When is the last time that stress pushed you to your limit? Did you feel like screaming? Exploding in anger? Or dissolving into tears?
Stress comes from a variety of sources and if it is not managed well, can force us to live at the edge of our limits and bring a variety of secondary problems, including:
- Poor mental health
- Emotional imbalances
- Chronic digestive problems
- Cardiovascular disease
- Suppressed immunity
It is important that we learn how to manage our stress efficiently – and avoid screaming, exploding or dissolving! Below are 5 ways that you can manage the stress in your life.
1. Identify your stressors – and deal with them
When stress sets in, we usually become tense and don’t take time to notice what is causing our stress or to consider how we should deal with those stressors.
The first step to managing stress well is to take a deep breath, identify your stressors and decide what steps you are going to take to deal with them.
If you have a hard time pinpointing your stressors, consider keeping a stress diary to help you understand your stress levels, related feelings and behaviors, as well as your stressors.
2. Learn to manage your time better
Some of our stress is usually linked to the way that we use our time. For example, many of us (including me!) plan too much into our schedule and as a result, we run late and have to hurry which causes stress.
We can reduce our stress by learning to manage our time better which may include:
- Following a schedule
- Prioritizing responsibilities
- Planning ahead
- Focusing on one thing at a time
- Eliminating unnecessary jobs
- Implementing a time-buffer between tasks
3. Connect with others
Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed you tend to distance yourself from others? Many people do this and it is unhealthy because it causes us to focus only on ourselves, our current circumstances and our stress. This increases our anxiety and the risk of depression, while also triggering feelings of failure and abandonment.
The next time you are stressed, instead of distancing yourself, find a few trusted people to connect with. If you can, talk with them about your stress, be encouraged by their support and plan some time to escape your stress and do something enjoyable with them.
4. Take time to recharge
Stress drains us physically, mentally and emotionally. We must take time out to recharge if we are going to continue managing our stressors efficiently.
How do you recharge? Each person recharges differently. Some appreciate time alone or a quiet evening with their loved ones. Others prefer having a drink with close friends or participating in sports.
No matter how you like to recharge, make it a point to recharge yourself as often as necessary to keep your stress from driving you to your limits.
5. Maintain a balanced lifestyle
Stress can be a vicious cycle. We feel stressed so we skip meals, decrease our sleep and don’t exercise with the idea that cutting these activities will give us more time to deal with our stress. We need to realize, though, that allowing our lifestyle to become unbalanced doesn’t help the situation.
An unbalanced lifestyle actually causes more stress because we become overly tired, hormones get out of whack and our body grows weak without a constant supply of energy and nutrients. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle with adequate sleep, exercise and nutritious meals is a key part of managing stress efficiently
Stress is an inescapable part of life but thankfully there are ways to manage it so that we can lead happy, healthy lives.