Everyone experiences stress. However, when it is affecting your healthy lifestyle and wellbeing, it is important to tackle it head’s on as soon as possible.
Stress management are programs intended to help you deal effectively with stress in your life, by highlighting specific stressors and taking positive actions to minimize effects.
For reducing and dealing with stress, follow these proven tips:
1. Identify the Sources/Causes of stress on your life:
A wise man once said that the first step to solving a problem is by identifying the source and cause of the problem. At this point you need to sit down and think about what is stressing you and what caused the stress. They are two different things, a good example is: I am being stressed about my forthcoming exams. The cause of the stress could be- because I didn’t prepare well for it. Figuring out what stresses you may sound easy but it’s more complex than it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it’s your procrastination, rather than the actual job demands, that leads to deadline stress.
2. Start a Stress Management Journal/Diary:
Keeping a stress management diary say, a few week, is an effective stress management tool, as it will help you become more aware of the situations which cause you to become stressed. Write the date, time and place of each stressful episode, and write what you were doing, who you were with, and how you felt both physically and emotionally. Give each stressful episode a stress rating (say, a 1-10 scale) and use the diary to understand what triggers your stress and how effective you are in stressful situations, that is how you acted in response. This will enable you to avoid stressful situations and develop better coping mechanisms. Lastly write what you did to make yourself feel better.
Step 3, 4, 5&6 Requires You to Practice the Four A’s
3. Avoid Unnecessary Stress:
By saying avoid stress I didn’t mean you should dodge or avoid stress, remember “Stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life” .Rather, avoid unnecessary stress; those stress that add no value to your life. Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
Ways to avoid unnecessary stress.
– Learn how to say “No”. By this I mean know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, taking on more than you can handle is a fuel for stress. Distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts” and, when possible, say “no” to taking on too much unnecessary task. Saying no should be polite also try to stick to your decision and don’t feel bad for turning one down. This can be key to effective stress management.
– Avoid people who stress you out. At some point in your life you’ll come across toxic people, people that consistently cause stress in your life, it’s either you end the relationship with them but if it’s not possible you can limit the amount of time you spend with that person.
– Take Control of your Environment. Some people get anxious by listening to the evening news, if it makes you feel uncomfortable turn off the TV. If traffic makes you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route. If going to the market is an unpleasant chore do your grocery shopping online. If social media cause stress to you then limit the amount of time you spend online.
– Trim your to-do list. Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. It’s not ideal to neglect important tasks, If you’ve got too much on your neck, drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
4. Alter the situation:
If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it (develop another means around it). Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life. When communicating express your feelings instead of bottling them up.
5. Adapt to the Stressor:
Remember stressors are situations and pressures that causes stress. There are some stressors you can’t change rather you have to change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.
Trick to help you adapt to the stressor.
– Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than getting irritated about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favourite radio station or enjoy some time alone.
– Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
– Adjust your standards. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough”.
6. Accept the things you can’t change:
There are some stressors you can’t prevent or change, stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or an economic recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are and forgive yourself or anyone involved as the case may be.
7. Maintain a healthy eating habit:
Eat healthy and nutritious meal, don’t under eat or over eat, try not to skip breakfast, reduce caffeine and sugar then avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.
8. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle:
This entails living your life in a healthy way ranging from frequent proper exercise, try Relaxation Techniques (meditation or yoga), listen to soothing music or the sound of nature preferably ocean then get proper sleep every day.
9. Practice gratitude:
When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective and wave off stress.
10. Create a Balanced Schedule:
All work and no play is a fuel for burnout and stress. Try to find a balance between work and family life, social activities and solitary pursuits, daily responsibilities and downtime.
Lastly we recommend talking to a trusted person (loved one, friend or family). Talking about what’s causing you stress and how you are feeling is a good way for stress management. Seek professional help if you can’t handle the stress or if it’s becoming unbearable.