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Oh, So Stressful!

In life, stuff happens!

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – A student comes into a classroom and the teacher immediately announces there is a surprise test.  An employee finds out the project on which she has been working is due this week instead of next week.  A husband walks into the room and tells his family they will be moving to another state in one month.  The air conditioner breaks down in the middle of summer.  In life, stuff happens!  Everyone has to deal with stress in some form or fashion.  With each new day comes a different set of circumstances.  How a person reacts to and copes with these circumstances is very important.  Each of the situations mentioned have the potential to cause great stress in someone’s life.  Some people will react strongly, with fear, anxiety or resentment.  Others just take these situations in stride. 

     Many events that cause stress are caused by the person themselves.  Waiting until the last minute to do something, not studying enough for a test, running late, or forgetting an important deadline are things a person can control.  Sometimes the event that causes stress is something that cannot be controlled—a flat tire, broken appliances, a natural disaster, or death of a loved one.  Stress is not defined by the event itself; stress is the way a person reacts to the event.

     People deal with stress in one of two ways.  They have healthy reactions, and they have unhealthy reactions.  Problems come with the unhealthy reactions.  Examples of unhealthy ways of reacting to stress include fighting, yelling at someone, being rude or short tempered, withdrawing from friends or family, abusing drugs or alcohol, becoming depressed, and sometimes even suicide. 

     Since stress is the body’s reaction to circumstances and change, it is important to learn how to cope with situations in a healthy way.  The following list includes some ways of dealing with stress and help create a more healthy response to not-so-pleasant events. 

  1. Stop a minute, take a deep breath, assess the situation and tell yourself “I can do this!”
  2. Practice better time management.  Leave a little earlier, start a project well in advance, set small goals that are realistic and achievable.  Be a planner!
  3. Get more sleep.  Sleep is important for a person’s mental and physical health.
  4. Talk it over.  Sometimes just talking to a friend about a situation helps to put the whole thing into perspective.
  5. Get up and move.  Walk, play a game, exercise, play with the kids, refocus your attention on something else for a bit.
  6. Create a “to do” list and make sure to include “keep a sense of humor and have some fun” on that list. 
  7. Listen to music.  Calm, relaxing music is a great stress reliever.
  8. Learn to say no.  People react with stress because of overly committing themselves.  Even doing good things can cause problems when a person tries to do too much.
  9. Visually see yourself handling situations positively.

10. Expect the unexpected.  Some things happen that are beyond our control and we just have to cope with them as they happen. 

     Health and lifestyle benefits come from learning to positively deal with stress: fewer physical symptoms like headache and back pain, fewer emotional responses such as anger and frustration, more energy to face the day, improved concentration, greater ability to handle problems, and becoming more efficient in daily activities.  Reactions to circumstances are formed in the mind.  Reactions are choices.  Today, choose to react in a positive manner.

 

For more information about meetings, Garland County 4-H Club membership or program benefits, contact the Garland County Cooperative Extension office located at 236 Woodbine in Hot Springs, or call 501-623-6841 or 922-4703.  You may also contact Linda Bates at lbates@uaex.edu.  Additional information is available at our website:  www.uaex.edu/garland

Master Gardener Information

Master Gardener meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Elks Lodge.  They’re open to the public and guests are always welcome. For more information call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Allen Bates at abates@uaex.edu

EHC Information

Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC contact Jessica Vincent on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email her at jvincent@uaex.edu.

 

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

By Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Linda Bates
County Extension Agent - 4-H
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841
lbates@uaex.edu

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

    The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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