Posted on May 4th, 2006

Stress ia a common part of our daily lives.

Whether we master our stress or our stress masters us makes all the difference.

Depending on the type, amount, duration and intensity of the stress, we can reach a critical limit that differs for each person.

When our stress limit is reached, we send signals to ourselves warning us to slow down or change. We often either miss or ignore these signals until a crisis gets our full attention.

Family physician Dr Karl Hempel tells me that a significant portion of his patients report some kind of stress related symptom. Hopefully these symptoms force us to recognize and deal with the situation.

Signs and symptoms of stress overload

1. Hurrying everywhere, walking, talking, driving faster and faster.

2. Feeling depressed, bored or apathetic most of the time.

3. Feeling chronicaly dissatisfied with life.

4. An otherwise unexplainable change is eating or sleeping habits.

5. Becoming a slave to time saving devices such as the cell phone, palm pilot, etc.

6. Valuing how much you get done vs. how well you do it.

Stress mastering actions you can take

1. Say not when you mean no when your dance card is already full. Keep a 3×5 card at your desk with the word NO printed in large black letters, just as a gentle reminder to yourself.

2. Give up the victim role. Take responsibility for what you can control and influence.

3. As Clint Eastwood said: "A man’s got to know his limitations." You are human and have limits to your time and energy.

4. Take good care of your machine. Eat, exercise and sleep in ways that support you.

5. Organize your time.

6. Take mini-vacations.Whether its a 10 minute nap or a three day getaway, taking a break refreshes you.

These tips, when used, can help you master your stress instead of it mastering you.

Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for tips and tools for creating and growing a great relationship. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 10 day e-program on how to enrich your relationship today, from relationship coach and expert Jeff Herring.

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