“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress is the easiest type of existence.” ––Norman Vincent Peale
One of the most difficult challenges in life is the ability to deal with stress in a healthy way. We’ve all faced stress at some point––either at work, school, or within our relationships––and the best way to combat these feelings of discomfort and anxiety is to acknowledge the source of the stress and learn how to cope with it effectively. Managing your time, emotions, and thoughts can lead to less stress and more enjoyment.
Identify the Source
What is the cause of stress in your life? Sometimes it’s obvious––i.e., demanding work deadlines––and sometimes it’s not so apparent, such as habitual procrastination that leads to deadline stress. Get to know your habits, attitude, and excuses. When you begin accepting responsibility for the role you play in the stress in your life, you can begin changing the way you think about your stressors.
Keeping a stress journal can help you compare your thoughts and emotions over time, and show you how you can manage your stress more easily.
Manage at Your Behavior
Do you have healthy outlets to manage your stress, like moderate exercise and talking with friends? Or do you tend to have unhealthy strategies for dealing with stress, such as smoking or withdrawing socially?
Once you identify the source of your stress, you can begin to see the pattern of how you react in response. Here are a few helpful stress management strategies:
- Avoid Unnecessary Stress
- Learn your limits and learn how to say “no”
- Avoid stressful people
- Control your environment by turning off the TV, shopping online, and turning down the radio
- Avoid upsetting topics of conversation
- Drop unnecessary tasks and focus on the “must do” list only
- Alter the Situation
- Express your feelings in a positive way and communicate what you need
- Compromise with others to find a happy medium
- Be assertive and deal with problems head on
- Manage your time better and stay focused
- Adapt to the Stressor
- Reframe problematic situations in a more positive light. Caught in traffic? Listen to the radio and enjoy the alone time.
- Look at the big picture. Will this moment matter in a month? A year?
- Nothing is perfect. Don’t set your expectations unreasonably high
- Focus on the positive!
- Accept Things you Can’t Change
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable
- Look on the bright side
- Share your feelings with someone trusted
- Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.
- Make time for Fun and Relaxation
- Connect with friends and family
- Carve out time to relax
- Do something you enjoy everyday
- Remember to laugh and laugh often
- Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Cut caffeine and sugar
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
- Get enough sleep
There’s no simple solution to cut stress entirely from your life, but there are ways to cope more effectively. If you’re concerned about the stress in your life or someone else’s health, reach out to one of our Neighbors Emergency Center locations for 24 Hour Emergency Room Care in Houston.