Stress management is a must when the stress starts interfering with your work and family life or affects your physical and/or emotional health. Stress management is a critical skill that should be mastered by all and is a set of interventions designed to identify, interrupt, and redirect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours as they relate to the expression of stress and/or anger.
Because the inappropriate response to stress is a learned behavioural response, learning is the key to success in stress management.
Since stress is almost unavoidable in life, it’s important to find ways to decrease and prevent stressful incidents and decrease negative reactions to stress. Here are some of the things that can be done by just remembering them, as life is basically a routine to follow like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. You can do a few of them in a longer span of time.
Managing your time
Time management skills can help you organise your daily schedule and allow you more time with your family and friends and very likely increase your performance and productivity. Getting things organised will also help reduce your stress.
A few pointers on improving your time management:
Save time by focusing, concentrating, delegating, and scheduling time for yourself.
Keep a record of how you spend your time, including work, family, and leisure time.
Prioritise your time by rating tasks by importance and urgency.
Redirect your time to those activities that are important and meaningful to you.
Manage your commitments by not over- or under- committing.
Don’t commit to things that are not important to you.
Deal with procrastination by using a day planner, breaking large projects into smaller ones, and setting short-term deadlines.
Examine your beliefs to reduce conflict between what you believe and what your life is like.
Build constructive and healthy coping strategies
It is important that you identify your coping strategies. One way to do this is by recording the stressful event, your reaction, and how you cope in a stress journal. With this information, you can work to change unhealthy coping strategies into healthy ones-those that help you focus on the positive and what you can change or control in your life.
Some behaviours and lifestyle choices affect your stress level. They may not cause stress directly, but they can interfere with the ways your body seeks relief from stress.
Here are some simple ways to help with choices:
Balance personal, work, and family needs and obligations.
Have a sense of purpose in life.
Get a good nights sleep, since your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you’re sleeping.
Eat a balanced diet for nutritional defence against stress.
Get regular exercise throughout the week.
Limit your alcohol intake.
If you smoke, start your campaign to stop - don’t smoke.
Exercising to relieve stress
Exercise is an important component stress management program. Exercise, biofeedback, muscle relaxation, and psychotherapy have all been found useful to eliminate stress. Most stress management remedies - for example massage or yoga - offer ways to relax as well, allowing us to wind down when stress gets too much. Exercising is a great way to work off stress that you’ve built up during the day as well as a way to increase your energy level. Regular exercise improves flexibility and also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and is an excellent combination and part of your stress management campaign.
Social support is a major factor in how we experience stress. Social support is the positive support you receive from family, friends, and the community. It is the knowledge that you are cared for, loved, esteemed, and valued. More and more research indicates a strong relationship between social support and better mental and physical health.
Changing the way you think
When an event triggers negative thoughts, you may experience fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, rage, guilt, and a sense of worthlessness or powerlessness. These emotions trigger the body’s stress, just as an actual threat does. Dealing with your negative thoughts and how you see things can help reduce stress.
Thought stopping helps you stop a negative thought and in turn helps to eliminate stress.
Disproving irrational thoughts helps you to avoid exaggerating the negative thought, anticipating the worst, and interpreting an event incorrectly.
Problem solving helps you identify all aspects of a stressful event and find ways to deal with it.
Changing your communication style helps you communicate in a way that makes your views known without making others feel put down, hostile, or intimidated. This reduces the stress that comes from poor communication. Use the assertiveness ladder to improve your communication style.
Everyone can get stressed, whether you’re the mail person, the CEO, or the average working person and/or parent, stress is definitely one unwanted visitor you need to boot out of your home and your life.
I think that simply learning to not stretch myself too thin and only commit myself to activities/projects/people that I care about worked its magic as far as helping me reduce stress. Something I discovered when I was constantly trying to be productive was that I met my commitments about 50% of the time, which led to a lot of guilt and unnecessary stress. Now that I've pared things down, I can actually be completely present for the stuff that I care about, which makes me happy and stress-free!