http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression Photo: UK Publishers
many people feel there’s nothing they can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day and once the day passes by without doing anything productive, well that’s a huge loss, your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think. Stress management is all about taking charge: of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems, circumstances and trials that just arise unknowingly. No matter how stressful your life seems, there are steps you can take to relieve the pressure and regain control.
Stress Management: 8 tips for reducing stress ( Robinson, 2016)
We all respond to stress differently so, there’s no “one size fits all” solution to managing stress. But if you feel like the stress in your life is out of control, it’s time to take action.
- Identify the sources of stress in your life
- Learn healthier ways to cope with stress
- Get moving
- Connect to others
- Practice the 4 A’s
- Make time for fun and relaxation
- Maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle
Tip 1: Identify the sources of stress in your life
To others It’s easy to identify sources of stress following a major life event such as changing jobs, moving home, or losing a loved one, but pinpointing the sources of everyday stress can be more complicated. It’s all too easy to overlook your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your stress levels. To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses (Robinson, 2016).
Tip 2: Learn healthier ways to cope with stress
Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem (Robinson, 2016).
Tip 3: Get moving
Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress, but you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a gym to experience the benefits. Just about any form of physical activity can help relieve stress and burn away anger, tension, and frustration (Robinson, 2016).
Tip 4: Connect to others
Social engagement is the quickest, most efficient way to rein in stress and avoid overreacting to internal or external events that you perceive as threatening. Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation (Robinson, 2016).
Tip 5: Practice the 4 A’s
While stress is an automatic response from your nervous system, some stressors arise at predictable times—your commute to work, a meeting with your boss, or family gatherings, for example. When handling such predictable stressors, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose in any given scenario, it’s helpful to think of the four A’s: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept (Robinson, 2016).
Tip 6: Make time for fun and relaxation
Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by carving out “me” time. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors (Robinson, 2016).
Tip 7: Maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle
In addition to regular exercise, there are other healthy lifestyle choices that can increase your resistance to stress (Robinson, 2016).
Eat a healthy diet. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat.
Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy.
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary.
Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.
Robinson, P. (2016). Ways of managing stress levels, International journal.
Stress management strategies
Exercise Fuels the Brain’s Stress Buffers – Explains how regular exercise helps reduce and manage stress levels. (American Psychological Association)