With the increased pace of life, our lives have also become fast paced and thus resulting in increased level of stress. Electricity bills, submission of project, fight with your boss, lesser increment in your salary etc. all contribute in increasing the stress in our lives. It is impossible to avoid stress in life but coping with stress is possible. The bills won’t stop coming, project submission is not avoidable, you have no control over the increment of your salary and your career and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have more control than you might think.
Stress management starts with the identification of stress source. The actual sources of your stress might not actually be what you think. Hence it is not easy to identify the true source of your stress. To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses. Identify whether the stress in your life is temporary or you are stressed most of the time. Also see if you blame other people for the stress and failures in your life.Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining stress, your stress level will remain outside your control.
Everybody uses their own technique of coping with stress. Some use avoidance technique i.e. they put their problems under the carpet but eventually end up piling them up. A better way of coping up is Task-Oriented coping.In this type of coping, person directly faces his problems and finds solution for it. There are some unhealthy ways of coping with stress which might reduce stress temporarily but will ultimately contribute to even more damage. Smoking, drinking too much, overeating or under-eating, withdrawing from friends, family, and activities, using pills or drugs to relax, sleeping too much, procrastinating, filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems, taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence) are some of the unhealthy ways used to reduce stress.
If your methods of coping with stress aren’t contributing to your greater emotional and physical health, it’s time to find healthier ones. There are many healthy ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. Some of the methods that can be used are-
- Bio-Feedback – Get your biological feedback. An increase in your pulse rate, blood pressure are signs of stress. It will help you to realise that you need changes in your lifestyle.
- Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, taking on more than you can handle is a sure fire recipe for stress.
- Manage your time better – Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you’re under.
- Share your feelings – Talk to a trusted friend face to face or make an appointment with a therapist. The simple act of expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation. Opening up is not a sign of weakness and it won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your bond.
- Relaxation time – Include rest and relaxation in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
- Exercise Regularly – Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week. Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent-up stress and tension.
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