Stress is a necessary part of life. It may even be considered to be a good factor as it temporarily boosts motivation and makes one able to focus and concentrate more on the immediate task at hand.
Stressful situations can be exciting for the challenges presented and increase mental and physical resilience.
However, stress which continues over a long period of time without intervals of relaxation can make you sick and unhappy.
Chronic stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, forgetful and exhausted with increased risk of Anxiety and Depression.
The unhealthy coping mechanisms in response to stress include increased smoking, drinking, overeating, undereating and losing sleep.
The first step in managing stress is to understand the source of stress and how it is affecting your life and health.
The realisation that you are in control is the foundation of stress management.
1. Make a stress Journal
- Note each time you feel stressed and the cause of stress
- Identify your reaction to the situation – whether it is a problem solving or ineffective
- Recognize the stress signals in your body
2. Take Control
- Some situations cannot be ignored and avoiding them can cause increased stress
- Learn to say” No”
- Cut down the To-Do list
- Decrease time with people who stress you
3. Choose to alter the situation
Better time management by allotting sufficient time to tasks and scheduling tasks in order of urgency or priority.
4. Adapt to the stressor
Reframe problems and adjust your expectations by looking at the big picture and focusing on the positive.
5. Accept what you can’t change
- Traffic jams
- Other person’s behaviour
- Other person’s performance
6. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
- Nurture yourself by eating a healthy diet
- Decrease intake of alcohol, caffeine and sugar
- Strengthen physically. Add simple exercises to your daily routine
- Keep a relaxation time every day. Practice meditation, deep breathing or yoga whichever helps you relax physically
- Get enough sleep but do not stay in bed or sleep as a way of compensating for tiredness
7. Make time for fun
- Connect with others.
- Join a club with like minded people.
- Meet with friends and family
- Pick up a sport
- Pick up a hobby like gardening, knitting or home repair
- Enjoy the outdoors and nature whenever you find time
8. Some more stress busting techniques
- Yogic breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Guided imagery