HOW TO: Manage Stress, Part II: Improve how you react to Stress

A few weeks ago, we spoke about identifying your stress triggers. Now, let’s focus on ways which you can improve your reaction to these stressful situations.

 Step 1: Look at your existing responses.

Look at the responses you currently undertake when you encounter a stressful situation. For example, if you get annoyed due to a rough day, pressure based on your financial situation or because of other matters, then monitor how you respond: do you get angry, irritated, shout in public, get physically involved? The first step to solving a problem is understanding that a problem exists.

thinking about stress, react to stress, reaction to stressful events in life
How do you normally respond to stress?

Step 2: React better

When you have the time, take 15minutes to view Dr. Kelly Mcgonigals’ TED talk on How to Make Stress your friend. It’s fascinating, as it suggests that your perception of stress defines how stress effects you. For example, believing stress is bad means that people are more likely to have more ‘stress related illnesses’. However, if you perceive stress to be a good method to get yourself ‘ready’ for life’s challenges, it can serve you well by allowing you to form relationships with people (to help you through tough times) and releasing Oxytocin, sometimes called the ‘happy hormone’ which is associated with feelings like joy and ecstasy. 

ted talk given by dr kelly how to make stress your friend
Dr Kelly gives her TED talk

Step 3: Application

That being said, learn to improve your reaction to stressful events. Below are 5 popular tips to get started:

1. Count to 10 slowly: Sometimes you just need to step back and relax.

2. Be in Control: Realize that you can only control your actions, and not the action’s of others. Basically, you alone determine how you react according to the challenges life throws at you.

3. Get a stress ball: These are available in Sri Lanka in Pettah and numerous other locations. If you cant get them, consider buying them online (Upto Rs. 500) and since they are made of foam, just squeeze them whenever you get worked up. The idea is to transfer all your stress onto the foam ball. This is especially popular among working individuals!

stress ball

4. Prioritize: If you work or are in university, learn to prioritize your workload. Order your activities based on the most important ones and create a work routine. Tackling the most pressing issues first will make life a little easier. Take a notepad, or use apps

5. Get healthier: if you’re not doing so already, learn to exercise often and eat healthier. You can run, go to the gym, play a sport, do yoga, get involved in Zumba-anything you like, but be consistent. Consitency in eating well and exercising gives you peace of mind and goes a long way towards improving your health

How do you manage stress? Tell us in the comments below!

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

HOW TO: Manage Stress. Part I: What Stresses you out?

Stress is built into our system, its part of our ‘fight or flight’ system. Its how our bodies adapt to challenging situations. That said, we seemingly believe that stress is always bad for you. This is not true.

stressed out
Confused? Keep reading

Upto a certain level stress is good as the adrenaline keeps us going, and helps us overcome our struggles. However too much stress affects you negatively by disrupting your sleeping patterns, causes difficulty in concentrating on tasks and makes people a lot more irritable and anxious. In a nutshell, stress can be visualized onto a graph such as this:

stress

How do you know if you’re stressed? Here are the signs.

  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling irritable
  • Frequent headaches
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep

 

destress
Identify what makes you stressed out, and learn to relax

Common Stress Triggers

Now that you can understand when you’re stressed, its necessary to know what causes stress. Common stress triggers often include the following, but aren’t limited to:

  • Financial difficulties
  • Getting injured or badly ill
  • Traumatic events such as war, violence or natural disasters.
  • Emotional issues such as anger, depression and low self esteem
  • Work stress
  • Significant life events: losing a job, death in the family, moving to a new country, divorce, getting married.
notepad
Homeowork: Write down your stress triggers

Now, Ask yourself: ‘What stresses me out?’ and write these down. Now that you know what your stress triggers are, you will be more prepared to deal with stress the next time it happens. We will cover this more in part II. Until then, have a low-stress week!

Note:– If you think you need a rest day, you might use the upcoming long weekend to relax and take a rest day.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

Opening up about Prostate Cancer in Sri Lanka

The month of ”Movember” is now  upon us, as men around the world grow their ‘staches for a month. They do this to raise awareness and funding for prostrate cancer and mental health- serious issues which affect men. Keeping in mind that we have written about mental health in the past, it made sense to follow up with a discussion about prostate cancer in Sri Lanka and how it affects life insurance applications.

