Stress is an internal state that can be caused by social and environmental situations which can be uncontrollable and harmful and exceeds what we can cope with. It can also be caused by physical demands on your body like extreme temperatures, ailments and strenuous workouts. Additionally, stress can be the result of psychological responses such as depression, hopelessness, irritability and anxiety. Regardless of your source of stress, there are ways that can help you manage it and eventually regain control of your life.
Stress management is all about taking charge of your emotions, schedules, and thoughts as well as how you deal with problems. You should always endeavor to have a balanced life. Have time to work, build your relationships, relax and have fun. In addition, ensure that you have the resilience to hold up under pressure so that it doesn’t take control of you. Instead of running away from problems and challenges life presents to you, meet them head on.
Sources of Stress
In order to properly manage stress, you must identify the sources; treating the symptoms won’t solve the problem if you have not established the root causes. Identifying the sources of stress in your life is not as easy as it sounds but it should be done. Your source of stress can be procrastination or too many work deadlines. Look closely at your attitude and habits to identify the true source of your stress. You have to be true to yourself and make deliberate efforts to reduce negative stress. Until you accept the role you play in creating and maintaining unhealthy stress levels, management will always feel like its outside your control.
Have a Stress Journal
Preventing or reducing stress is not an easy task but where there is a will there is a way. Have a journal where you record regular stressors and how you deal with them. As you continue keeping daily track of your stressors, you will see common themes and patterns. You will also be able to establish what you need do to feel better. Are the coping strategies you are employing helpful or unproductive, healthy or unhealthy? Some of the unhealthy ways of dealing with stress are overeating or under-eating, drinking too much, smoking, withdrawing from family, friends and activities you love, using drugs, sleeping too much, angry outbursts and many other aberrations. These unhealthy ways can have long lasting repercussions to overall health and should be avoided at all costs.
Healthy Ways of Managing Stress
There are numerous healthy ways to cope with stress but they may require a change in lifestyle. You can either change your reaction to stressors or change the situations that cause stress in your life. The options available to you are to accept the stressor, adapt to the stressor, avoid the stressor or alter the stressor. It’s worth mentioning that there is no single way that works in every situation or for everyone, therefore it is wise to try different strategies and techniques. Focus on what makes you feel in control and happy when faced with stress inducing situations.
Stress Management Strategies
One of the strategies of managing stress is avoiding unnecessary stress. Know your limits and stick to them. Know when to say no. Taking more than you can handle is a sure recipe for stress build up. Analyze your daily tasks and schedule and trim down your to-do-list. Having too much on the table to be done can be a cause of stress and this can reduce your productivity significantly. Instead of having a full list of what needs to be done, distinguish the ‘musts’ and ‘shoulds’ so that you can have a smaller list and eliminate unnecessary tasks.
Another way that can work really well is to avoid people who stress you out. If an individual cause’s stress consistently in your life reduces the amount of time you spend together or if it is possible end the relationship entirely. On the other hand, if you like the person or people you are with but they are having a discussion that upsets you find an alternative topic to divert the conversation.
If you cannot avoid a situation that stresses you, try your level best to alter it. This entails changing the way you operate your daily schedule and the way you communicate. If someone is stressing you don’t bottle up your feelings find a kind and respectful way to express them. . If you don’t openly express your feelings resentment will continue building and this will make your situation even worse.
Another way of coping with stress is managing your time well. When you are running behind schedule it’s almost impossible to stay focused and calm. But if you properly manage your time and plan well in advance then the amount of stress will significantly reduce.
Tom Roy is a professional counselor. He has worked with numerous individuals across the world to help those manage stress. He draws his inspiration from Professional Counselling & Coaching Services.