People are experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of seeing violence around the world, managing personal issues, COVID, natural disasters, paying bills in a timely fashion and more. Just looking at news alone, can cause stress in many people.
There is good and bad stress. Stress can help motivate people to meet challenges. Once a challenge has been met (e.g., a deadline, presentation), people take time to relax, reflect, and focus on next steps.
However, on the flip side, stress may decrease a person’s productivity and the pleasure they get from life. Stress can cause tightened muscles, exhaustion, or physical pains (e.g., headaches, ulcers, depression). Chronic stress can contribute to medical disorders including depression, compulsion, ulcers, and cardiovascular disease. If stress is not properly managed, it can lead to illness within the physical body and reduce one’s quality of life.
Here are some stress management techniques that may help you limit stress as you go about your day.
- Take Deep Breaths: Learn how to relax your physical body. Take deep abdominal breaths often and find quiet time to get in tune to your inner self. Get in tune to your inner self – listen to spontaneous thoughts or views as you simply relax. Think of your experience as an opportunity to learn and grow something that will lead you to a new level of understanding something about yourself or possibly the way you view the world.
- Practice Gratitude all day. Become gratitude focused on a daily basis. Instead of focusing on what you lack, focus on what you have such as family, friends or peers, your strengths and accomplishments.
- Manage Your Environment. Limit interactions with people who are emotionally draining. Try to maintain an environment of supportive people who are encouraging the best in you and themselves. In addition, limit watching news for this brings an additional level of stress to you.
If you are around people that drain you (such as a co-workers, friends, neighbors), integrate strategies to help you manage your interactions and relationships such as
- realize you are the only person you can truly control
- set boundaries and say no
- express to them how you feel when you are around them – ask them for a solutions; how can you interactions change
- stay positive around them, this makes it difficult for them to continue to complain, and zap your energy
- ask for help from others in your community/organization
- Limit Judgment. Limit judging others and yourself to the best of your ability. This is something that I’m working on; but I know those judgmental thoughts just keep creeping in at times. When the judgmental thoughts do come creeping in, replace those thoughts with thoughts of love and kindness, to the best of your abilities. Know that every person on Earth has lessons to learn and obstacles to face.
- Self-Acceptance and Awareness: Know your capabilities, limits, your personal coping style, values and goals. Accept yourself as you are; remind yourself that humans are not perfect.
- Tolerance for Discomfort: Accept the reality of frustration and discomfort. Know that things will not go as planned at times. High tolerance for discomfort helps you tackle problems and issues rather than avoid them. Keep taking action steps and engage in activities that help you gain focus. Look at the positive side of a situation and think about how you can help others who may be less fortunate.
- Focus on the present. Get as much enjoyment out of life as you can now. Enjoy your present moment and look forward to the future.
- Resist Temptation: Postpone pleasures that may cause long-term pain/agony. For example, you may want to drink more alcohol but you restrict your intake, because you know the long term effects. If this is challenging, visualize yourself, often, postponing pleasure and visualize how the new you will look as a result of postponing the pleasure.
- Be Flexible: Be aware and open that change occurs constantly. As things change in your life, take a reasonable amount of time to regroup — modify your plans and behaviors. Change is inevitable.
- Rest. An adequate amount of sleep is important in warding off stress. We need about 6-9 hours of sleep each night. The amount of sleep needed is different for each person; see what works for you. Proper sleep helps you to become more relaxed and focused, more energetic and vibrant for the day ahead of you. When you don’t get sufficient amount of sleep, this deprives the body of the rest it needs to function.
It is key to use these strategies throughout the day. These strategies will help you manage stress and dis-ease in a crazy world.