What is stress management?
We all respond to stress differently so, there’s no “one size fits all” solution to managing stress. But if you feel like the stress in your life is out of control, it’s time to take action. Stress management can teach you healthier ways to cope with stress, help you reduce its harmful effects, and prevent stress from spiraling out of control again in the future.
No matter how powerless you may feel in the face of stress, you still have control over your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems.
Stress management involves:
The first step is to recognize the true sources of stress in your life.
So, What are the sources of stress in your life?
It’s easy to identify sources of stress following a major life event such as changing jobs, moving home, or losing a loved one, but pinpointing the sources of everyday stress can be more complicated.
It’s all too easy to overlook your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to your stress levels. 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 is causing the stress.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
• Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?
• Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)?
• 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.
How do you currently cope with stress?
Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive?
Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that compound the problem.
Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Stress
These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:
• Bingeing on junk or comfort food
• Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer
• Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities • Using pills or drugs to relax
• Sleeping too much
• Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
• Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)
Learning Healthier Ways to Manage Stress
If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. 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!
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed; keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes. Write down:
• What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure)
• How you felt, both physically and emotionally
• How you acted in response
• What you did to make yourself feel better
If you want to organize a training session for stress management skills, please get in touch with us at Meeting Matters:
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