We live in a chaotic world where we are under constant pressure so it is understandable that so many of you feel way to stressed, to the point where you are finding it difficult to cope with the stress you are feeling and the result is that your health is beginning to suffer.
I’ve read that one of the best ways to cope with stress is to avoid those things that cause it. Well those who write this type of message must be living in some imaginary world where you neither have to survive or prosper, you just have everything you want handed to you on a plate. In the real world where you and I live, stress is an inevitable part of life and we can never avoid it completely.
Stress is now just part of our hectic lifestyle and everyone is affected by the pressures of modern living, whether it involves working long hours, running around after children, or the multitude of responsibilities we all seem to have that means we never have enough hours in the day to get everything done that we want. For so many of you life is filled with too many demands and too little time and stress triggers come from all over the place.
How you cope with pressure is affected by many factors but there is an ‘optimum’ point where you reach stress overload. When you reach this point its like crash and burn on the other side, it all proves just to much for you and everything starts to suffer, and worse of all your health.
In my experience the way to cope with stress is not to leave it uncontrolled where it can threaten our physical health and mental wellbeing, but to learn how to deal with it. You can’t bury any problems under the carpet and hope they’ll go away, especially not stress. You need to learn to handle it or at least manage it.
How to cope with stress is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. So let me give you some solutions, instead of piling you with information that does nothing but get you more stressed.
The first thing that you need to learn to do is to stop worrying about the things you have no control over. What is the point to let yourself be driven stark crazy by things you can’t control, that’s just crazy, or it drives you crazy more like. You have to learn to accept things out of your control. Learn to say ‘there’s nothing I can do about this’ instead of letting yourself getting uptight about it.
The overall change you need to make when deal with stress is how you respond to all of the stressful situations you face. Stress is going to come at you from a variety of direction and places, and there’s very little you can do about that. Life and work bring stress with them and that alas is just a fact of life. So as you can’t eliminate the stress or its source what you can do is change the way you react to it. You need to focus on changing your attitude towards it and therefore your reaction.
First you have your physical response to stress. When stress strikes you will frequently respond by tensing your muscles, taking shallow fast breaths, and you feel nervous tension running through you, sometimes you perspire, all in reaction to how you feel caused by the stressor. Well you can take better control over your own bodily reactions, guard against these involuntary responses, making yourself stronger and standing up firmer to the feeling of pressure that is coming your way. I love the feeling of being centred. Something I’ve written about on this blog, which gives me the power to make my body strong and creates defences against all negativity that comes my way. The simplest exercise I use, is clenching my fist, and repeating an affirmation, such as I can deal with this and make things better than they were before. I would repeat this for a couple of minutes until I felt the power through my body. In both cases I take control, not leaving my body to react on its own accord.
Then change how you respond to stressful situations. You can’t remove the source of your stress, so instead try to focus on changing your attitude towards it. Think about how you respond both physically and mentally when you are in a stressful situation.
We also of course have those mental responses to stress. The most common are where you get defensive, or frustration strikes, maybe you get angry, or you get upset perhaps even depressed. All these are negative emotions which just worsen your situation and can never do you any good, and they certainly don’t help you deal with the situation you are facing.
It’s at times like this that your negative self talk will constantly put you down. It will tell you that you can’t do something, that you can’t cope, that you’re useless. When you hear yourself do this, your immediate reaction needs to be to shout internally the word ‘stop! Then challenge them with positive statements. One of my favourite expressions is ‘I can, I will, I must.’ I will also tell myself that ‘I can achieve anything I put my mind to.’ You are here going to have to start changing your instinctive reactions to look on the negative side of life instead putting things into a positive perspective. It may be hard at first but I assure you that you can do it. Just make the conscious decision to change your reactions to stress and keep a check on how you react from now on and alter what you do until it happens on its own accord in the right way.
Another important thing that you can do for yourself to cope better with stress is to make changes to your lifestyle which certainly will help to reduce the effects of stress on you.
Eat well. Make sure you eat regular, healthy meals, cutting down on comfort eating which will generally be unhealthy convenience foods.
Limit alcohol to recommended levels. Consuming to much alcohol certainly effects your ability to cope with stress, and research certainly supports this argument.
Be physically active. Get plenty of exercise because again research proves that exercise helps you build the natural defences your body needs to combat stress. .
Make sure you have plenty of sleep. Eight hours a night is the average needed. When we get enough sleep and are refreshed by it we are much more able to deal with stressful situations.
Find time to Rest. It is important that you regularly take time out of our busy schedules to ensure a healthy balanced lifestyle. All work and no play makes you a stress head.
Use relaxation methods which have a calming, relaxing effect on body and mind. Progressive Muscular Relaxation and Visualisation are my two favourites both covered on this blog, and I promise you they help you in the fight against stress.
Stop letting events and circumstances of the past take up so much of your thinking time and allow them to trouble you so much. Instead live in the here and now, by doing so you will allow an awful lot of stress to just drop away.
You also need to stop letting concerns about the future influence you so much. The likelihood is most of the things you worry about happening never will. Deal with what’s happening now. And let the future be dealt with in its own time.
Life has so much to offer you, so many opportunities, a wealth of possibilities, yes there is stress to deal with, but you are the master of your own destiny, and the minute you decide that you can also be the master over stress, well you can be.
So now start coping with stress, don’t let it ruin your life another minute.