The result of day to day hustling and bustling is stress. It may look like there’s nothing you can do about it. There are bills to pay, and there are never enough hours in the day, and your career and family responsibilities never end. But you have more control than you might think. Managing stress is about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems.
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This isn’t as easy as 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 behaviors. 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.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
Do you explain away stress as temporary even though you can’t remember the last time you took a break?
Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life or as a part of your personality?
Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Although we think we have our ways around the stress we go through daily, but what we do is to manage it wrongly. We embark on the following ways:
- Drinking too much
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
- Using pills or drugs to relax
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
- Taking out your stress on others (angry outbursts, physical violence)
Trust me, if your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.
You can try these healthy methods of reducing stress to determine which works for you.
- Go for a walk
- Spend time in nature
- Call a good friend
- Sweat out tension with a good workout
- Write in your journal
- Take a long bath
- Light scented candles
- Savor a warm cup of coffee or tea
- Play with a pet
- Work in your garden
- Get a massage
- Curl up with a good book
- Listen to music
- Watch a comedy
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.
Set aside relaxation time. Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
Connect with others. Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. A strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle today and eradicate unnecessary stress.