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Top Tips For Managing Stress

Mar 6, 2008
The word stress derives from the Latin word stringere meaning to draw tight and anyone who has ever been stressed will understand that feeling of being stretched beyond what is normally comfortable. The Stress Management Society defines stress as what happens when the demands made on a person exceed the abilities of that person to cope.

Yet a certain amount of stress is a good thing and if we did not have stress in our lives, we might not get out of bed in the morning or take that two hour journey to see a customer. Stress is the force that keeps us moving and we would not last long without it.

Some stress is good however we need to react to and manage stress to make sure that it works in our favour. It is recommended to either reduce your stress, or learn how to manage it more effectively. A combination of the two approaches works well.

Positive stress is the stress that you feel when you are planning your wedding or when you are about to make an important presentation. You feel nervous, flustered and on edge, but you are also highly charged and pumped up. This kind of stress is not harmful, can be quite invigorating and can actually help you to perform at your optimal level.

Negative stress is often beyond your control and is very harmful, especially if it occurs over a long period of time. Think about a situation where someone has to go to work for the money, actually hates the job, is unable to find any other type of work and the boss is aggressive and a bit of a bully. This type of stress can be very damaging for your health and quality of your life.

General stress reduction ideas.
Avoid nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. They are all stimulants, so therefore they cannot calm you down. If you are stressed steer clear of them and drink plenty of water instead.

Work off stress with physical activity.
Pressure or anger releases adrenaline in the body. Exercise helps to reduce it, and produces good mood substances in the brain. So go for a brisk walk when you feel tense, breath deeply and try to exercise regularly for half an hour or so three or four times a week.

Learn about stress reduction techniques and do one every day.
There are a variety of stress reduction techniques available. Activities such as yoga, hypnosis, reading, certain video games, listening to music, painting, dance and a variety of other activities that you enjoy can all help to reduce stress.

Rest and sleep.
Sleep is essential for the body to function properly and different people require a different amount of sleep. Create the right sleeping environment and avoid taking work to bed. A technique that works for many people, is to write a list of everything that needs to be done before going to bed and some people find reading a good book works well.

Agree every now and then.
Try not to take on everybody and avoid being constantly in the battlefield. From time to time even if you disagree, avoid conflict by allowing things to flow over you or by agreeing that their opinion is right. You are not saying you agree with them, just that they are right. After all they have the right to believe in what they believe.

Learn to accept what you cannot change.
Accept that there are some things you have no control over and cannot change or influence in any way.

Listen to your body.
When you are tired, hungry or thirsty, it is important that you do something about it. If you feel yourself becoming tense, stressed or agitated, consider a brisk walk, a count to ten, a
brief change of activity or something else to help reduce your stress levels.

Learn to say no.
If you are too busy then taking on more work might well increase the pressure or stress you feel under. Learning to say no is a good idea or at least I will not be able to do this until.

Manage your time.
Take one thing at a time and do not overdo things. Use time wisely and have some form of plan and priority list that takes into account the importance and urgency of a task.

Five strategies for managing stress
One. Identify all that stresses you in your life and score them on a scale. Note the ones that are the most stressful to you.

Two. Identify the sources or causes of stress and ask yourself when they occur, how they occur, over what time, how you react, the impact of this reaction on you and other people, how they make you feel and if you can influence them in any way.

Three. Taking the ones you can influence and you have the highest score first. Think about the following. Can you stop them occurring, can you reduce how or when they occur, can you react differently, what would the impact of this different reaction be, is this better than what you get now. And how would you feel differently.

Four. Review the areas where you have no influence or control and explore ways to reduce or minimize exposure to the situation, change your thinking, emotional state or the time or duration you are exposed to them. If you cannot influence these areas can you accept them and if not then what are you going to do.

Five. Monitor the results and reward yourself for avoiding, dealing with and managing stress.
About the Author
Derek Owen is a specialist soft skills development consultant, trainer, coach and author.
He runs Skills FX a specialist skills training business. www.skillsfx.com
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