How Do You Handle Stress?April 29, 2019
As we come to the end of Stress Awareness Month (April), it’s important to educate and acknowledge not only how stressed some of us are, but how we handle that stress. Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. According to a 2017 poll in the New York Post, Eight in 10 Americans report they “frequently” or “sometimes” experience stress in their daily lives.
Knowing how common stress is in our culture, it’s most important to recognize it and find a means to handle it. According to Oregon State University, there are 6 Means of Handling Stress:
1. Avoid Unnecessary Stress
Do you find it difficult to say “no” to people? Is it possible to remove people from your life that stress you out? Perhaps a co-worker is constantly pushing your buttons. Is there a way to make as least amount of contact with that person as possible? Making a firm action item list each day that you stick to may help you from straying toward items that cause stress.
2. Alter the Situation
Is there a way to make the situation that is causing stress by changing the way you communicate and operate in daily life? Perhaps expressing your feelings in a constructive way can ease the tension caused by the situation at hand. Are you able to compromise with someone to help each of you find a middle ground and bring each party a sense of happiness? Are you managing your time well? I personally find stress with my busy schedule of balancing my family and my businesses. I find a sense of ease when I have it written out and follow the plan. This also helps me make quick changes when my childcare falls through for the day or a child is sick when I have a big meeting.
3. Adapt to the Stressor
I am not necessarily saying if you can’t beat them, join them. A great example, there was a person in social situations that couldn’t help but make passive aggressive little “digs” at me. Trying to keep my composure and ladylike image was wearing, but I refused to stoop to this person’s level. Instead, I showered them with kindness when I first saw them and politely excused myself each time this person attempted a conversation with me throughout the event. I stopped dreading these events and knew hat I had the power to enjoy it.
Sometimes we need to really examine the stressor and put a better perspective on it. Are you stressed about a work project? Remind yourself how it is short term. Perhaps you can create a celebratory goal when it is over.
4. Accept the Things that Your Cannot Change
Do not try to control the uncontrollable. I love this. How many of us do this everyday? Can you look for the positive in the situation? You cannot control is an account decided to do business with another company and you did everything possible to keep this account. Leaving with a professional and kind exit may lead them to do business with you again, refer you to others, or maybe reach out with a job offer down the road. I always say, give yourself 5 minutes to vent and then use your energy to make progress, not regress. We need to vent, but we can’t let it take over as then we are taking away from what the future holds, which is probably much better than what we were stressing about.
5. Make Time for Fun & Relaxation
It’s OK and critically important to schedule down time. Do not feel guilty taking time for you! This will actually make you more productive in work and life. We need to take 10 minute breaks throughout the day. We need to have something fun to look forward to, like a vacation, or you will build up anger and resentment. Be sure to schedule 30-60 minutes each day toward exercise, massage, yoga, dinner with friends, meditation, or reading. You deserve it, no matter what you tell yourself.
6. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
You can increase your resistance to stress by increasing your physical health. Make exercise a regular part of your routine. Be sure to eat a well-balanced diet. Don’t self-medicate stress with alcohol, cigarettes or other drugs. The relief is only temporary and more damaging than helpful. Be sure to schedule enough sleep in your nightly schedule. There is no way we can reduce stress without sleep.
It’s all about finding balance. This won’t necessarily happen over night, but you can make small steps everyday toward achieving a less-stressed life.