MORE STRESS MANAGEMENT
•1. Make stress your friend
Acknowledge that stress is good and make stress your friend! Based on the body’s natural “fight or flight” response that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment. I’ve yet to see a top sportsman totally relaxed before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself that little bit harder when it counts most.
•2. Stress is contagious
What we mean by this is that negative people can be a huge stressor. Negativity breeds stress and some people know how to do nothing but complain. Now you can look at this in one of two ways. First, they see you as a positive, upbeat person and hope that you can bring them back “up”. If that’s not it, then they’re just a negative person and can’t feel better about themselves unless those around them are negative as well.
Don’t get caught up in their downing behavior. Recognize that these kinds of people have their own stress and then limit your contact with them. You can try to play stress doctor and teach them how to better manage their stress, but be aware that this may contribute more to your own stress, so tread lightly.
•3. Copy good stress managers
When people around are losing their head, which keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use? Are they trained and experienced?
Figure it out from afar or sit them down for a chat. Learn from the best stress managers and copy what they do.
•4. Use heavy breathing.
You can trick your body into relaxing by using heavy breathing. Breathe in slowly for a count of 7 then breathe out for a count of 11. Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off and things start to feel more normal.
•5. Stop stress thought trains
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot all by yourself. “If this happens, then that might happen and then we’re all up the creek!” Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?
Give stress thought-trains the red light and stop them in their tracks. Okay so it might go wrong – how likely is that and what can you do to prevent it?
•6. Know your stress hot spots and trigger points
Presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadlines……. My heart rate is cranking up just writing these down!
Make your own list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific. Is it only presentations to a certain audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee?
Knowing what causes your stress is powerful information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to de-caffeinated coffee?
•7. Eat, drink, sleep and be merry!
Lack of sleep, poor diet and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother and don’t burn the candle at both ends!
Avoid using artificial means to dealing with your stress. That means don’t automatically pour a glass of wine when you think you’re getting stressed out and don’t light up a cigarette. In actuality, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and drugs can make the problem worse. A better idea is to practice the relaxation techniques we’ve given you. Then, once you’re relaxed, you can have that glass of wine if you want.
- 8. Go outside and enjoy Mother Nature. A little sunshine and activity can have amazing ramifications on your stress level and will enhance your entire outlook towards life. Your improved attitude will have a positive effect on everyone in your family and/ or circle of friends; things which seem overwhelming will soon become trivial matters, causing you to wonder what the predicament was.
Not only will you be less stressed, you will be healthier, happier, and more energetic; ready to face whatever obstacles come your way.
- 9. Give yourself permission to be a ‘kid’ again. What did you enjoy when you were a child? Draw; paint; be creative. Play with Play- dough, dance, or read. Play music, allow yourself freedom to express yourself without worry that you’re not keeping with the image of who you are ‘supposed’ to be. Just relax and enjoy yourself. We all have a little child in us and it’s a good idea to allow expression of the child within from time to time.
If I might say so, this suggestion is excellent and very therapeutic. I speak from experience. I can tell you that there is nothing more satisfying than buying a brand new box of 64 Crayons – the one with the sharpener in the box – and coloring away in a coloring book. My grandson loves it when I use this stress buster!
- 10. Don’t set unrealistic for goals for yourself. Many of us set ourselves up for defeat simply by setting unrealistic goals for ourselves. For example, if you are dieting, realize you cannot lose 40 pounds in one or two months.
Or maybe you are trying to reach a goal of obtaining a particular job position; whatever your goal is allow sufficient time to reach your goals and realize occasional setbacks may occur.
If you reach your goal without any delays, you will be even happier with yourself for arriving quicker than you planned, but don’t expect it. In fact don’t expect anything; expectations and reality are often two entirely different things.
- 11. Learn it is OK to say ‘no’ occasionally. Often, many of us feel we have to say ‘yes’ to everyone, every time we are asked for help and feel that we must respond in a positive fashion. But, remember, you cannot be all things to all people. You must first meet your own needs before you can truly give others what they need while at the same time keeping yourself happy.
- 12. You do not have to do everything your family, friends, and others ask. Of course you can help others, but first make sure you have done what is necessary to take care of yourself.
- 13. Make time for yourself, your number one priority; once your own needs are met you will find you have more time for others. And you may find more pleasure in helping others when you don’t feel that you must always put others needs before your own.
We’re not done yet! There are so many great ways to combat stress and anxiety. You deserve to get all the information you can. After all, that’s really why you’re reading this book, isn’t it? Here’s some more stress busters.