Guest Writer: Kathryn Sanford
There is no one in this world that can say they have never been stressed. Stress affects us all. Some of us are better at managing the negative impact that stress can have on our lives.
The one person who can control stress in your life is you. It is also up to you to be accountable for how you want to live your life.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with what is happening in your life and you want to get back on track, then these 7 stress management techniques will help to minimise the negative impact that stress has on your life.
What You Didn’t Know About Stress
Stress is a state of tension and it is a normal part of life. The most common external sources that can cause stress in our lives are finances, the demands of work and relationships.
The internal sources of stress come from within us and the pressure we put on ourselves because of our high personal standards, beliefs, values, attitude, goals, needs and wants. Some examples of internal sources of stress can be striving for perfection in all we do or refusing to speak to an audience because of our internal fears.
We also have what is called “internal chatter” which can also cause huge stress in our lives. This internal chatter comes from our negative thought patterns, negative experiences and bad habits. Our negative internal chatter, if we let it, can be quite destructive and lead us to living highly stressed and anxious lives.
The body reacts to these changes and demands with physical, mental, and emotional responses. Internal and external stressors can have the same physical and psychological effects. You may have trouble sleeping, lose your appetite or lose interest in daily activities. You may be irritable, have headaches or stomach pains, or find that you cry easily.
If not dealt with, overtime stress can have a devastating impact on your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
Managing Stress Positively
The good news is that not all stress is bad for us. Being stressed in the right context can have a more positive influence on our lives. Some people say that they produce their best work when they are under pressure to deliver.
When you are able to manage stress in a positive way, this can open you up to new opportunities outside of your comfort zone. It can also be the catalyst you need to change and empower you to come up with solutions and challenges so that you can grow and move forward in your life.
The 7 stress management techniques make up a tool box of strategies that you can use at any time where you are feeling stressed and want to get your life back on track. The more you use these tools, the more proactive you are in managing your stress levels. By managing your stress, you minimise the negative influence it can have on your quality of life.
1. Write Down 5 Benefits You Will Achieve When You Have Your Stress Under Control
When making change or implementing anything new in your life, it is important to identify the benefits for you. The 5 identified benefits become the incentives to encourage and motivate you to make the changes and take action. Once you have these 5 benefits written down, then ask yourself these 2 questions:
- “What is it the goal I want to achieve?’
- ” What are the benefits I expect from achieving this goal?”
Write these responses on stick-it notes and put these notes in a place where every morning you see them.
2. Get To Know Who You Are And Give Yourself Some Slack
Spend some time getting to know you, your personality, your strengths, things you don’t like doing and things you do like doing. The objective of this exercise is to become more self-aware so that you can quickly identify what things in life stress you out, and how you can manage these activities so that they don’t have such a negative impact on your life.
When you know who you are and what is important to you, you will take action to manage the negative activities that are not serving you well.
We can be our own worst enemies and we can be very hard on ourselves, which is not great when it comes to managing stress in our lives. The more self aware you are, the more accepting you are of what your strengths are and what you are not so good at.
Striving for perfection in everything you do and comparing yourself to others will not be so important to you when you know who you are and you are very happy with you.
3. Exercise Regularly
This is a very practical strategy that works. A regular exercise routine in your life builds your physical resilience to manage stress. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
Along with exercising regularly, eating healthy, well-balanced meals is just as important when it comes successfully managing the impact stress has on your life.
4. Learn And Practice Relaxation Techniques
“Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress,” says psychologist Robbie Maller Hartman, PhD, a Chicago health and wellness coach.
Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events. Relaxation techniques you could try for stress management are meditation, yoga, or tai-chi. You will always be facing times of stress in your life and by relaxing and calming your mind you give your body time to recover from these stressful events.
5. Commit To Spending Time With People Who Make You Smile
The more stress we face, the more likely we are to withdraw from our circle of friends and family. Stress, if we allow it, can consume our lives physically, mentally and spiritually; and all we want to do is hide away from the world.
Surrounding yourself with people who bring you joy, encourage and support, you will build your spiritual and mental resilience.
Keep a positive outlook on life is a lot easier to do when you are surrounded by people who love and support you. Laughing out loud and smiling lots is a great way to manage the stress levels in your life. The more you laugh in life, the better your “quality of life” will be.
6. Be Grateful
Keeping a daily gratitude journal is one of the most effective ways to successfully managing stress in your life. This act of writing down every day all the things that you are grateful for keeps you present and real. It gives you a more optimistic and hopeful perspective of your life right now.
To successfully manage stress in your life, optimism and hope are the two key ingredients that you need. Without them, your ability to effectively manage stress is a lot harder – in fact impossible!
7. Commit To Taking Action And Do It
If you allow stress to creep into your life, it will take over your life – physically, mentally and spiritually.
We live in a world of constant change and disruption, so we will always be challenged by the threat of stress.
Commit to taking action to managing the impact that stress has on your life, and do something about it. You are the only one who has the power to do it.
The Bottom Line
There is no escape from stress. These 7 stress management techniques, however, are strategies that if you adopt and practice consistently, will enable you to live your life to the fullest — resilient and strong in mind, body and soul.
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