Stress is not always a bad thing. Experts say we can’t live without it yet too much of it can threaten our health. Stress pushes some people to new heights of achievement and can get them through school exams or major sporting competitions. For others it drives them to alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness or sometimes suicide.

Stressful things make us adapt to change. Changes can encourage us to achieve and can make our lives better and more interesting. On the other hand stress can produce sadness and despair. For example the stress of a final exam may make us learn and study better, or it could cause us anxiety and misery. Moderate stress can be helpful. Extreme or continual stress can harm our bodies as well as our emotions.

All events and changes in our lives that require us to adapt are stressful. Many of the good things in life such as wealth and love affairs are also stressful. Everyone reacts to situations differently. What may be of little importance to one person may be severely stressful to another.

If you feel like you suffer from stress there are some things you can do to better cope with that stress. Firstly begin by deciding which of the stressors in your life you cannot change, or at least are beyond your control. There is little you can do, for example, about the hot weather. You then have to decide which stressors you can avoid totally. There may be many of these, but be realistic. Dropping out of school is not a very good coping strategy for dealing with the stress of exams. But deciding to no longer go to a place where you always feel uncomfortable may be.

Some stressors in your life might actually be brought about by yourself. Poor planning, putting things off or expecting the worst can actually cause you stress. Make notes about the ways you can reduce some of the stress that you are under – from studying in the library where it is quiet to doing assignments a week earlier. Also, consider some specific strategies for dealing with stress such as techniques in relaxation, time management, improving your diet, fitness and spirituality. If you are feeling stressed out it is important to talk to people about it. Family, friends or even a doctor can help you calm down.

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