On Call with Vanessa Carter – Stress Management – November 4, 2010 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – Vanessa Carter is a Medical Student from Cornwall Ontario.   She’s the first recepeient of a program from the City that awards medical students funding provided they return to Cornwall and practice medicine.
She takes time from her studies occasionally to share her experiences with our viewers.   Here is her latest installment of On Call!
Hello again,
I wasn’t sure what to write about this time, until we had a lecture on stress management. Yes, at first, I’m sure all 44 students thought
“Why do we need to attend an hour & a half lecture on stress management in our curriculum? Aren’t we at a point in our lives where we know how to deal with stress on our own?”
However, within a few minutes of the presentation, this gentleman was able to catch our attention & eliminate these negative feelings.
He first began by asking us how we defined stress; & yet not many had the same definition. Generally speaking, one could define stress as a physical, mental, or emotional response to an incident that causes either bodily or mental tension.
This definition could encompass so many different stressors including family, friends, employment, education, wealth & the list continues. It seems that essentially anything could become a stressor to anyone at any point in life & subsequently each person manages it in an individual manner.
However, is there one right way to manage stress? Is there one magical recipe that we are not aware of? I’m sure we all hoped that this would be true & would finally learn the “how to” within this presentation; yet this was not the case.
From this presentation, he really made me realize that stress is inevitable. We all have been, are or will be stressed due to various reasons & there’s essentially no way to avoid it.
Therefore, the first step of stress management is its recognition. Following this step, now the “how to” deal with the stress involves us to first change the situation, by avoiding & altering the stressor,  as well as change our reaction to this stressor by adapting & accepting to the stressor.
There are countless ways to do so, yet the following is only a short list of examples; learning to say no, expressing your feelings & being more assertive, better time management, focus on the positive, don’t try to control the uncontrollable as well as learning to forgive.  He then added a table that I thought had great healthy ways to relax & recharge that we could all incorporate in our stress management.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Spend time in nature.
  • Call a good friend.
  • Sweat out tension with a good workout.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Take a long bath.
  • Light scented candles
  • Savor a warm cup of coffee or tea.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Work in a garden.
  • Get a massage.
  • Curl up with a good book.
  • Listen to music.
  • Watch a comedy
As a conclusion to his presentation & to my entry of this blog, in the end, we really need to try to avoid getting caught up in the “hustle” of life & forget to take care of ourselves. We need to realize that nurturing ourselves is a necessity & not a luxury as we are the only ones that will be selfish of our own needs. Make sure to set aside relaxation time, connect with others and try to do something we enjoy every day.
These are only a few pieces of the puzzle to stay healthy mentally; but we must recognize that every day various stressors may arise, but the importance is to learn our individual preferences of “how to deal” with these stressors & thus maintain a healthy psychological self which is a significant aspect to overall good health.

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