Diva In Distress? Here Are 6 R’s To Help You Stress Less!
A recent study found that 73% of Americans surveyed, experience psychological symptoms caused by stress on a regular basis (ex: nervousness or irritability). More than that (77%) regularly experience physical symptoms such as fatigue and headaches. Sound familiar? According to their research, over 1/3 of us feel that we are living with extreme stress and nearly half of us believe that our stress has increased over the past five years. It seems we’re in the midst a stress epidemic.
So, there’s no time like the present to educate ourselves about stress and arm ourselves with the tools that we need to combat it’s adverse physical and psychological effects. After all, April is National Stress Awareness Month.
It’s time that we truly understood stress and learn to reduce, manage and overcome it.
What is Stress?
Some of the most common definitions of stress describe it as a, “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension… a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize.” Essentially, it’s the feeling that comes over us when we believe someone or something needs more than we have to give (money, time, etc.) There are thought to be two types of stress:
Eustress – stress that makes us stronger, healthier and better adapted; it often creates enthusiasm.
Distress – stress that exceeds our ability to cope; it often creates anxiety.
So, if you’re feeling stressed, you may want to ask yourself if the situation is helping you to be better or simply making you feel like you’re just not enough. That might help you better understand just what kind of stress it is that you’re experiencing.
Do I have it?
There are common symptoms shared by people who report high levels of stress:
Physical symptoms – About half feel fatigued (51%) and/or experience headaches (44%). Roughly 1/3 suffer from upset stomachs (34%) and/or muscle tension (30%). Approximately 1/4 notice a change in their appetite (23%) and many also experience other issues like teeth grinding (17%), change in sex drive (15%) and dizziness (13%).
Psychological symptoms – Roughly half report irritability or anger (50%), feeling nervous (45%) and/or a lack of energy (45%). Also, at least 1/3 often feel as though they could cry (35%).
How much of this do you experience on a day-to-day basis? Take inventory. It could very well be an indication that you are living in distress.
How Do I Fix It?
There are many proven ways to manage stress, including progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, guided imagery, transcendental meditation and several therapies. All are useful depending on what you need and what typically works best for you. Through my work, with clients and on myself, I have developed a system that’s been helpful and might just come in handy for you as well. I call it “The 6 Rs”: Retreat, Relax, Review, Refocus, Roadmap and Return.
Retreat – Take a moment to yourself. Do not feel pressured to react or respond to a person or circumstance, the very minute you become upset. Ask, for some time, find a quiet, safe and empty place and give yourself some space to move through your feelings.
Relax – Calm yourself down with a healthy and relaxing activity. Depending on where you are and what you are doing, this can be anything from 5 deep inhales and exhales, to a distraction such as watching television or a release of energy like crying or punching a pillow.
Review – Process what occurred. Ask yourself what fear is being triggered for you, where you got it from and how you can soothe it without giving in to this stress.
Refocus – Give your attention to something positive. Create a gratitude list in your mind or on paper. Search for the lesson hidden in the issue. Think of a positive memory that makes you feel happy. Let some light into your heart in the moment.
Roadmap – Now that you are in a better head-space, take some time to plan ways to move forward. How will you manage the issue at hand? Is there someone you can ask for help (even if it’s just a friendly ear)? Is there a different choice you can make to yield a more positive situation in the future? Is there some way to handle this that you haven’t explored? Remember, this is not necessarily about problem solving. This is about changing the way you deal with a problem, so that you don’t have to live in distress.
Return – Step back into your life and execute the plan. Say what you need to say, calmly and in a way that can be heard. Do what you need to do, carefully and in a way that might change the circumstance. Be who you want to be, gracefully and without the stress.
Now go forward in health. You got this!
For more on Dinorah Nieves, PhD aka Life Coach, Dr.Dee, visit http://www.DinorahNieves.com
 Stress Statistics. (2017, May 18). Retrieved April 08, 2018, from https://www.statisticbrain.com/stress-statistics/
 The American Institute of Stress. (2018, January 23). What is Stress? Retrieved April 17, 2018, from https://www.stress.org/daily-life/
 Salleh, M. R. (2008, October). Life Event, Stress and Illness. Retrieved April 16, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/
 Liza, V. (2015, March 13). Stress management techniques: Evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health. Retrieved April 18, 2018, from http://www.hsj.gr/medicine/stress-management-techniques-evidencebased-procedures-that-reduce-stress-and-promote-health.php?aid=3429
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