Are your stress levels overly high and rising? Do you have so many demands on your time that stress is a normal part of every day?
While some stress is alright, too much can become overwhelming so you have trouble coping with everything you need to achieve. It can also make you snappy and irritable which can take a toll on friends and family. These are people who are always there for you.
If any of this sounds like you, then you need to learn stress management. Once you know how to manage stress, you can better navigate the challenges of everyday life. This will not just help your children grow and thrive, but your life will become heathier, happier and more joyful.
Why stress management is important
Living with a high level of stress puts your wellbeing at risk. Stress wreaks havoc with your emotions and physical health. When stressed out you do not function properly and cannot think clearly which degrades your enjoyment of life. So how do you reduce stress when the bills are never ending, your responsibilities keep increasing and there are just not enough hours in a day? Believe it or not, learning stress management strategies can give you more control.
Ultimately you should aim for a balanced life to give you more time to spend with family and friends, and doing the things you love. Managing your stress means you are more productive and more joyful. Using stress management techniques makes you more resilient to pressure so you can meet any challenges head on.
Signs of stress
When feeling stressed, your body releases stress hormones. These create temporary physical changes to help you deal with the situation. Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes faster and your muscles tense up. But if you are always stressed, these physical changes do not get the opportunity to subside. And this can leave you feeling overwhelmed, unable to cope and even feeling unwell. Your body may become exhausted, and you can have headaches, trouble sleeping or an upset stomach.
Understanding how you respond to stressful situations may help you to learn how to manage stress.
The following are some signs of stress to watch out for:
- Mood changes
- Irritability and anger for no apparent reason
- Changes in your appetite
- Feeling like you are on edge
- Worrying nonstop
- Unable to focus or trouble concentrating
- Being less tolerant of your partner or kids
- Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning
- Feeling like you cannot manage your daily responsibilities
- Relying on alcohol or drugs to help cope
- Withdrawing socially from family and friends
- A catastrophic mindset
- Thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
How to manage stress
The following are some simple tips to use to help you manage your stress.
What stresses you out?
Identifying what stresses you out is a good place to start. While this sounds simple, it is not as easy as it seems. It does not take much to identify the big ones such as moving house or changing jobs or being diagnosed with an illness. Pinpointing hidden things, such as your thoughts, behaviours and feelings, that contribute to your stress levels is much harder. For example, you may constantly worry about not having enough time to do all the things you need to do but looking closer it may be procrastination that causes the stress. Or you may constantly worry about your lack of money but buy takeaway meals and coffee a few times a week.
To learn how to manage stress, look closely at the excuses you make, your habits and attitude. For example:
- Are you someone who believes stress is a necessary part of your life (there is always so much going on) or a part of who you are (I have too much nervous energy to burn)?
- Do you believe that your stress is only temporary (it is just a busy time) even though it has been months since you had a chance to take time out?
- Is your stress always someone else’s fault or do you think stress is just normal?
Until you understand how you behave, think and feel about things contributes to your stress, stress management will be out of reach.
Create a stress journal
Create a stress journal to help you identify what stresses you out and how you deal with each situation. Write in your journal every time you feel stressed or track how you feel in the Blissiree app. When you keep a daily log it helps you to see common themes and patterns. Record:
- What it was that made you feel stressed (guess if you are not sure).
- How it made you feel emotionally and physically.
- How you responded.
- How you made yourself feel better?
Avoid isolating yourself
Avoid isolating yourself when you feel stressed. Talk about how you feel with your partner or a friend. This can help to put things in to perspective.
Spend quality time with people who understand what you are going through and who make you feel safe. This can help to counteract your body’s stress hormones. Know that whoever you talk to does not have to have the answers. They just need to be good at listening to you talk about how you feel. Just so you know, sharing your feelings is not a sign of weakness. Those who care about you will be happy that you trust them enough to talk to them.
It may not always be possible to lean on those closest to you when you feel stressed out. So build and maintain a network of people you can turn to help improve your resilience to stress.
To build relationships:
- Regularly have a coffee or lunch date with a friend.
- Organise someone to work out with.
- Schedule a weekly dinner date with family or friends.
- Join a group or take a class to meet likeminded people.
- Volunteer your time to help others.
- Make contact with an old friend.
- Confide in someone you trust.
- Ask a family member to regularly check in with you.
- Go to the movies with someone.
- Talk to a trusted colleague.
Be a better time manager
Failure to manage time well is a high cause of stress. Running behind trying to keep to a super tight schedule makes it hard to stay focused and calm. On top of this it is likely you will reach for the junk food and ditch any exercise, cut out any fun activities and get less sleep to try and catch up with the things you need to achieve in a day.
If this sounds like you, your life is way out of balance. You can change this by:
- Delegating some of your responsibilities. Realise you do not have to do everything alone. Delegate responsibility. Where it is possible for someone else to do one of your tasks, let them. You need to let go of needing to control every little thing. When you relinquish that control, you let go of some of your stress.
- Avoid over committing. Avoid trying to fit too much into a day or scheduling tasks and activities too close together. It is all too easy to underestimate how long things take to complete or what hold ups you will encounter.
- Break projects down into a series of steps. Large projects can be overwhelming. Solve this by creating a plan with a series of steps to reach the end goal. Focus on one step at a time to achieve what you need to with less stress.
- Set priorities. List everything you need to achieve and prioritise them in order of importance. Start with the highest priorities and work through them. Get the hardest tasks out of the way early on so you are not stressing out about them for the rest of the day.
Take time out
Plan to take time out for yourself, especially if you are always working. Actually make time each day to do something you enjoy—for example, cook a delicious meal, watch your favourite tv show, get out in the garden, take a walk along a beach at sunset, spend time with family and friends.
Make a list of all the things you enjoy and do one thing every day, even more on your days off. This is really important as you are unlikely to be able to help others when you feel overly stressed. You may have to learn to say no sometimes.
Positive Auditory Stimuli Technique
The positive auditory stimuli technique targets the unconscious brain to change cognitive behaviour. This works because all emotional and mental problems usually have their foundation in this area. It retrains the brain’s unhealthy patterns via the unconscious part of the brain.
There are seven major factors that contribute to mental illness—stress, negativity, worry, fear, dwelling on the past, low self-esteem and a lack of confidence. While 60% of these factors are genetic, 40% are conditioned. Everyone inherits a blueprint at the time of birth. These create default patterns such as how you see the world, and how you react and behave.
Working with the unconscious brain to change conscious behaviour may help address inherited thought patterns and behaviour that are at the heart of your stress.
By accessing the innate intelligence of the unconscious brain, the positive auditory stimuli technique may help your brain to change negative, ineffective experiences so they become happier and joyful.
The positive auditory stimuli technique also compliments other ways to help you reduce stress levels. It is totally natural and will not interfere with any medication you are taking or counselling to help you manage your stress. Try the Emotional Empowerment Program using the Blissiree app. Download it now to discover how it can help you get fast relief. Try it for free.
Stress management is vital for good mental and physical health. Stress management strategies include:
- Understanding what stresses you out.
- Keeping a stress diary.
- Not isolating yourself.
- Being a better time manager.
- Planning to take time out.
Look after your health and wellbeing
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