We all face times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed or unable to cope due to unmanageable pressures. Our body’s response to shattering situations is what we call stress.
This is one of the rapidly growing concerns today. The Covid-19 pandemic is having a major stressful impact on the entire world. The speed in which it has changed our lives emotionally, financially, and physically, is monumental.
Stress is not something to take lightly, because it puts our wellbeing at risk. We must manage stress and work on ourselves to come out of this situation we are trapped in at this time.
There are a lot more people who are finding their way out of stress by indulging in alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive coping behaviors.
All these escapes seem relaxing at the moment we indulge in them, but cause havoc to our health. The gravity of their damage is even higher than the stress itself.
We all have to opt for some healthier ways to cope with stress.
Why Healthy Stress Management Is Necessary
Stress is potentially devastating to our emotional equilibrium, as well as our physical health. It wreaks havoc on our ability to think clearly, decide wisely, function effectively, and live happily.
When you are under stress, it can feel like your life will be uncontrollable forever. However, you always have more control over situations you encounter, even when you think you don’t.
All you need to do is apply healthy stress management principles that are more effective and sustainable. Effective stress management is the key to taking control of your life. If you succeed to do it properly you can be happier, healthier, and more productive.
Stress can cause you to believe that things are never going to get better. Your personal or professional responsibilities can feel like they will never be met productively and in a balanced way. It often feels like you just don’t have enough hours in the day.
This erroneous belief can cause you to think you are good for nothing. You can even find yourself stopping any efforts into making things better. In this time of stress when everything looks unmanageable, the only thing to manage is stress.
If you manage it properly, your hours in a day actually increase. Instead of the time and energy you were wasting discouraging yourself and worrying about things, you can convert them into being productive.
How to Manage Stress in a Healthier Way
Stress management starts by identifying the reasons for stress in our lives. It seems simple to pinpoint the source of stress, but actually, it is not.
We are inclined to overlook the role of our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to our stress levels.
For instance, you may constantly worry about work deadlines. However, it could be your tendency to procrastinate and wait for the last minute to do things, that is actually causing the stress. Hence, diagnosing the real source of your stress is essential to cure it.
“Until you take responsibility for the role you are playing in creating the stress you are experiencing, your stress level will remain out of your control.”
A stress journal can help to identify the stressors in your life.
Stress mostly arises from overwhelming work amid short deadlines. Often those deadlines become shorter due to personal procrastination.
The best way to avoid stress is to manage time. One of the ways to effectively manage time is to never over-commit yourself.
Prioritize your tasks and commit to completing things in a more linear way. Multi-tasking is counterproductive — it’s not the way to manage tasks in such a way that you start and finish something.
When it comes to tasks, if something is causing pressure, break them into smaller steps, and fix a time on your calendar for each step you will need to complete the task.
Delegating responsibilities is another time-management tool. You never have to do all the tasks yourself. If others can take care of a task, let them.
“Stress is mostly predictable; it comes down to effectively managing our time which really means to be managing our stress.”
Stress is mostly predictable. For example, you can be sure that the meeting with your boss, a family gathering or just commuting to work causes stress for you. Handling these predictable stressors is easy.
You can either avoid, alter, adapt or accept.
You can avoid stressful situations. You can alter the scenario by adding something more favorable into the mix. You can adapt by changing the way you behave in those situations. You can accept things as they are if you can’t change them.
Another effective and healthier way to manage stress is to embrace relaxation techniques. Commit to exercise, meditation, yoga, or tai-chi.
These techniques have been used for centuries to add calmness to life. In addition to that, set aside a personal leisure hour on a daily basis and do something you enjoy the most.
“Busy schedules have excluded our hobbies from our routine, robbing us of joy and adding avoidable stress to our life. It’s time to make time for fun in our lives.”
Finally, learn to relieve and release the stress at that very moment it grabs you. If you are frazzled by a meeting at work, or fired up from an argument with your spouse, you need to release this stress right now.
The fastest way to respond to stress, is to take a few deep breaths and use your senses to embrace something soothing. Stress may fade off by having a look at your favorite photo, smelling a specific scent, or listening to music you love. Furthermore, having your favorite snack, hugging your pet, or walking in nature and admiring its’ beauty, can all alter a stressful state to become a peaceful one.
Do activities that spark appreciation for your life on a regular basis because this will awaken more gratitude in your life.
“Gratitude is the ultimate anti-stress, and you develop gratitude by being present and appreciating the simple and uncomplicated things in your life.”
Stress is inevitable, so is the effort to manage it. There are positive and negative ways to get rid of overwhelming moments, but the best practice is to pick the ones that not only release your stress, but also help your life by adding positivity to it.