Don’t Stress About Being Stressed

September 1, 2010


Stress is an unavoidable consequence of life and, seemingly, a daily occurrence for truckers. Stress has physical and emotional effects on us and can create positive or negative feelings.

In small doses, stress can help us perform under pressure stress and can result in a new awareness and perspective. As a negative influence, stress can result in feelings of distrust, rejection, anger, depression, etc. This, in turn, can adversely affect our lives by causing health problems, robbing us of energy and making us feel tired and apathetic.

Stress also creates changes in emotional behavior, causing some people to become irritable and short-tempered, go through rapid mood changes and take unusual risks.

The fact is: drivers under stress are more likely to have accidents caused by mistakes in judgment.

What I have learned is that the foundation to managing stress is to accept the fact that you will never be able to eliminate stress from your life. The key is to manage stress so as to minimize its negative consequences.

Here are some tips for doing just that:
•Keep physically fit and exercise regularly. Exercise is a great way to work off stress and increase energy levels. Numerous studies have shown that exercise can relieve anxiety, improve attentiveness, dissipate stress and elevate mood.
• Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
• Get enough rest and sleep.
•Lighten up, learn to relax and laugh more. Research has shown that laughter is not only a powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict, but provides numerous health benefits as well.
• Learn to forgive yourself and view mistakes as learning experiences.
• Try not to please everyone.
• Try not to overreact and don’t view everything as critical and urgent.
• Learn to moderate your physical reactions to stress. For example, by taking deep breaths or counting to ten.
• Develop some mutually supportive friendships and relationships.
• Expect some frustrations, aggravations, failures and sorrows.
• Do something enjoyable every day to take your mind off your stress. Develop a hobby or find outside interests. Having some leisure time is not only a way to deal with stress but can make you more productive when you get back to work.
•Show some kindness and courtesy.

To sum up: don’t stress about being stressed. There will always be stress in life. The key is to endeavor to manage the stress and take care of yourself in the process.