Letters to YOU: "How to manage stress?"
Managing stress starts with major attitude and behaviour changes. You have to stop and think: ‘Who is in charge of my life?’ The answer should be ‘ME’. Although it’s impossible to live completely carefree life, it’s possible to make some changes to the way you think, to your work/life balance, your environment, your after work activities and the way you deal with life challenges. You main goal should be a well-balanced lifestyle. Just think ‘What will happen if I continue stressing out and do nothing about it? How will my life be in a few years from now? What can I do today to be one step closer to stress free life?’ Here are some tips and techniques for your consideration.
- Identify your sources of stress. Although some stressors may be more obvious than others, review your habits and behaviours to find out true causes. Don’t blame others that they stress you out. It’s not the actual things that happen around and cause stress; it’s all about how we react to certain events. Accept full responsibility for your actions and reactions.
- Start a ‘stress diary’. Note down events that make you feel overwhelmed, note down what emotions you experience and what you do to feel better. Review your diary after a few weeks and write down a few possible common stressors. You will begin seeing a pattern and will be able to do something about it.
- Think of all the possible coping strategies you've ever used. Were they healthy or unhealthy? Some coping strategies, like alcohol, are only temporary and harmful in the long run. They will only suppress negative feeling for a while. If your coping strategies are destructive, you have to change your behaviour and habits. Try something different, relaxing and emotionally and physically healthy.
- Learn to communicate. Don’t hide your feelings. If something or someone is bothering you, express your concerns and learn how to say “no”. You will avoid possible unnecessary stressors and move on. Be willing to compromise – you can’t change the other person. However, you can start with yourself – change your negative thought to positive.
- Act as if you are feeling great. Adjust your body posture – straighten your back, smile and laugh! Trick your body into thinking you are content with your life.
- Stay in touch with your feelings and emotions at all times. Understand how you feel, how you want to feel and what you can do about it. Make life choices which benefit you. Don’t do something you don’t feel like doing. Make sure your choices are constructive and don’t harm anyone involved.
- Practise positive self-talk i.e. daily affirmations. You can say something like: ‘I am feeling more peaceful every day’, ‘I am getting stronger’, ‘I am happy and peaceful’ etc. The trick is to practise affirmations daily! Write down your unique affirmations and read them out loud as soon as you wake up and just before you go bed. Keep them short, simple and positive.
- Keep your body hydrated – drink plenty of water. After all, your whole body is dependent on it. Exercise on a regular basis and eat healthy food. Take quick naps and breaks during the day. Make a cup of mint and ginger tea to get an energy boost. Experiment with various relaxation techniques, such as, yoga, meditation or massage and find what works best for you.
- Love and appreciate yourself!
Be healthy, happy and wealthy… and Remember: “Stress is the trash of modern life - we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life”
Always by your side,