Identifying the cause of your stress can be a bit of a mystery. We live in a world that values a high stress lifestyle. If you’re stressed, by your job or a more personal issue, the first step to feeling better is to begin taking care of yourself.
Ignoring your stress levels and your emotional distress and doing nothing about it will eventually lead to burnout and eventual breakdown. The most unhelpful thing you can do is to turn to your drug of choice to help you cope. Sure, it may ease the discomfort but will only prolong the inevitability of negative consequences.
Some suggestions to build good stress management are developing your emotional strength, maintaining control of your stressors, having a good social network, and adopting a positive outlook.
What you can do to address stress
Activity won’t make your stress magically disappear, but it can reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling. A walk in nature or a swim in the sea can help clear your head and allow you deal with your problems more calmly.
Take control your life
The feeling of loss of control has a direct affect on our nervous system and sends us into the fight, flight or fawn response. It attacks our feeling of safety and wellbeing. Taking control of our stressful situations immediately brings us a sense of power and stability counteracting the fight, flight or fawn response. We become grounded again and are better able to find a solution.
Find your people
I talk to people a lot, and more and more I am hearing that loneliness is a massive issue. Lots of people say that they have no friends and find it very difficult to make friends. A good support network is important to help with your stress. And that doesn’t mean that you need to have long deep chats with the people in that network. Laughter and small talk can sometimes be more effective than sharing your woes consistently. If friendships are hard for you, it’s time to pus yourself a little. So you may not want to socialise in bars or restaurants but there are many other options. Pursuing your interests perhaps in singing, writing or a walking group can really help reduce your stress and may be the first step in getting social they way you want.
Making time for you
On the opposite side of the scale, some of us find that being around too many people all the time compounds their stress. Working long hours often means we don’t spend enough time doing things we really enjoy. It’s important to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise. It’s important to schedule time to do things you really enjoy. Even starting with one hour a week and building on that can help reduce your stress significantly.
Quit the judgement
Judgement of self and others is the rock that we all perish upon. Judgement leads to lack of compassion and empathy. There are reasons why we react to issues the way we do and the same applies to others. When we begin to understand that biologically our nervous system controls all of our reactions, we can then begin to find solutions and know that most of the time, other people do consciously mean to hurt us.
Talk it out
Part of my own self-care is my weekly visit to my therapist. It helps me to sort out the chaos in my head. It was in therapy that I learned that my nervous system is shot and that the reaction to my stressors directly correlates to that fact. When I am overflowing and unable to function leaving some of my distress behind in that office has saved my life. I would suggest though, to be careful where you share your issues. For me a professional environment and my best friend are the only places I am save to share things.