Divide and Conquer to Beat Stress

Stress is an interesting phenomenon.  On one hand, it can save our life if we are threatened.  On the other, it can kill us if left unmanaged.  Not enough stress can stress us out.  Too much stress can over-stress us to the point of illness.  The key of course is to learn to manage it.

Hungarian endocrinologist Hans Selye coined the term “stress” back in 1936.   He referred to the condition as one that happens when there was “a non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.”  This could mean a good response (eustress) or a bad one (distress).  In figuring out how to deal with stress more effectively, we then must learn how to divide and conquer.

In my mind, there are six areas that can cause us stress.  They are:

  • Work
  • Familial
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Relational
  • Spiritual

For us to manage our stress, we first must identify the area that’s triggering it and deal with that area first.  If we don’t, then we can expect the stress will move from eustress (helpful) to distress (harmful).

For example, if we are stress out about our tyrant boss, the way to deal with it wouldn’t be working out harder (although that might help with the symptoms).  We would have to develop the assertiveness to confront our boss or look for another job.  Over the next few weeks we’ll look at each stressor and identify some coping mechanisms to deal with them.

For this week, take some time to identify the areas in your life that lead you to the most stress.  By using the principle of dividing and conquering, we can better manage stress and become a more effective worker, family-member, and friend.