Four Ways to deal with stress

The word stress returns about 5 billion results on google search. Almost everyone is talking about stress, how stressed they are, what stress does to them, how stress affects their health, what are some quick stress management techniques and so on. The other day I met a little girl all of 10 years who said to me “I am doing football, school work, homework and karate and all of this is stressing me out!” It brought a smile to my face. Grass is always greener on the other side. Most adults would say “how relaxing to be able to do football and karate along with a little bit of school and homework”.

Before we dive into some stress management techniques, let us take a look at this phenomenon called stress. What is stress? Is a game of football stressful or fun? Is a meeting with the boss stressful or challenging? It all depends on the person. What may be stressful for one may be relaxing or challenging for the other. So then, what is it that makes something stressful for someone? Here is a quote from Lou Holtz that says “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it!” And therein lies the answer to the question why does something stress someone out. It all depends on their attitude.

Stress is directly related to how out-of-control we feel. Stress is literally how your body reacts when it feels threatened or when it feels that the outcome of the situation will be dangerous to you. Once we understand the reasons to why we feel stressed, we can come up with some stress management techniques for ourselves. Any stress management technique is simply about overcoming the automatic response generated by our body and replacing it with a more balanced, more suited to reality and a more thoughtful response. E.g. a meeting with the boss is simply a meeting between two people, even if your boss is unhappy with you; is there is no need to feel as if your existence is threatened.

1.Connect with Stress – Halt it right there The feeling of stress is this feeling of shortness of breath, butterflies in the stomach, racing thoughts or blanking out of the brain, beating heart – it’s all happening in the body. One way to manage stress is to halt this automatic process of the body. A magical way to get in touch with your physiology is to get in touch with your breath. Connect with your racing heart or the butterflies in the belly, take a few deep breaths and observe the stress response melt away.

2.Dive deep into the stress – Know yourself Observe the situations that make you feel stressed. Are you feeling stressed because there is too much to do? Or is it a fear of authority (your boss, your parents, a powerful person) that gives you stress? Or is it the fear of losing something (a loved one, your job, car, house).Identify the exact cause of the stress and examine what it is about that particular situation that threatens you. You will get a new insight into yourself.

3.Face your fear – Rid yourself of stress This stress management technique will not only help you manage stress in the short term, over the long term it will take away the need to manage stress completely.Once you have identified the exact cause of stress – e.g. fear of bad performance or fear of losing your job or the fear that your loved one may walkout on you – think of how it would be if that actually happens. You would still be alive, breathing, you would still have your capabilities with you – if you apply yourself you will be able to deal with whatever life throws at you; just like you did in the past. Think of all the past situations when you were able to deal successfully with stressful times and how difficult they seemed at the time.

4.Attack the stress – Cultivate positivity Stress thrives on feelings of fear, scarcity and negativity. The best stress management technique that you can practise daily is to consciously cultivate positivity. The water in the glass remains the same; it is your outlook that determines if the glass is half full or half empty. Try to cultivate a glass half full kind of attitude. Each night before going to bed, count your blessings, express gratefulness to the Universe for your blessings. Each time you feel stressed, think of how it could have been worse and how glad you are that things are not so bad.

Try these stress management techniques and do let us know your experiences!

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