adaptive reaction from the organism. Stress can often be associated with the experience of an imminent loss of control of the action. This creates intense negative emotions like fear or annoyance.
Stress can have both negative and positive sides. Positive stress is often referred to as Eustress. It is perceived as a challenge and is motivated to take creative action. Negative stress that is harmful to health, is also known as Distress. It is perceived as a conflict, evokes negative feelings such as fear and helplessness and leads to the prevention of evasive behaviour.
There are common misconceptions about stress and coping that are extremely counterproductive. Nevertheless, these beliefs persist strongly amongst stressed individuals. But stress can be easier to treat than you think. Not falling into the stress traps listed here brings you one step closer to your stress management.
Misconception 1: External Circumstances are Responsible for My Stress
Medical examinations show that stress does not necessarily arise from a large workload, but primarily through a feeling. The feeling of being exposed to a situation that you believe, you will not be able to handle. Stress varies highly from how we think about ourselves, our situation and our life.
Observe what happens when you have a technical problem and call the phone support to get help. The technical problem in itself is annoying but the feeling of helplessness, endless queue and incompetent and clueless call centre employees aggravate the stress levels. To lower stress, you need to analyze your situation and consider the perspectives of other people.
You can talk to your friends about your situation and get support from a counselling centre or a therapist.
Misconception 2: There Is Nothing You Can Do About the Stress Your Life
You can influence situations. If this is not possible, you can avoid or leave situations. Even if that is not possible, it helps to take a more relaxed stance by accepting the outcome. Everything in our life changes and every situation, no matter how uncomfortable it is, will be over at some point. You can try to find something positive in a challenging situation. Practice getting more composure and skill in dealing with problems.
Remember that you always have choices: Love it, change it or leave it but decide and be happy.
Misconception 3: Stress at The Workplace Cannot Be Avoided
Another misconception about stress is that a high level of workload is a major stressor, which is found to be not true. Fellow human beings were designated as the primary stress factor. The way we treat others and the way they deal with us has a lot of stressful potential for aggression in human interaction.
Don’t relate everything to yourself. Exercise tolerance for the shortcomings of your colleagues and superiors. Learn nonviolent communication. You will then be able to convey your own needs and desires confidently but in a friendly and appreciative manner.
Misconception 4: Alcohol Reduces Stress
A common misconception is that a glass of wine in the evening is a good means of relaxation, however, it does exactly the opposite. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the processes of tension and relaxation in the body are regulated by the liver. When we feel stress, the liver is heated. Alcohol also heats them. This increases the stress level in the long term.
Have a glass of red wine with friends in the evening but don’t use alcohol to relax or to relieve stress.
Misconception 5: Coping With Stress Means Using Tricks to Calm Down Immediately
No matter what many advisers tell you, permanently lowering the stress level requires some effort. Most people overestimate what they can achieve in the short term, but they underestimate what they can achieve in the long term.
Misconception 6: Neither The Time Nor The Opportunity to Do Relaxation Exercises
To say that you don’t have time, actually means that something else is more important to you. In the future, give three small exercises priority in your daily work routine.
3 Simple But Effective Exercises
Start your day with the exercise – ‘Do Nothing – Part 1’
Before you start work, sit down for five minutes, put your legs up, and look outside. If the sight is not beautiful, close your eyes and imagine yourself amidst nature. Pay attention only to your breathing. Then start the day calmly and centred.
End your day with the exercise – ‘Do nothing – Part 2’
Repeat the exercise from the beginning of the day. Leave the working day behind and look forward to the more pleasant things in life.
Practice Toilet Meditation
The toilet is the only place where you are guaranteed not to be disturbed, so it is a well-suited place for small intermediate exercises and careful breathing.
Misconception 7: Meditation is Something Silent That Needs to Be Practised Calmly
This is a common misconception. Rest can indeed be found amidst an active schedule. There are extremely dynamic relaxation methods that lead to rest through active phases, especially for people who do not come down from 100 to 0 in two seconds. For example, Kundalini meditation by Osho.
Misconception 8: Coping With Stress Means Learning Certain Techniques
Learning certain methods or techniques is an elementary part of stress management. However, these measures are usually not sufficient. Stress management also includes dealing with your thoughts and feelings. Those who have a negative attitude towards themselves, others and life can practice endlessly without really developing a deep composure.
Misconception 9: Short-term Measures and Small Tricks Are Enough to Cope With Stress
Short-term measures can be used to prevent an internal and controlled fire from becoming a wildfire. However, to bring about a permanent change in stress behaviour, the brain and body must be specifically conditioned using exercises over a longer period. Here too, the gods have put sweat before success.
Misconception 10: Only Medication Can Help Against The Physical and Psychological Effects of Stress
In particularly stressful situations, it can make sense to use anti-depressant medications to lower blood pressure or to reduce gastric juices. At the same time, however, meditation or a relaxation process should be learned, cognitive restructuring and comprehensive life rehabilitation should be undertaken.
Medications should only be used as a bridge and should be gradually discontinued as physical and mental stability improves.