Sometimes people find it really hard to get motivated. How to motivate yourself in times of stress is a key question to braking a viscous circle. You wake up, think of all the obligations and responsibilities you have to meet, look at your to do list and struggle top determine where to start. You can't even motivate yourself to get going. Is there a solution? The number one thing you need to do is get in control of stress and how it is effecting you.
Everywhere I turn, I hear people saying, “I'm so stressed out,” or “I'm under so much stress.”
Just look at what stress is doing to society. Statistics demonstrate how widespread the physical effects of stress are on society: 47% report lying awake at night, 45% report irritability or anger, 43% report fatigue, 40% report lack of interest, motivation or energy, 34% report headaches, 34% report feeling sad or depressed, 32% report feeling as though they could cry, and 27% report upset stomach or indigestion. I think it goes a long way to show how debilitating and harmful this thing called stress can be.
What is stress?
Webster's Dictionary defines stress as:
A physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation
Stress is a normal part of daily life. In fact it's a natural physical and mental response that is designed to help you cope effectively with emergencies. Stress makes your body produce chemicals that raise your heart rate and blood pressure and increase mental focus. This helps you to perform well in a challenging situation over a short period of time.
The problems from stress happen when stress is regular and doesn't let up. The chemicals the body releases can build up and cause changes that damage your physical and mental health.
What causes a person to feel stressed?
Stress can come from different areas of your life. There may be problems at home with your family, such as your parents splitting up or financial difficulties causing problems.
Many teenagers worry about exams and their future. They are so desperate to do well for themselves, they may feel that they have to meet family expectations, and they place themselves into a highly pressurised way of existence.
Certain studies and reports suggest that stress at work is one of the biggest areas of concern. For the majority of employees work worries are increasing. Job security is an obvious source of stress.
Some things that happen in your life can be stressful particularly life changes. If you have had to deal with one or more life events occurring over the last year you will probably be more likely to be stressed.
The pressures and demands that cause stress are known as stressors. Anything that produces stress is called a stressor; a major life event, a situation, an object, or a thought that will cause the stress response to occur in the body. The degree to which any stressful situation or event effects someone depends partly on the nature of the stressor itself and partly on their personal and external resources.
There are so many causes of stress. With every individual being different what is stressful to one person, isn't necessarily stressful to another. It depends very much on each person's personality, their general outlook on life, if they are generally positive or negative with their thoughts, whether they possess problem solving skills, and the make up of their social support network. How you react to a given situation depends on your personality, your skills, your knowledge, your attitudes, your experience, your motivation… in other words on you.
How do you know if you are stressed?
Whatever the cause, the results are usually the same. When we are unable to cope with the pressures in our lives, stress will then affect us physically, mentally and emotionally. Stress can affect almost every aspect of our lives from our relationship with others, our success at work to our self-esteem and physical health. If not controlled and managed it can dominate our lives.
Common mental health symptoms include:
- feeling angry or irritable
- feeling anxious
- being moody and easily frustrated
- feeling like crying regularly
- having low self esteem or lacking confidence
- feeling restless all the time
- having trouble concentrating
Common physical symptoms include:
- feeling sick in the stomach
- having constipation or diarrhoea
- having stomach aches and/or headaches
- having problems sleeping
- feeling constantly tired
- sweating a lot
- having cramps or twitches
- feeling dizzy or fainting
- eating too much or too little
- using drugs or smoking
It doesn't do us good unchecked
So it's obvious too much stress is not a good thing. It can totally debilitate us and leave us unable to tackle the pressures that are upon our shoulders. Instead of simply giving in to stress you've got to get things in control.
What can you do about it?
There are some simple tips to help you reduce and deal with stress in your life.
At times you find it hard to get motivated because you are so stressed out. You need to learn to relax!
You can bring your stress levels down by using relaxation techniques that induce the body's relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. Regularly practicing these techniques will build your physical and emotional resilience, heal your body, and boost your overall feelings.
Exercises that slow your breathing and relax your muscles can help with stress, like deep breathing exercise. Relaxing your muscles with Progressive Muscular Relaxation can help with aches and pains, fatigue, headaches and difficulty breathing.
Life gets so much easier, and stress reduces when you spend less time worrying about things that are stressing you out. Taking time out to do something distracting or something you enjoy will really help reduce your stress levels. For me going to the gym and listening to music, playing sport or watching a movie are great ways to get my mind off stressful situations that I may be dealing with.
To many of you work too hard, putting in crazy long hours and even taking your work home with you. It's really important for you to find a balance between your work and doing the things that you enjoy. This may entail you learning to say ‘no' more often so you are not always adding extra things to your already busy agenda.
Physical activity such as swimming, walking, going to the gym helps lessen the tension in your muscles and your mind. I find this together with eating healthily a great way to keep stress in check.
Taking a break helps you when stress is zapping you of your motivation. Go, read a book, go for a walk, meet a friend.
Laughter is the best medicine. It is free of cost and has no side effects. It is found that laughter decreases the blood levels of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. You know you feel at your best when you are laughing and happy.
You may find that doing something different will help you . Check out the many articles I have written on Stress Management. It really will help you big time.