We all face stress of some kind in our lives, whether it’s on a personal or professional level. It’s a well known fact that stress is related to bad or negative thoughts and feelings. Stress is usually caused by a situation or event that puts pressure on us, or by our reaction to being placed under pressure. Either of these situations can be very uncomfortable physically and mentally and can raise feelings such as anxiety, worry and fear.
You can’t eliminate stress completely but you can learn to recognise how it affects your mind, body and behaviour. It shows up in people in very different ways. Some common symptoms are panic attacks, insomnia, irritability with others, feeling overwhelmed, being constantly tired, struggling to concentrate and even physical pain.
Many studies have found that high levels of stress are directly linked to cardio vascular disease, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure, so understanding how to deal with it is a great tool to have in your armoury. On the flip side, stress can also be used as a development tool to help you face your fears and teach you how to cope with challenging times in your life.
When I’m faced with any type of challenge, I ask myself the following:
1. Can I identify who or what is actually stressing me?
2. Am I self inducing this?
3. Can I find a way to alleviate it?
4. Am I looking at this stress as a bad emotion or can I turn it around and see it as a positive challenge?
5. Can I use this stress to make me even more determined to succeed?
6. Who around me can help support me through this challenge?
The answers to these questions can help find positive solutions to deal with overwhelming situations. They can also help to discover coping mechanisms to employ through stressful times, which will help you regain control of whatever is going on in your life.
If you do find that you are struggling and can’t find a light at the end of the tunnel, try these 4 things:
1. Learn to ask for help. Many of us balk at the idea of asking for help because we feel like we should be able to cope or that we are inconveniencing others. Ask someone you trust – would you say no if someone asked for help?
2. Your best is good enough. Accepting that your best is good enough is vital. You may have to lower your own personal expectations to cultivate a less stressful life. We all drop balls in our life. The key is working out which ones smash and which ones bounce. Focus on the ones that bounce.
3. Take time for you. You must check in with yourself regularly and do whatever it takes to make time for just you, even if it’s only for 5 minutes a day.
4. Concentrate on what you can control. There are some things in life that will happen no matter how hard you try to stop them. Focus on what you can change and put your energy into that.
What are you waiting for? Take the leap of faith. Make the Change. Not tomorrow. Not next week, but NOW.