It is a fact of life that we will all struggle with stress from time to time; we would not be human if we didn’t. However, if we leave our stress to get out of control, it can have devastating effects on all areas of our lives. Firstly, your health can suffer as stress might lead you to comfort eating, or not maintaining a regular balanced diet. You may become irritable, which can cause a knock on to your relationships with friends, family, and partners. It can lead to poor decision making, lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, and it can lead us to become angry or frustrated. It is, therefore, in our best interests to manage our stress levels before they do us damage that might be hard to repair.
Know Your Triggers
The first step to stress management is to know and understand what causes our stress. Identifying stress can be quite tricky as emotions are complicated, and sometimes it is not clear how we feel. We often distract ourselves by keeping busy during periods where we feel emotionally uncomfortable, and often, this is a subconscious reaction.
There are several signs of stress. You may notice that you are overthinking a situation, that you cannot get it out of your mind and worrying about every conceivable element. You may be distracted or agitated. You may find that you fidget and can’t keep still. Other signs of stress may be picking at skin and hairs, or biting nails.
Once you’ve identified that you feel stressed, your inclination may be to try and ignore that feeling, however, at this stage it is more productive for you to consider what has caused the stress so that you can look at ways of avoiding or minimizing the cause in future.
Talk About It
A problem shared is a problem halved. Try and find a friend or family member that might be sympathetic to your problems and who can provide advice or emotional support. Bottling up how you feel about your situation is liable to bring about lots more negative emotions, and talking things through, out loud often provides a new kind of clarity to your particular issue.
We often find when we open up to others about our problems, that they have been through similar things themselves, or know someone else who has. A shared experience can offer you a fresh perspective on your matters and allow you to come to a better understanding of finding the resolution you need to give you peace of mind.
Having an empathetic ear listening to you, and a supportive shoulder to cry on can often bring you closer to that friend or loved one. Displaying vulnerability can lead to a greater understanding of each other, and out of your problems, a stronger connection could blossom.
Letting off steam to someone you know can be very helpful, but for some problems, you may need to get support from someone more qualified to deal with your particular issue. Hiring a personal injury attorney or a therapist can be daunting, as can talking to your doctor about things. However, these people have trained long and hard to get you the help you need it when you really need it the most.
There is no shame in talking to professionals about your problems, after all, it’s what they are there for!
Taking Care Of Number One
You are the most important person in your life. When an avalanche of worries and doubts feel as though they are crushing you, looking after yourself can often seem like too much.
Making sure you are getting a healthy, balanced diet should be paramount in your self-care routine. Look to try and get as much fresh fruit and veg in your meals as possible to ensure you’re getting the vitamins you need to stop yourself getting run down while you’re dealing with stress.
Drinking plenty of water and keeping hydrated is vital too. Out body might be craving caffeine and high sugar drinks to keep us going; however, water has so many more health benefits and certainly should not be overlooked when going through a hard time.
Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a walk. Getting fresh air into your lungs, and getting your blood flowing can make you feel so much better about yourself and your situation.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Whatever is happening to cause you to stress, your mind can probably find a thousand ways to blame yourself for it, if you let it. Don’t let it! Try to maintain a positive outlook; tell yourself that worry and stress is normal and that you can move on from this.
Your brain is hard-wired through evolution to behave in a certain way. When you are met with a challenging situation, your natural instinct will be only to feel fear and to increase your adrenaline levels and to allow you to flee danger. Every other feeling goes out of the window as our minds focus on the fear. That protection instinct is excellent when we need it; however, when we are stressed, we are quite often suffering from this narrowing of our perspective. It can mean that we are not reasoning, and instead, are just relying on instinct to guide us.
When we are engaged in positive thoughts and are faced with a problem, something completely different happens. We will be more open to possibilities and as a result, will find problem-solving much easier. With this in mind, it is clear that you can use positive thinking to help you in stressful situations.
Retaining your brain to look at life in a more productive light may be an uphill climb at first, however, with practice and patience you will get there and start to feel the benefits in your daily life.
Whatever you are going through to cause you stress and worry, there is someone out there who you can talk to and things can and will get better.