STRESS SERIES: PART 2
In the second part of this stress series we look at the six further essential tools to reduce pressures in your life and cope when things feel out of control. You can find part one of the series with keys 1-5 here.
6. Take time out
Take time out by using relaxation techniques and attending classes such as yoga, meditation or a hobby that you find is soothing; alongside taking holidays and breaks from work, ideally 10-14 continuous days at a time.
Whilst immersed in whatever the cause is of your stress, take regular time out. Additional measures for work-related stress are disciplining yourself to shut down your computer and your mobile not just while you sleep, but also an hour before and after you sleep. Anyone (or yourself) that expects you to be working at these hours has unrealistic expectations of you.
If you are reluctant to do this, again, consider what use you will be to others and the consequences should you become ill.
Find time to meet friends and family that you enjoy being around. They can be a source of support and help us see things in a different way. Engage in activities with them. New experiences combined with being active will help relax and is usually accompanied by laughter, the best mood enhancer there is!
7. Know what’s controllable
There are always events that you simply can’t control: the economy, traffic, other people’s emotions, other’s decisions to name a few.
While it can be useful to notice and predict these types of events in order to know how to react to them, once you know how to deal with them, it causes unnecessary stress to continue to focus on them.
Feeling anxious about things you can’t control makes no difference to the outcome, but has a negative impact on your health.
Know what you actually have influence over and find a way to let the rest of it go. This is usually as simple as making the decision to….just let it go. The thing you do have control over is how you choose to respond and what you allow to impact upon you.
Accept things that you cannot change
Change is a natural part of life. If there is nothing you can do to influence it, it is far healthier to recognise and accept things as they are and focus back upon all that you do have control over including your own mental state. Acceptance creates a calmer state of mind and body.
8. Minimise contact with situations that make it worse
Conflict is never helpful for interpersonal relationships or stress levels. You can’t change other people, but what you can change is how you respond to them. Effective, open and honest communication is always the key to prevention. Should a situation come up and it is important to maintain the relationship, seek to establish common ground. Support and coaching for finding solutions for conflict are available here.
You will be aware of the types of things that may cause conflict between yourself and others. Unless it is something really important to you, learn to let it go.
Other Stressed People. It may feel comforting to seek solace with others that are going through the same as you. A degree of understanding from others is certainly helpful to prevent any feelings of isolation and to feel understood. Yet it is well known that we sense, and to a certain degree ‘take on’ the mental state of the person we are with, so if you surround yourself with other stressed or anxious people it will compound your sense of feeling stressed as you will naturally start behaving similarly.
So, as far as possible, limit your contact with such people, at least until you’re in control of your own state. People that are well, relaxed and in control will be able to offer a far more productive perspective for you and will be in a position to provide you with support.
Present yourself as being calm and in control. When you present yourself in this manner, it has a natural impact on your body and state of mind. By slowing everything down you will feel more in control, calmer and more confident, both of which will reduce any pressure you feel.
Lastly, if you are aware that you are feeling stressed, avoid sensitive news such as on television, in the internet or newspapers. It will only compound any negative emotions that you are experiencing.
9. See things differently, focus on how you want it to be
Practice viewing stressful situations from a different perspective. What you focus on is where your energy will go and your body will respond accordingly. So for example, rather than feeling stressed about sitting in traffic, look at it as an opportunity to pause and re-gather your thoughts, knowing that it is not within your control.
So place your energy into things within your control and avoid focusing on what you don’t want. Instead, focus on how you want things to be, how you want to feel and the positive effects of that.
10. Seek support
Be assertive with people about what you are able to do and how you are feeling. If you are overwhelmed it is essential to seek early help and support from whoever is best placed to in that context to provide help.
Talk things over with somebody that is in a good position to help before it gets out of proportion.
By following these principles, you are on track for a calmer, stress-free life where you are back in the driving seat. If you find you are still not coping, seek professional help in order to take back control, learn to manage your state and thinking patterns and regain your health. Involve your GP, seek practical help for the causes of stress and obtain the guidance of a professional with expertise in managing stress and overwhelm.
Fresh Insight Coaching specialises in NLP Coaching and Hypnotherapy for people who are not coping in their lives. You can find more information here.
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