Asian men don’t report Prostate Cancer
 
Aloysius, C reports that prostate cancer is where abnormal cells grow excessively in the prostrate gland, and spread to the rest of the body. This is the most common type of cancer faced by men all over the world. Some studies suggest that Asian men have the lowest reported levels when compared to other races. However, when reported, they are more likely to have more advanced stages of prostate cancer when compared to their counterparts.
Prostate cancer
Image Credit: Pinterest

Similar patterns among Sri Lankan men and mental health

Aside from Prostate cancer, mental health issues are very common to Sri Lanka. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that  20% of Sri Lankans suffer from a mental illness, and only one in five of those receive the necessary treatment. There are numerous reasons cited for this; too few doctors treat too many patients (over 200 patients visit centres daily, and less than 70 qualified personnel cater to them) and treatment centres are only available in cities. The social stigma associated with having a mental illness is another reason why men are reluctant to get treatment. This appears to support the findings above, where men are reluctant to seek treatment until the disease, (prostate cancer or mental illness), has gotten worse.

How Prostate Cancer affects my Life Insurance Application

 These are factors which we take into consideration*
  • Date when cancer was diagnosed
  • Stage of prostate cancer
  • Treatment received
  • Stage of treatment-ongoing or completed
  • Recurrences and complications (if any)
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other areas of the body

Conclusion

If you have prostate cancer (or know someone who does), and need life insurance, call us on 0114-384-384. As an insurance firm, we are committed to helping you by protecting you and your loved ones.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

* This is not an exhaustive list. Terms and conditions apply. Please check your individual policy for further information

Be a Hero: Take a Stand Against Suicide

Suicide: A major problem in Sri Lanka

According to a staggering new WHO Report, Sri Lanka is the 4th most suicide prone country in the world, with 28.8 individuals per 100,000 committing suicide. This is significantly higher than the global rate of 11.4 per 100,000 individuals, with the most commonly used methods involving firearms, pesticide poisoning, hanging and jumping off buildings. Add to the fact that 3500 Sri Lankans took their lives last year, it makes for grim reading. Gunatilleke (2013) reports that suicide is a significant reason for the demise of individuals between 15 and 35. The question is: Why?

Help Someone Tackle Depression Identifying the Issues

The World Happiness Report 2013 may shed some light on this dilemma. Sri Lanka is one of the least happiest countries in the world, ranking 137 out of a measured 156 nations. The report adds that we have become less happier since the first report was published in 2010. Further reading cites mental health as the ‘single most important cause of unhappiness’, and manifests in the form of depression and anxiety. Wickramasinghe (2014) agrees, suggesting the victim often feels that the level of suffering is too much and wants to end his/her suffering. Other reasons are due to psychosis, impulsive behaviour and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), where victims are exposed to highly traumatic experiences such as war, violence, death threats or sexual assault.

Help is Available

If you, dear reader, can relate to this article and feel that you have depression and/or suicidal thoughts, please contact Sumithrayo. They are a non profit who have listened to countless stories for over 40 years and will help you too. They have trained professionals who conduct awareness programs and are available 365 days a year, maintain client confidentiality and offer their services for free to those who need it the most. Contact can be reached via phone, email, letters or on a face to face basis and go out of their way to provide you the emotional support which you need.

In the meantime, get a Hope box and fill it with your with items which mean a lot to you: letters/emails from those who care about you, pictures of the ones you love, photographs of the special times in your life, inspirational or religious quotes, a CD of your favorite songs, jokes or a DVD of your favorite comedian which make you laugh-anything which helps you smile. At the end of the day, no matter what, suicide is not the answer.

Smile. Image credit: www.ft.lk

Help a Friend

If you know someone who may display warning signs of being overwhelmed or depressed, take action. The cues are often subtle, and may be physical, behavioural or even noticeable in everyday conversation. If you notice that something may be amiss, speak up and say you want to help them.  If you know somebody who has been a little distant, ask how they are doing and let them know you care.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.