From one stressed-out person to another, I know how it feels; believe me, stress has many variants. Coping with life and carrying the problems that may or may not belong to you can scratch away the little joy and happiness you can bring once you head out that door. You can’t blame them for being like that; they have their reasons, so much like we have our reasons for allowing stress to weigh us down. They say that stress is all in mind.
There are several ways to manage stress and eventually remove it from your life one of these days. I’ll divide it into a seven-day course for you, and I promise it will not be too taxing on the body and the mind.
1. Acknowledge stress is good
Make stress your friend! Based on the body’s natural “fight or flight” response, that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment. I’ve yet to see a top sportsman relax before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself harder when it counts most.
2. Avoid stress sneezers
Stressed people sneeze stress germs indiscriminately, and before you know it, you are infected too!
Protect yourself by recognizing stress in others and limiting your contact with them. Or if you’ve got the inclination, play stress doctor and teach them how to manage themselves better.
3. Learn from the best
When people are around losing their heads, who keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use? Are they trained and experienced?
Figure it out from afar or sit them down for a chat. Learn from the best stress managers and copy what they do.
4. Practice socially acceptable heavy breathing
I’ve learned this from a gym instructor: You can trick your body into relaxing by using heavy breathing. Breathe slowly for a count of 7, then breathe out for a count of 11. Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off, and things start to feel more normal.
5. Give stressy thoughts the red light
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot. “If this happens, then that might happen, and then we’re all up the creek!” Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?
Images shot by Adryel Alexandre Silva Please follow him on social media @adryel.alexandreph https://beacons.ai/adryel.alexandreph
Give stress thought-trains the red light and stop them in their tracks. Okay, so it might go wrong – how likely is that, and what can you do to prevent it?
6. Know your trigger points and hot spots
Presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadlines. My heart rate is cranking up just writing these down!
Make your list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific. Is it only presentations to a particular audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee?
Knowing what causes you stress is vital information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to decaf?
7. Burn the candle at one end
Lack of sleep, poor diet, and no exercise wreak havoc on our bodies and mind. Obvious, but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother, and don’t burn the candle at both ends!
So having stress can be a total drag, but that should not hinder us from finding the inner peace of mind we have wanted for a long time. In any case, one could always go to the Bahamas and bask under the summer sun.