Can you give me concrete tools for stress management that I can integrate into my life?
Concrete Tools for Stress Prevention and Reduction:
How do you deal with stress? After analyzing the answer to this question, if your style of coping is not contributing to your greatest good then it is time to learn healthier approaches. Stress is a natural reaction to keep you on your toes and to stay safe. It can give you an edge and help you cope with tough circumstances. But if the stressors in your life have become chronic then it is time to take action to reduce it. I once read an illustration about stress. Picture yourself holding a glass of water. Now holding that cup is no problem for an hour or so. But what about 5 hours? Your arm would become fatigued, and your fingers cramped. What if you had to hold that glass for 24 or 48 hours? Boy, would you be aching! Now, what if you were holding a glass in both hands and juggling one on your foot…….next to impossible for 24 hours. This is the toll your stressors are taking on your mind and body. So let’s learn a variety of ways to de-stress.
Summary of some basic Stress-busters:
I have already explained in Part 2 of this series that a good night’s sleep, healthy eating, and exercise are natural stress busters. Here is a summary of some other stress reducers:
You also want to learn techniques to avoid preventable stress. Learn to say “no” to keep balance in your life. I was a capable volunteer at church. After a couple of years, I found I was being asked to do more and more while being appreciated less and less. If you find this occurring in your life; figure out a healthy amount of time you are willing to give and then say, “I’m sorry, my schedule doesn’t permit me to add anything more on my plate.” Make a point of avoiding people who cause you stress (by setting healthy boundaries), and evading activities that needlessly stress you out. For example, if dense traffic increases your stress, take a more leisurely way home or if you hate grocery shopping….order it online. If you find someone irritating, look for respectful ways to distance yourself.
Avoid conversation topics that get you riled up, for instances: politics, religion whatever your hot-buttons may be. If the subject comes up, change the focus or excuse yourself. An illustration might be: “I know you are a staunch Republican, but I prefer to keep my political views to myself”.
Pare down your workload:
If too much is on your plate, find ways to trim it down. For example, insist on a co-leader for the girl scouts who will take on half the work. Clean your house every two weeks instead of every week. Work with other parents to carpool kids to and from activites. These are all examples of findking ways to reduce your work load. Next week, I will continue giving you tips on Stress reduction.
If you would like to learn more about this subject from other authors like 10 Steps to Mastering Stress by David H. Barlow, Ph.D., Ronald M. Rapee, Ph.D., Sarah Perini, MA or The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living by Amit Sood, MD and Mayo Clinic. If you’d like to read more by this author, you can go to www.suportivetalk.com and read Part 2: Stress-Reducing Healthy Initiatives and Part 3&4: Concrete Tools for Stress Prevention.