It is well documented that stress has a direct effect on both your mental and physical health.
Being creatures of habit, people tend to experience stress when they are going through a transitional period in their life; this can include a change in your workload or a change in your financial situation, for example.
Individuals will also feel the effects of their stressors differently, with symptoms varying from struggling to concentrate, mood swings, changes in your sleeping and eating habits or restlessness, to name a few.
Therefore, to treat and manage your stressors requires both mental and physical solutions.
As part of #WorldMentalHealthDay2021, we have listed the 3 tips to manage your stress.
Identify the source of your stress
While some techniques may temporarily ease your stress, without identifying the source of the stress, it is impossible to resolve it. While some stressors are easy to identify such as changing jobs, moving house, or going through a breakup, some sources of stress are much harder to identify and hide deeper than some other apparent sources.
An example of this is being worried about work deadlines. While the work deadlines appear to be the source of your stresses, maybe it is your procrastination that is causing the stress.
A method which can be used to identify the root cause of your stress can be to mind map your stresses, going in deeper and deeper into the causes of each until you cannot iterate any further.
Practice the 4 A’s of stress management
Following on from this mind map, the causes can be sectioned into what factors are in & out of your control. In doing this, you are identifying the things which you are able to change and things which you are unable to change. Sectioning your causes in this way allows you to set out a plan to change the factors within your control, thus fixing your stress, and coming to terms with the factors out of your control.
The 4 A’s of stress management are: Avoid, Alter, Adapt & Accept.
Avoid stresses which you have identified as in your control. This can be a specific person who stresses you out, all the way to an environment that stresses you out such as busy shopping centres.
This method is for the stressful situations that you cannot avoid such as the stresses of work. While this is unavoidable, it is manageable. To do this, it is important to express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If someone or something is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way, and compromise with them to achieve an outcome which suits both parties.
If you cannot change the stressor, change yourself. This involves adjusting your standards. Set yourself realistic expectations and practicing gratitude. Taking a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life and your own positive qualities and achievements can play a vital role in reducing stress.
Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control.
Physical activity is a huge stress reliever. The release of endorphins makes you feel good and can serve as a valuable distraction from your daily worries.
In conclusion, don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone experiences the same stresses of life, some are just better at hiding the effects. A good outlook to have is to think of something that stressed you out years ago, such as a presentation you had to make in primary school. Now think about how insignificant it is in your day-to-day life today. Thinking in such a way can help ease todays worries as in a years’ time, it will hold the same significance as your primary school presentation.