6 approaches for stress beating success

I’ve written before about the need to control stress in order to control your anger.  As it’s a very hard thing to do though, I thought I’d share some more insights.

In our primordial past, humans needed stress as a way of telling them there was danger and they needed to get away- fast.  When the danger had passed, their stress levels would drop.  So it was a very useful function for survival.  But what about today, do we need stress?

Well, yes actually and we need it for the same reasons our ancestors did.  Ok, so it’s not to alert us to some big-toothed animal hiding in the bush ready to pounce on us, but it is to tell us that something is wrong and it needs fixing.

Stress has a way of creeping into your life, one thing after another can add to our stress load.  You know it yourself, you could be under severe pressure in work or even worried you will lose your job, this may make you act aggressively at home which then leads to you also having problems in your relationship.  Then you find out a parent is sick and your son is getting in trouble in school.  Before long, you’ll feel like a dam just about to burst…These types of stresses are not good for our health because our bodies respond just like they are supposed to; but in our modern day lives we can’t avoid stress and it can be a chronic condition instead of a fleeting survival strategy to make us run away.

So what do you do?

Well it’s easy to say and not as easy to do, but try the following if life is getting hard to handle:

1. Stop – Take 10 minutes on your own

Have no one else around if possible, no noise, no pets or people.  Get comfortable and take some deep breaths and really relax.  Start to feel the physical manifestation of stress in your body. You should be able to feel it in your shoulders and maybe even in your digestive system in the form of feeling tightly wound up.  Start trying to release the physical stress in your body with every deep breath you take.  After a few minutes you should be able to feel it start to go down and you should be more relaxed.  If you can do this for longer than 10 minutes then do, it has enormous health benefits if done regularly.

2. Conscious Direction – make a list

When you are relaxed, consciously direct your thoughts to some of your stressors.  Think about each one individually until you have a list, but do not dwell on them.  Do not allow your mind to worry as this is not the time for that.

3. Identify – find and fix

When you have a list of the issues that cause you stress, think next about which ones are solvable for instance, in the example I provided above the most important one to fix first is your relationship issues with your spouse.  Why?  Because they are the most important person in your support network.  If you face your stressful issues together, you’ll be able to create a dialogue and you’ll both feel stronger as a result.  You will most likely have a better outcome for your problems and at the end of a stressful day you can comfort each other.  If you are a young person without a spouse, turn to parents or close grown-ups you can trust.

4. Shift Perspective – change your mind set

Change your mind set on your stressful situation; realise that you are not immersed in a whirlpool of problems that are out of your control and that each and every problem is just one thing, a singular problem that is fixable.  Even each problem itself can be broken down further.  For example, if your parent is sick and needs looking after, try and get help from other family members such as your siblings.  Break the problem down and look for solutions.  If you don’t go looking for help, you are unlikely to be offered any, but if you do seek help you may be amazed at how others are willing to chip in.

5. Get Active  – exercise

Apart from the obvious benefits of exercise such as managing your weight, increasing your fitness and protecting your immune system, exercise makes you feel good and it reduces your stress load.  It releases endorphins and serotonin that lift your mood and this will help you to feel like you can tackle any problem head on.

6. Rest – get a good night’s sleep

Very simple, if you are not getting enough sleep you are going to be cranky and less able to deal with stress.  If you are finding that your worries and problems are keeping you awake at night, then exercising during the day will help, don’t drink alcohol before going to bed and read a good book to settle your mind.  When you are asleep, your mind can work on your problems and make sense of what is going on in your life.  You may even wake with certain messages from deep in your subconscious that will tell you what to do.

There are of course some things in life that we cannot change entirely, and there are things we need to accept just as they are, but we can make the best of whatever situation we find ourselves in and we can fix the things that are fixable; one by one.  Managing stress is not easy, so try not to go it alone, talk to others and seek help where you can.  Also, try to be understanding towards others you know are feeling stressed as well.  Signs of others being stressed are irritability, anxiousness, snapping at others, headaches and well…actually the list is endless;  just be aware of your own and other people’s stress and be considerate.

Best of luck and let me know if you have any strategies for relieving stress in the comments section below. 🙂

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