Maybe it seems that nothing can be done about stress. The bills keep coming and family and career responsibilities will always be challenging. However, you possess more control than you may believe. In fact, simply realizing that you have control over your life is the basis of stress management. Handling stress involves taking charge of your emotions, schedule, thoughts and how you handle problems. Below are some additional tips on how to deal with stress:
Identifying the Stressors
Stress management begins with recognizing the sources of stress but this is easier said than done. The true sources of stress are not always clear and it is very easy to overlook the stress-inducing behaviors, thoughts and feelings that you have. You may be aware that you constantly worry about work deadlines. However, your procrastination may be causing deadline stress. Until responsibility is accepted for the role you have in creating or continuing the stress in your life, your stress level will continue to be outside your control.
Examine Current Coping Mechanisms
Consider how you currently cope with the stresses in your life. Are the coping mechanisms you use unhealthy or healthy, unproductive or helpful? Unfortunately, a number of individuals handle stress in ways that make the problem more complex.
Some individuals deal with stress in an unhealthy manner like overeating, eating too little, drinking excessively, smoking and withdrawing from activities, friends and family members. While these coping mechanisms may reduce stress temporarily, they could result in more long-term damage.
Healthier Ways to Handle Stress
If your coping methods are not contributing to greater physical and emotional health, it is time to discover healthier ones. Many healthy ways exist to cope with and manage stress; however, all of them require change. Either you can change your reaction to the situation or change the situation itself.
Since everyone responds uniquely to stress, no standardized solution exists to manage it. There is no single method that works in every situation or for everyone; therefore, experiment with different strategies and techniques. Concentrate on what calms you and makes you feel in control.
Avoid Unnecessary Stress
You cannot avoid every stress and it is unhealthy to shun a situation that has to be addressed. However, there are a number of stressors that can be eliminated. For example:
• Avoid Stressful Individuals
If another individual causes stress in your life consistently and the relationship cannot be turned around, end the relationship entirely or limit the time that is spent with that individual.
• Say No and Mean it
Be aware of what your limits are and stick to them. This should be practiced in both your professional and personal life because taking on more responsibilities than you can truly handle is a definite formula for stress.
• Control the Environment
Turn off the television if the nightly news causes stress. If sitting around in traffic becomes stressful, take a less-traveled route, even if the journey takes longer.
It is very important to openly and respectfully communicate concerns. If feelings are not expressed, resentment will surface and there will be no change to the situation.