Stress is a natural part of life. It’s here to stay and it’s important we learn how to manage it better instead of trying to avoid it when we can’t always do this. The old ‘burying your head in the sand’ technique does not work. In fact it makes matters worse because the issues at hand are not being addressed which in the case of chronic stress like problematic relationships or work conflicts can lead to serious physical and psychological ill health, such as heart disease, diabetes, anxiety and depression. Knowing how to respond differently in situations we know cause us stress can play a significant role to our health and wellbeing.
The better we are at dealing with stress the more resilient we become.
Here are some points to consider and tips to help you bounce back better and quicker from life’s adversities:
- Get to know your coping strategy. Be more self-aware. How do you normally cope in stressful situations and does this work for you? Do you need to change the way you respond to stress?
- Choose the better YOU! What does that look like?
- Be clear about what you can change and control and what you can’t. This can help with getting your priorities in order and work/life balance right.
- Review your lifestyle factors such as diet, physical exercise and weight, intake of caffeine/alcohol and other substances and sleep pattern.
- ‘You are what you think’. What is that little voice in your head saying to you about you and your stressful situation? Is it saying for instance that things are hopeless, there’s no way out and subsequently you give up trying? Worse still you start to believe you don’t have what it takes to move forward? Clearly this is not helpful and you still feel stuck? You may have also stopped doing the things you used to enjoy doing such as hobbies/interests, social events, spending time with family and friends.
- Choose to be positively challenged by changing the way you think and feel about your stressful situation. When this happens your behaviour or your response is also more positive. Your issue might feel like it’s the end of the world, but is it? is often a big difference between how things seem to us and how they really are. We can change the way we experience and manage stress when we start to believe we can make a difference.
- Practice mindfulness. This is a calmer state of being where you are focussing on the here and now, being aware of your thoughts, feelings and sensations without judgement or criticism. Like many other skills it takes practice.
When you are being mindful you are simply noticing that you are having thoughts and that this is all they are, we pay attention to them but without believing them. Accepting your thoughts as they are without judgement puts you back in control of your stressful situation. Tuning in with what you are presently sensing is far better for your stress rather than worrying about the past or future.
If you need support, contact me for an informal chat