Sunday, August 17, 2008

How to Deal With Stress

Life can be stressful and at times you'll have to take steps to deal with ongoing stress in a positive way. Stress can have a variety of causes such as family problems, job problems, financial difficulties, poor health, mechanical breakdowns, false expectations or even the death of someone close to you. It is important to recognize the causes (some stress is natural) and, if possible, take steps to deal with the root of the problem or ask for help from friends and, in severe cases, professionals.


1. Stop! Take a deep breath and realise that you have power to control your life. Just like everyone else!

2. Be aware of your choices; you always have a choice. This is true for emotions and work. Sometimes you need to let your emotions out but still stay in control.

3. Say something positive to yourself as soon as you wake up.

4. Start every day with reflection, spiritual or otherwise.

5. Set goals for what needs to be achieved in the day then write a "to do list". When writing "your to do list":

-Know your limits - Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day.

-Prioritize your tasks and work to finish them starting with the highest priority (urgent/important).

-Do your most unpleasant or most difficult task at the beginning of the day when you are fresh, thereby avoiding the stress of last minute preparation. Procrastination feeds stress!

-Focus on one task at a time.

-Emphasize quality in your work, rather than sheer quantity.

-Schedule your day and your stress as this can reduce the number of stressors you must juggle at any one time. Stagger deadlines for large projects.

-Add some "breathing" space that will allow you time for "recharging" and creative thinking. You will also be better prepared when an unanticipated task arrives.

-Remember to delegate.

-Review your goals at the end of the day, this is cathartic and will help you sleep better.

-Know your limits and do not push yourself too hard or beat yourself up when you do not achieve your goals. Tomorrow is another day, start writing tomorrows to-do-list before you lie down so that it is off your chest.

6. Be organized. Much stress arises from feeling overwhelmed being organized and getting your priorities straight can help you break responsibilities down into manageable pieces and focus on the things that really matter.

7. Stop worrying about what you cannot change. Learning to accept things as they are is an important coping mechanism, but not as easy as it sounds.

8. Take responsibility for making your life what you want it to be. It is less stressful to make decisions and take action than to feel powerless and react to other's decisions. Decide what you want and go for it!

9. Treat your body right - You will have more self-confidence and energy, and be less likely to experience the physical side effects of stress:

-Eat a healthy breakfast and healthy snacks only. Your choice of food is very important when dealing with stress; stay away from sugary snacks and have unsalted nuts and fruit available.

-Drink water it is the best beverage and stay off alcohol which always adds to stress one way or another. Caffeine is also known to raise stress levels, so again it is best to drink water.

-Get fit. Exercise a little every day. This releases endorphins that can lower stress levels, also eat chocolate it also releases endorphins, but sorry only in small moderate dosage.

-Take a good vitamin/mineral mix tablet; some vitamins help you cope with stress.

-Get enough sleep, and, if possible, get into regular sleeping habits.

10. Listen to music. Stress can inspire intense emotional reaction. Utilize it. Vent the spleen to a favourite piece of music and experience a happy release. Also, positive and relaxing music can be helpful.

11. Use positive self-talk - One of the first things you can do in facing stressful situations is to reinforce your resolve through positive statements such as, "I can handle this, one step at a time," or "Since I've been successful with this before, there's no reason why I can't do it again".

12. Rehearse (visualize) - When you know that you are going to face a stressful situation, rehearse how you are going to handle it. Picture yourself overcoming it successfully. Create a mental "videotape" that you can play over and over in your mind.

13. Visualize positive things; this does not take long but can help you regain focus.

14. Develop a sense of humour - One of the barriers to stress reduction is the temptation to take things too seriously. It's okay to back off from your intensity and see the humour in life's situations. Laugh a little or better yet, laugh a lot! See the humour in stress.

15. Talk to friends. This is one of the most important things, as keeping things bottled up can only cause more stress.

16. Learn to say no; you cannot do everything you are asked.

17. Accept and appreciate the turmoil around you, without it there couldn't be anything you could call a good thing. Understand, that to feel frustration and anxiety only indicates your own humanity, and it's nothing to feel ashamed of.

18. Communicate your emotions this can improve the situation by informing others you need help; thus establishing a need for change in communication and situation.

19. Learn to meditate and let the stress go.

20. Take a bath this will give you private time and relax the body.

21. Chew gum or a toothpick. It has been shown that the action of chewing can reduces stress; this is why many people who are under constant stress tend to overeat. Chewing gum or a tooth pick is a healthier alternative.

22. Try some relaxation techniques or breathing techniques.


- Do not just read about "How to Deal With Stress" ACT ON IT!

- Get rid of the cause of stress. This is the most practical solution but is often disregarded. Stressful things usually do you more harm than good.

- Take positive steps in advance if you know something is going to add to your stress.

- Identify causes of other hassles and minor stresses and eliminate them if possible.

- Be honest about your emotions, do not deny them or repress them as this will only add to the stress. Do not be afraid to cry as this can relieve anxiety and let out bottled-up emotions which can help you cope.

- Apologize to someone if you need. Make sure it will not make the situation worse. Guilt adds pain to stress.

- Plan an event in the future to look forward to. Planning using imagination can also help reduce stress.

- Seek out positive friends.

- Treat yourself to a massage.

- Do not expect perfection from yourself.

- Learnto forgive, particularly to forgive yourself.

- Get enough sunlight.

- Remember stress is a way to know you are alive. Celebrate your awarness of your life and congratulate yourself on your achievments.

- Do nothing and just spend some time by yourself. It could once a week, once a month, but try to do it regularly.

Don't blame it all on yourself. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it may seem impossible. Giving up on the subject is not a bad thing, but giving up on yourself is not acceptable. You are a unique individual, worthy of love and the stress is just temporary. So breath in deep and tell yourself, you are loved, by you.


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