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Figure Out How You Fight Stress

By Sandy Schroeder

In the midst of the pandemic, all of us have to deal with stress in one way or another. If you are like me, you make one list stacked on top of another. Or you may be more like a friend of mine who simply shrugs, smiles and keeps going, letting everything unfold as it will. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. took a look at what happens when we handle stress in these two different ways, as we overfunction or underfunction, according to  psychiatrist, Dr. Murray Bowen.

Overfunctioning can mushroom into micro-managing everything and everyone or just simply help to get a whole lot of things done. Underfunctioning can unravel as little details get lost, or it can succeed in getting everyone to pull together and share the load.

Overfunctioners can be vulnerable to burnout because of the continued pace, while underfunctioners can become swamped and tend to let others take over.

If this sounds familiar, or you actually see yourself somewhere in the middle of these two positions, here are some stress coping strategies that might help.

Remember to just breathe - When you feel yourself winding up and going faster and faster, or feeling like you are going under, use your breath to calm your body and your mind. Breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system to create relaxation and calm the brain. Find a good breathing exercise that works for you.

Know what pushes your button - Over time we learn what stresses us out the most. We recognize the feelings of stress, look at them and talk about them to avoid negative reactions and operate effectively.

Connect with peers, coaches or mentors - You might need to be more motivated or less compulsive. Either way, finding people who can mirror your stress as they listen to you and talk with you can be invaluable. They will help you stay grounded or pick up speed.

Treat yourself better as you rethink everything - If you know you try to do too much, try putting a little less on your schedule next week, and do a little less for those around you. Take a look at those who really need your help, versus those who really can cope on their own and will benefit from becoming more self reliant.

On the other hand if you know you need to move a little faster, pick one thing to start and finish to build some momentum. Ask yourself what is the most important step that you should do right now. Get that done and then move on to another key step.

Overall, give yourself the benefit of the doubt - Most of us function somewhere in the middle range, which helps us recognize stress and deal with it in ways that we have learned will work, but we can always benefit from a better understanding of the process.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach, Calif.

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