Five steps to manage your stress before it manages you!
Stress results when we’re overcome with life’s pressures — a deadline at work, rushing to get to an appointment on time, a crisis at home with the kids — causing the sudden release of adrenaline, a hormone that negatively impacts the mood and emotions, and elevates the blood pressure.
While anxiety is not the same as stress, it can result from being put under too much stress. This negative stress response will overcome all other responses with intense fear, worry, and disabling dread that the individual can be literally incapacitated by jitters, chest pains, dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting, or a panic attack.
Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point in life, if not multiple times daily. Learning to deal with your stress can help you manage your anxiety and stress-response symptoms. Of course, keep in mind that not all stress results in anxiousness, and in fact, some stress can be “good.” (Learn more here.)
Here is a five step process to help you begin to manage your stress…
FIRST: Make note of the things that trigger your stress and, as a result, how you react or how it presents itself in you.
Perhaps you notice that you tend to get angry or cry as a result of relationship stress. Maybe you feel depressed or overwhelmed due to work-related stress. Begin to take note of what is happening without judgement of the situation or yourself.
SECOND: Step away and begin an internal conversation.
Once you understand your stress triggers and symptoms, you can begin a constructive conversation internally. Wellview Specialist and Licensed Professional Counselor, Marcia Lara, recommends asking yourself, “Is this something I can change?” If your answer is YES, then take time to assess the given situation and come up with an action plan. If it’s not something you can change or is out of your control, reflect on what you can do to cope with the stress. Lara shares,
“Perhaps you notice that you become irritated at something due to lack of sleep the night before OR you realize you have a tough time saying no to others because you want to be polite—that’s ok, this can be resolved”
THIRD: If the answer is no, I really can’t change this situation because it’s not under my control.
(Maybe the problem is that your mother-in law-is controlling, you’re stressed because a spouse/partner has to be on a business trip, or your kids don’t seem to be grateful enough). Ask yourself, “Am I handling my stress in a positive manner?” or in other words, “Can I handle this better?” If you feel that you’re handling your stress positively and there is no room for improvement, then keep up the good work! Alternatively, if you’re having trouble managing your stress, then developing helpful coping strategies is the answer.
FOURTH: Use this list of coping strategies.
Get some sleep, exercise, write in a journal, etc. Find what works for you! Keep track of your stress levels and monitor how your coping strategies are working. Ask yourself, does journaling make me feel less stressed? How often do I need to do it to be helpful? Should this coping technique become a part of my daily activities?
FIFTH: Keep trying!
Be compassionate towards yourself and your feelings. Consider if any reasonable person would be stressed given the same situation. Stress is normal, but your goal is to manage your stress before it manages you. Solutions are only solutions if you let them be.
Mark Twain said it best, “The difference between those that succeed and those that fail is, those that succeeded tried.” Don’t lose hope, because there is a healthy coping mechanism(s) that will work for you and and help you cope with stress. If you notice your strategies are not working and that your stress has led you to become anxious, ask yourself if you need extra support or professional help.
Keep in mind, this will not be perfect the first few times but KEEP aiming for this strategy, because once you learn it like you have learned more negative behaviors in the past, it will be a powerful tool for ALL of your relationships.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHWC, CPT, CMS
Health Advisor | Email Casey