Your decision on how you manage stress can have a massive impact.
Did you know that stress is actually a fight or flight response? It is automatically activated when we sense that we are threatened by someone or something. The response causes our bodies to increase both heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, our reactions are faster and our strength and agility increase.
Stress is not the perceived threats or demands made on you but rather your response to those perceived threats or demands.
Sustained stress seems to be on the increase with society as it is today. Relationships, finances and work can seem to stack up against us. It can seem that there is not light at the end of the tunnel. We need to manage our response in order to reduce sustained stress as sustaining a response for a long period of time can cause complications and conditions such as anxiety, depression, diarrhoea, irritability, insomnia, and others.
Here are some tips to reduce stress:
- Identify the threats and demands that cause your stress
Is it actually a problem or is it you feeling out of control or is it your own perfectionism that is causing the stress? Try listing the causes stress. By identifying and breaking them down we often feel better able to change our response.
- Mark those that you can change
You may not be able to change everything but for example if your job causes you stress and you can’t change it then maybe you can change the way you plan your work. Planning can often reduce stress.
- Just say ‘No’
For so many, this is often one of the hardest things to do. When it is not necessary to make a commitment or you can’t handle it then politely refuse with a firm, sincere ‘NO’. Be assured those that don’t feel sustained stress are generally very good at this.
- Recognise your individual stress signals
Recognise the signals, your body will tell you when stress is building.
- Take a siesta
Try taking an afternoon nap as studies have shown that a 15-20 minute siesta can reduce stress and increase productivity.
- Go for a walk
Use your walk to access your worries and then to address them rationally and then to bring yourself back to the present.
Take a class or distract your class by banging out some tunes and dance around your kitchen or living room.
Take 2 minutes to focus on your breathing. Inhale for 3 counts and exhale for 5. With you inhale allow your rib cage to expand and fill your lungs. You can even buy a sweatshirt to remind you!
Put down your phone, let your shoulders relax and start to connect with the world around you. Focus on what you can see and notice. Catch up with trues friends, grab a cuddle and enjoy the things that are truly important to you.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness
Become more aware of your thoughts through these practices and this will help you not to become overwhelmed by them.
Try to adopt a positive approach. Positivity breads positivity and can help reduce stress. Try re-phrasing everything you say to be positive.
Remember others can make demands and threaten but only you can decide how you will respond. Try some of the tips above but if they don’t work for you don’t make yourself stressed. Acknowledge the fact that you are trying and that you have recognised that a certain method doesn’t work for you and that you can try another tip.