Stress is part and parcel of life. Whether it’s a minor reaction to change or a considerable challenge, we all experience stress in some ways. According to The American Institute of Stress, about 77% of Americans experience stress that impacts their physical health, 73% have stress that affects their mental health, and 48% have trouble sleeping because of stress. Financial issues, work, economy, and family responsibilities top the list of most frequently cited sources of stress. And unfortunately, for about 50% of people in the U.S., stress levels are getting worse.
Though it is essential to seek professional help for any mental illness, stress is one such disorder that can be handled on your own too. Undergoing high levels of stress for more than a few weeks can put your health at risk. Minimizing daily stress as much as possible by learning how to manage stress is important for overall well-being.
The key to managing stress is identifying it. Stress is an emotional or physical response to a particular situation. Everyone goes through stress differently. Many factors such as genetics, social support, and personality may influence a person’s vulnerability to stress. Do you feel angry or irritable, overeat, or lose sleep? What are your personal signs of stress? Managing stress is easy once you figure out what signals to look for.
It is also essential to understand what situations put you under stress. These sources of stress are called ‘stressors’. Note that one may feel stressed even in a pleasant situation like winning a race, getting promoted, or having a baby. Once you figure out where your stress is coming from, you can control it.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do to cope with the stressors of everyday life.
Practice the 4 A’s of stress management
Avoid| Alter| Adapt| Accept
It may be surprising to know that it is possible to eliminate several stressors from your life. Just remember that not all stress is bad, so don’t start avoiding every stressful situation around you since that can be unhealthy and cause more anxiety. Instead, evaluate the situation and how it may affect you. This way, you can take control of the situation.
Have better control of your surroundings.
You can take control of the minor stressors, such as better managing your routine tasks. For example, leaving for work a few minutes early may help you avoid the stress of traffic. Plan, organize your surroundings and enjoy the benefits.
Avoid people who bother you.
Needless stress can be avoided by simply creating some distance between you and something that stresses you out. If a colleague continually annoys you, create physical space between the two of you.
Learn to say no when required.
If you know that something is out of your limits, just say no. Make an effort to say no to people and situations (even friends) that prevent you from staying focused. People will appreciate more time with a calm you than a stressed-out you.
Sometimes stressful situations can be unavoidable. In such cases, the best thing to do is try to alter them. Instead of bottling up your emotions, talk to someone about it. Holding onto frustrations may lead to negative feelings and mental health concerns.
Communicate your feelings.
Let people know your expectations and make it clear. It can make a huge difference. If someone is not treating you right, ask them to change their behavior. Use “I” statements while addressing someone about how you feel.
Set your limitations.
Be proactive. Let people know your limitations in advance. For example, you can say, “I only have ten minutes to talk.” Minor problems often create bigger ones if they aren’t resolved.
Manage your time.
Organize your routine activities—grouping similar tasks together can increase efficiency and give you extra time.
Having an outlook that you can’t cope with a situation is actually one of the greatest stressors. When a stressor can’t be altered, try to alter yourself instead. Changing your expectations and the way you perceive the stress around you will help with stress management.
Stop replaying stressful thoughts over and over in your head. Shrug of negative thoughts immediately. Focus on the positive aspects of your life.
Change your perspective.
Ask yourself. Will it matter to you in five years? The answer is often no. Realizing this can make a stressful situation less overwhelming.
Sometimes it is best to accept that some stressors are unavoidable, unalterable, and unadaptable, and there’s little you can do to change that. In such cases, accepting it and fitting our schedule around it will help ease much of the stress. The death of a loved one, a severe illness, or a natural calamity – are stressors that are not in our control. Talk to someone about it. Call a friend or schedule an appointment with a therapist.
Anger requires energy. Learn to let go. Forgiving yourself or others may take a while, but you will free yourself from negative thoughts by doing so.
It’s easy to lose focus when you’re stressed. Negative emotions can build up and create unnecessary strain on your mental health. Make it a goal to conquer fear and allow yourself to nourish your mind by surrounding yourself with positive thoughts and people.
Stress is a part of everyday life. When it comes to what triggers your stress, you know yourself best. Stress management is a process that demands constant effort from your end. Equip yourself with these skills of stress management and experience a peaceful life. These can not only help you ease stress but also control your emotions in stressful situations. Remember. Your stress management tools should help you and not add to the stress. It should easily fit into your daily routine. That means choosing stress management practices that are affordable, convenient, and fit into your schedule. If you find yourself feeling stressed every day, chances are you may have chronic stress. Consider getting chronic care from a qualified health provider. At DrNewMed, we offer customized programs and therapies that are sure to meet your needs. Talk to us and discover your path to wellbeing.