Are any of these items moving? Or are they perfectly still? The picture below is used to test the level of stress a person can handle. The slower the pictures move, the better your ability of handling stress. None of these images are animated – they are perfectly still.

This emailed stress test has been circulating the internet lately. We all feel quite proud of ourselves when we make the little picture almost stand still. We desire to be stress-free. Whether or not this test is valid, it did make me think about the stress in our lives right now and how we can better deal with it.

I will admit there is a lot more stress in my life than in the past years. I work full time, have a husband, and 3 kids who are at the age of driving, dating, college and more, have money woes like most people that I know, am active in 2 organizations, and created this website with my good friends.

Obviously, I have put a lot of this stress on myself. And except for the money woes, I enjoy all the other activities that create this stress. Stress does not always mean burden. Nevertheless, it can become overwhelming at times, and we need to learn how to cope. Too much stress, or in other words, not handling your stress well can lead to health problems that we all want to avoid, like migraines, stomach aches, neck & back pain, and worse.

I tend to handle stress by eating too much. Comfort food. Many of you probably do the same, but there are plenty of other unhealthy ways that people handle stress.

Smoking Overeating or under-eating
Drinking Anger
Drugs Working too much
Withdrawal Uncontrolled emotions
Sleeping too much Procrastinating

Now let’s cover some healthy ways to deal with your stress. Yes, there are healthy ways to deal with your stress but they do require a conscience effort to make the change. Generally, there are 4 ways to deal with stress. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As:

Change the stressful situation by avoiding or altering the stressor. Change your reaction to the stressful situation by adapting or accepting the stressor.

We have had lots of coffee shop discussions about the stress in our lives. Sharing your problems with dear friends, your family, clergy, or a professional can all help identify the root of your stress, and help disperse your problems. We realize that there are some situations in our lives that stressing about (in other words, “worrying”) will not change, so you then need to change how you deal with it…adapt or accept. Other problems can be dealt with by avoiding or altering (changing your husband is not one of them! Ha!)

Your homework is to sit down and identify the cause of your stress in your life. Write them down if need be.