Stress – does anyone live without it? I know that I don’t. If you are one of the lucky ones who has absolutely no stress in your life, then you may decide that you don’t need to take the time to read this; for the rest, read on.
Although there are two types of stress – “good” stress (eustress) that motivates us to do better and “bad” stress (distress) that can have harmful effects – the stress to which I refer is the kind that can be called “bad” stress. We all know what “bad” stress can do: high blood pressure, weight gain or conversely loss of appetite and weight loss, depression, insomnia, fatigue, headaches, a weakened immune system are just some side-effects of what can develop from “bad” stress. I’m sure you can easily add to the list.
I wish I had a magical answer that will help to make the “bad” stress go away but I don’t. However, I do have some suggestions. I won’t say that I have any new insights and, yes, you may have heard these all before but I’ve found that sometimes a reminder is needed to help me get back on track. Maybe it will help you too.
One method I’ve found helpful when I’m stressed is to take deep breaths, inhaling deeply and then letting the breath out slowly. Sometimes taking one deep breath and letting it out slowly is all I need but there are times when I need to do this several times in a row before I begin to feel myself relax. Although I have never tried it, I’ve read that stretching your arms while you breathe in and out helps also.
Exercise is usually on lists of how to relieve stress. It can be as simple as taking a walk or as complex as working out at the gym. Some people rely on the combination of exercise and meditation techniques such as yoga or tai chi as a way to reduce stress. Many people practice meditation as a stress reliever and say it helps them relax; in fact prestigious medical organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have recommended meditation to help reduce stress.
Find support from others. Sharing your concerns with others may help relieve stress but you need to choose someone who you know will listen and be willing to validate your feelings; otherwise, sharing can add to stress.
These are just a few suggestions I came up with and there are of course many more ideas. In fact, NCTC Libraries actually have several books that discuss stress, both the good and the bad (yes, I know you knew this was coming, but I am a librarian after all). The following is a selected list of books that you may choose from:
Chambers, Ruth, Anthony Schwartz, and Elizabeth Boath. Beating Stress in the NHS [electronic resource]. Abingdon, U.K.: Radcliffe Publishing Limited, 2003. Available in eBook Collection (EBSCOhost)
Although in the Introduction the authors state that the book is intended for anyone working in the health field and explain that, “The aim of this book is to provide you with opportunities and options to control and minimize stress that arises from your work in the health service,” there is information within the book that is useful for anyone experiencing stress, especially in chapters three, five, and six.
Cunningham J. The Stress Management Sourcebook [electronic resource]. Los Angeles: NTC Contemporary; 2000. Available in eBook Collection (EBSCOhost).
The author claims that, “In reading this book and participating in its many exercises, you will become aware of your values, beliefs, habits, and behaviors. You will be introduced to a range of tools that you can use in designing stress management strategies individualized to your needs.” The author further asserts that this book, “…illustrates ways of reducing stress and developing a more satisfying and happier lifestyle.”
Rosenthal, M. Sara. 50 Ways to Prevent and Manage Stress [electronic resource]. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001. Available in eBook Collection (EBSCOhost).
The author says that, “This book is designed to help you reorganize your priorities so that you can reduce chronic stress as well as incorporate a few new healing strategies to help combat acute stress” and lists 50 ways that he considers helpful.
Nist-Olejnik, Sherrie and Jodi Patrick Holschuh. College Rules! How to Study, Survive, and Succeed in College. Ten Speed Press, 2011. Corinth Campus Library. Call Number: LB2343.32 .N57 2011
Abstract: An updated and expanded edition of a college survival primer by two college professors, this book shares essential advice and strategies on topics ranging from stress management and test preparation to staying motivated and balancing academics with a social life.
Vye, Christopher, Kathlene Scholljegerdes, and I. David Welch. Under Pressure and Overwhelmed: Coping with Anxiety in College. Praeger, 2007. Corinth Campus Library. Call Number: LA 229 .V94 2007
The authors mention two objectives for their book: “First, to enhance students’ awareness of the expected and normal stresses of college life and the ways in which, like those in the larger society, they are affected by them” and “Second, it is the intention of the book to describe the nature of anxiety, its common manifestations, and provide methods for effectively coping with it.”
Pflum, Neil O. BE Success: Discover the Secret of Having the Life You Really Want. Musical Motivator Press, 2005. Flower Mound Campus Library. Call Number: BF637.S8 P45 2005
From the back cover of this book: “”BE Success reveals powerful insights and ideas on how to be successful. Most people aren’t doing the right things in the right order, which leads to stress, depleted energy, and overall ineffectiveness.”
Melnick, Sharon. Success under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive when the Pressure’s on. Amacom, 2013. Gainesville Campus Library. Call Number: HF5548.85 .M45 2013
The author states that in her book, “you’ll learn hundreds of strategies that will enable you to succeed quickly, even in the face of the most common stresses, such as interpersonal friction and having too much work but not enough time.” She states that the book is for people who “Work in an overwhelming environment where you have to influence people to get things done; Own your own business where you ‘wear all the hats’; Seek to ease your financial stress and feel you’re stretched thin; [and] Face a lack of self-confidence that causes you to ‘get in your own way’ or are reactive in relationships…”
Strand, Joseph and Leigh M. Devine. Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2012. Gainesville Campus Library. Call Number: RA 785 .S544 2012
Provided by the publisher: “This book provides readers with psychological and physical strategies necessary to keep stress from undermining their health, their joy, and the happiness of those around them. These simple and practical strategies help relieve our stress, and the stress of those around us.”
Coping with Stress. [videorecording] Educational Video Network, 2005. Gainesville Campus Library. Call Number: BF575 .S75 C67 2005 DVD
Abstract: Stress affects everyone, both emotionally and physically. For some, mismanaged stress can result in substance abuse, violence, or even suicide. This program answers the question, ‘How can a person cope with stress?’
— Contributed by Diane Roether, Dean of Libraries, NCTC