Tight deadlines, long workhours, impossible workloads, and demanding schedules – does this sound familiar? The constant pressure and demands, conflicts, challenges and difficulties you experience in your personal and professional lives are bound to result in high stress levels. If you ignore the problem, you may find that you are ill-equipped to cope with the challenges that life throws your way.
How can you deal with stress?
- Acceptance – The first step in dealing with stress is acceptance. You need to accept the fact that stress is an integral aspect of everyday life.
- Self-analysis – The second step is self-analysis. You need to analyze yourself and your stress tolerance limits. Ask yourself – how much stress are you able to handle?
- Coping mechanisms – The third step in stress management is to build a strong repertoire of stress management skills to help you cope with the pressures and demands of life.
There are various coping mechanisms that are commonly used to deal with stress. They include:
- Share your distress – This is one of the most popular and by far the most effective method of coping with stress. When faced with a stressful situation, you will find that it helps to talk to a friend, family member, teacher, colleague, or counselor. In most cases, just the very act of talking helps relieve some of the stress you may be facing. It may sound trite but it is incredibly true that a problem shared is a problem halved. Sharing your problem with another person also helps throw light on the issue so that you can view it from a different perspective.
- Maintain a stress diary – A stress diary is a great introspective tool. It can help you uncover what is causing the stressful situation. Perhaps analyzing the problem by writing it down may also help you come up with solutions or ways to deal with it effectively.
- Do physical exercise – Physical exercise is an excellent way to vent your stress. A great deal of nervous tension, anxiety, anger, or pressure that you may be experiencing due to stress will be released through physical exercise. Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy. It can be anything – a morning walk, a swim or a game of tennis.
- Cultivate a hobby – Cultivating a hobby is an excellent way to combat stress. It can be anything that interests you from gardening to reading or painting, etc. Make sure that you spend a little time every day doing something you enjoy. People often complain that they don’t find the time for such activities in their overcrowded schedules. However, making time for your hobby will help you relax and develop the potential to deal with a stressful situation.
- Eat nutritious meals – Eat well balanced nutritious meals at regular intervals. Don’t make the mistake of skipping meals or grabbing a sandwich on the run. Irregular and poor eating habits will make you irritable and increase your stress levels.
- Learn the art of relaxation – There are several relaxation techniques you can use such as meditation and visualization. Mediation involves focusing your thoughts on one particular object for some time. This clears your mind of a lot of mental strain and also allows your body to relax. Visualization is also a very effective stress buster. Picture yourself in a pleasant place. Involve all your senses in visualizing the place. For instance if you have imagined yourself in a garden then visualize yourself inhaling the fragrance of the flowers, hearing the sounds of the birds, seeing the beauty around you. Focus on all the little details of the picture. This will help you relax.
- Adopt a positive approach – Positive thinking is a very powerful tool. For instance, you may be stressed out because you are facing an impossible deadline for a particular task. If you think positively and tell yourself that you will complete the task in spite of the pressure, then this optimism will help in combating the stress you feel and also help in completing the task.
Affirmations are often a good method of adopting a positive approach. Some examples of affirmations are:
- I can do this.
- I can achieve my goals.
- I am in control of my life.
- I will learn from my mistakes.
These simple and effective coping mechanisms can help you cope with the stress you face in your personal and professional lives.