Managing External Stress may seem impossible because stress is an unavoidable fact of life, and no one is resistant to difficult circumstances or stress. And if you did, you would not want to do so because we all need a certain level of tension to energize and encourage us to act.
However, when tension becomes unbearable and we are subject to it for an extended period of time, it may become a challenge. Finding a balance and maintaining tension at acceptable levels is the key to successfully coping with stress.
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What induces stress?
As a means of survival, humans have adapted over time to be able to recognize and respond to any potential threats posed to them. The fight-or-flight reflex, which is also known as the acute stress response, is a physiological response triggered by a perceived danger to one’s existence.
When we perceive that we are in danger, our minds instruct our bodies to prepare to attack, run, or freeze. This can happen in the real world when we are frustrated by what is expected of us and feel under-resourced to meet these demands. This can be seen as a threat to our physical or psychological well-being.
People react to stress in a variety of ways, and the following are only a few of the symptoms you can encounter while coping with stress:
- Loss in weight
- Disruptions of sleep
- heightened irritability
- Panic attacks or feelings of anxiety
- easily irritated
- Negative self-assertions
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Overeating or undereating
- Putting down more hours
Stress management techniques
When we are anxious, our normal instinct is to attempt to cope by avoiding situations, stressing unnecessarily, smoking and/or drinking excessively, overeating or undereating. Unfortunately, while these techniques can provide some short-term relief from stress or the perception of such relief, they appear to exacerbate the situation in the long run.
There are other methods that can be more helpful, both in the short term and in the long term, without causing more challenges than they solve. Since everybody reacts differently to stress, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with it.
1. Avoid unneeded discomfort.
Any tension simply cannot be ignored, and avoiding a problem that must be resolved is never a wise option. However, you can be shocked by the amount of stressors in your life that you may remove.
Learn to say no.
both professionally and personally. You can never take on more than you can handle because this can just lead to tension.
Reduce the to-do list.
Analyze your schedule and prioritize your activities based on their degree of importance.
Reduce the amount of time you spend with people who stress you out.
Limit the amount of time you spend with someone who regularly creates tension in your life, and be more mindful of your response to them. Fortunately, you have power of the reaction.
Take control of situation.
Determine how you can reduce tension in a specific situation. For example, if grocery shopping causes you tension, go at a less busy time or make a list. If commuting to work stresses you out, try taking a less congested path or cycling.
2. Adjust your reaction or your condition.
This all boils down to the very essence of stress management, which is getting care of the condition.
When attempting to deal with tension, take a step back and ask yourself, “Can I change my condition in some way?”
Will I change my response if I am unable to make improvements to better my situation?
3. Change the situation
If you are unable to reduce the burden of a given situation, aim to change it. Determine what you can do to relieve tension in the daily condition but simultaneously ensuring that the dilemma does not reoccur in the future.
Let your feelings known
rather than keeping them to yourself – if something or someone is bothering you, express your thoughts in an open and polite manner. If you don’t express your emotions, frustration will grow and the situation will definitely worsen.
Don’t be a bystander in your own life. Face challenges head on, doing whatever you can to predict and deter them. If a customer at work sends you an arbitrary deadline, be fair and firm with them and tell them you may need more time to finish the job properly.
Enhance your time management skills
Unnecessary stress can be caused by poor time management. It’s difficult to remain relaxed and focused while you’re behind on your projects. However, if you prepare ahead of time and don’t overextend yourself, you can reduce the amount of tension you’re under.
4. Change your attitude
If you can’t change the situation, consider changing your attitude to it. By changing your goals and behavior, you can adjust to difficult circumstances and regain energy.
Allow yourself some breathing space.
If you are experiencing a period of quiet tension in your life, now is an especially valuable time to ensure that you are giving yourself the space you require.
Consider if there is anything you can delegate to someone else. This can be very beneficial in terms of clearing up more of the available energy and mental space.
Self-care is important.
The more stressed you are, the more important it is to look after yourself. Find time to do the things that make you happy: they are not a privilege, but a must!
Try to look at stressful scenarios from a different angle. Rather than complaining about a traffic jam, consider it an excuse to unwind and spend some alone time.
Consider the big picture.
Take a step back to look at the stressful situation. In the grand scheme of things, how significant is this issue? Will you recall it in a week or months? If the response is no, then concentrate your efforts on more critical matters.
Adjust your standards.
Perfectionism is a significant cause of unnecessary discomfort. Stop seeking perfection and ready yourself for uncertainty. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others, and learn to be satisfied with “good enough.”
Concentrate on the positive.
When stress is getting to you, take a minute to think about what you enjoy in your life, including your own good attributes and talents. This straightforward approach will assist you with keeping things in perspective.
5. Accept something you can’t change.
Any causes of tension are inevitable and unchangeable. In such instances, the following methods can be useful:
Don’t attempt to regulate the uncontrollable.
Many aspects of life are beyond our reach, especially other people’s actions. Rather than worrying about them, concentrate on the aspects you can handle, such as how you react to problems.
Consider the exact reverse.
“What doesn’t destroy us makes us stronger,” as the saying goes. When confronted with big obstacles, it may be beneficial to consider how they can still be tools for personal development.
Make a face-to-face conversation with a trusted friend or schedule an appointment with a therapist. And if there is much you can do to change the uncomfortable situation, just sharing your feelings can be really calming.
Acceptance does not imply that you must love, want, or desire it, but rather that you must make room for imperfection rather than actively competing against it. Let go of your rage and resentments. By forgiving and moving on, you can rid yourself of toxic energies.
So, the next time you feel stressed, take a step back to evaluate the cause and determine whether or not the situation is within your influence. Then you will be able to choose a suitable coping mechanism, such as changing the situation or modifying your response to it.
If you believe you need more assistance with treating your depression and mental wellbeing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) courses are available.