First Step in Managing Stress: Stress is generally a physical and psychological reaction to the growing demands of life. Not all stress is bad – it can be a good thing too. A small amount of stress can help align focus, motivating us to perform better. However, stress that goes on for more than a few weeks can take a toll on your body and mind. But fret not: we have got you covered. With stress management techniques, we are empowering you to thrive in an unpredictable world.
Take action now and keep future health problems at bay.
What Is Stress?
It is a natural feeling of not being able to cope with both emotional and mental pressure. In simple words, it is any type of change that causes psychological, physical, and emotional strain. Nearly all of us experiences stress to some degree. The way we respond to it is what makes all the difference.
Moreover, stress is our body’s natural defense against threats of life. When we encounter a stressful situation, stress hormones function like a gas pedal in the car. Stress hormones trigger the fight or flight motion and activate the immune system of the body. In turn, this prepares us to deal with dangerous situations.
Learn Stress Management
Breaking or coming out of the vicious cycle of stress isn’t easy at all. It is an ongoing process, and the first step in managing stress is recognizing it and understanding what causes it in the first place, and then everything falls into place.
Following steps about stress management keep stress from harming your health mentally and physically.
Step #1: Learn to Recognize the Signs of Stress – The First Step in Managing Stress
Recognizing the signs of stress is the first step in managing stress. Everyone feels it differently as there are several symptoms associated with stress. Indigestion, sleep problems, headache, and stomach issues are some of the most common symptoms of stress.
However, the majority of these symptoms are non-specific and could be due to other health conditions. Moreover, if the symptoms persist for an extended period, you should consult a doctor.
Common Signs of Stress
Some of the common signs of stress include:
- Constant fatigue.
- Weight gain or loss.
- Panic Attacks.
- Consistent feelings of being overwhelmed.
Step #2: Identify the Stressors by Keeping a Stress Diary/Journal
Try to identify the situations that cause you stress. These are usually called stressors. Furthermore, it is one of the crucial steps when it comes to stress management. Once you know what your triggers are, you will be able to come up with different ways to deal with them.
Identifying the root cause of the stress can be a daunting task. There might be a lot of things causing you to stress all at once. What to do about it? You can make your stress diary/journal by keeping a record of stressful events. In your diary, try jotting down the following things to determine your stressors.
- Note down the date and time when you are feeling stressed.
- How you are feeling both mentally and physically.
- The cause of stress (only if you know it).
- Your reaction to stress.
- Ways to relieve stress.
Step #3: Look for Ways to Avoid Stress
There are so many things you can choose from in order to avoid stress. But not all stress busters work for everyone so, try experimenting with a few and see what works out the best for you.
Change Whatever Situation You Wish to
- If someone is causing you stress, limit the time you spend with that person. Avoiding people who stress you out can be the answer to your woes.
- Taking a break or turning off tech gadgets before going to bed can be helpful because it allows you to keep your focus on the tasks at hand.
- Impatience is one of the stressors, and a traffic jam can seriously test your patience. In such circumstances, you can ditch the hassle of traffic by taking public transport or Uber as a positive distraction.
- Limiting the use of general distractions like email and mobile phones can be very handy when trying to meet work deadlines and seeing your loved ones.
- Make a calendar and hang it on the wall so you can coordinate your work and other day-to-day activities. Little preparation can help you save time in the long run.
- Pare down your to-do list and start your day by prioritizing which things are a must-do and which are a should-do, and then gradually move to the bottom of the list.
Learn How to Say No
Having too much to do is one of the most common causes of stress. Know your limits and try not to go overboard because taking on additional work means you will be giving up on your much-needed relaxation time. Saying NO can be a little awkward at first, so think of something that doesn’t sound rude such as I am sorry, I have things to do, or I would love to do this, but I am busy elsewhere, etc.
Step #4: Change Your Attitude and Be Positive
Staying happy all the time isn’t a thing. There are times when we feel sad, and this is something beyond our control. But, having a positive attitude towards life allows us to avert anger and bounce back quickly to the happy state of life.
But, How to be Happier?
Following are some of the ways that boost your happiness:
- Accepting that there are things that you can’t change helps you not sweat the small stuff and let go. For example, you will have to deal with the daily hassle of traffic so, instead of stressing, try looking out for ways to make your commute fun, such as listening to music and podcast.
- Exercising is one of the best and easiest ways to relieve stress because during exercise, our brain releases hormones that make us feel good. It also helps in letting our frustration out. Cycling, dancing, and swimming are some of the best physical exercises. You can choose what you enjoy and do it for at least 20 minutes a day.
- Change your outlook on life and try to develop a positive attitude towards it. This way, you can keep the negative thoughts at bay. Try replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. For instance, instead of thinking, “Why Do Things Go Wrong?” change this thought to, “I Will Find a Way to get through this.”
Step #5: Find Ways to Relieve Stress
Try finding new ways to relax and relieve stress. Sparing ten minutes or an hour won’t do any harm. Regularly taking some “me time” allows us to reboot our brain and get rid of stress. Let’s have a look at some of the best healthy ways that help you deal with stress:
- Do something you enjoy, such as going to a spa salon, dance to your favorite music, or whatever makes you happy, and forget about stress.
- Petting a dog or a cat instantly lifts your mood. I mean, who can stay in a bad mood when a furry cat rubs against your hand or a pair of cute puppy eyes meet yours? They are not just good at reducing blood pressure but provide social support. You can meet other dog owners and exchange a few words; it is always good to talk to people who share the same interests as yours.
You should never be afraid of seeking professional help to manage stress. Many people feel embarrassed to talk about it openly because they fail to cope with it. It doesn’t mean you are a failure; consulting the specialist will help you work through the process before it’s too late.
Moreover, if you have a medical condition like depression or anxiety disorder, your doctor might recommend medications or therapies to minimize stress.
Stress – a part of being HUMAN, of course, not everyone responds to it in the same way. The first step to manage stress boils down to understand and recognize the feeling, and then you can always experiment with different techniques and discover what works out in your favor.
P.S: IF IT DOESN’T GO AWAY OR GETS WORSE, IT’S TIME YOU NEED HELP!
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