Can we really relieve stress and anxiety? Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy for creating stress in our lives. When something has a negative effect on us, we know we should look at what’s happening from an objective, not subjective point of view which isn’t easy. How we respond to a situation may not be directly related to what’s actually happening but that doesn’t matter when stress is spiralling out of control. There is a lot of information available about how to let go of your feelings (Googling how to let go of emotions gives 9,000,000 results) but how can we be pro-active in minimising stress in the first place? Is there something we can do to avoid stress in the first place?
Here are my 5 tips to relieve stress and anxiety
Take a stand and say NO.
Saying no is about knowing your own limitations and having the confidence to be able to say it. The majority of us want to please the people in our lives which began a long time ago … in fact the first time you said yes and received praise which released those happy hormones and made you feel wonderful. It’s a feeling we all want to repeat. However, saying yes when you don’t want to or don’t have the capacity engenders thoughts which lead to those emotions which will cause you stress. Not sure how to respond in such a way that you won’t feel guilty? Try out these 10 guilt-free strategies for saying no on Real Simple.
Don’t reply – yet.
You’ve received a message (email, text, via social media) and for whatever reason your hackles are up and you’re hitting those keys in anger or frustration. Reflect – why are you feeling like that? Could there be a different meaning than the one you’re reading into it? You might not like the message but could the outcome be positive? Are you hung up on a couple of words? Do you need to have a face-to-face conversation? Taking time to reflect will mean that when you do respond, you can be objective and calm.
Not everyone is on your side.
Your viewpoint or worldview isn’t shared by everyone. Don’t get frustrated and angry because the other person doesn’t understand what you’re trying to communicate. Just accept it and move on.
Set deadlines. For yourself.
You’ve started a project but it’s caused you so much stress you’re on the verge of giving up. You set deadlines but they’re not working. Recognise any of these 10 common mistakes we make when setting deadlines on Life Hack? Can you make any changes so that your project can continue but with minimal stress? Learn from your experience. For others. You need important information from someone else to complete that report at work and your deadline looms … and then passes by. Your stress levels have been rising and rising. Did you give a clear deadline? (I’m always forgetting!) Have you shared the importance of your deadline? Do they know their accountability as part of the process? Colleagues have their own workload and unless you’ve been clear, the information you need won’t be a priority to them. So set that deadline.
Be careful what you share
… and who you share it with. Reveals. It felt good at the time to share that personal stuff but now you’re stressing. Will they still respect you? Will they tell anyone else? Will your friendship be the same? If you’re not sure in the first place, instead of saying anything, write it down. Don’t want anyone to see it? Burn it (safely!). I love the Buddha Board. Write it down and watch the water evaporate taking away your words with it. Gossip. Everyone does it. Stop and think. What purpose does it have? How will you feel? If it’s going to stress you out, say nothing in the first place.
There are techniques available that can help us unhook from those thoughts that lead to stress and one I can recommend is Mindfulness. Being aware and intentionally paying notice to each moment means that you’re fully engaged in what you’re doing. Last year I enrolled on the free FutureLearn course Mindfulness for Well Being and Peak Performance. It’s a practical course that runs for six sessions and is presented through text and video. You can get involved by joining in the discussions or if you prefer not to that’s ok too. You choose your level of engagement. Do the exercises and write in your journal. I can guarantee it will have a positive effect and will help you to avoid stress.
Stress can be a positive thing in our lives. It can motivate us to succeed, make us more resilient (when we’ve dealt with that stressful situation once it can make future ones more manageable) and low level stressors strengthen the connections between neurons in the brain. It’s when stress continually takes over and floods your body with hormones that can cause long term harmful physical effects that you want to avoid.
I love being out in nature and I’m sure you know by now that I love to read to escape from everyday pressures.
What do you do to de-stress?