Tension and anxiety are very common problems in society today, and many people will suffer from the symptoms of stress at some time in their lives. I read a great article on CEO.com about how mentally strong people continue to thrive in the midst of added tension. In fact, they view adversity as an opportunity for self-growth. Whether they’re dealing with financial setbacks, health problems, or workplace difficulties, mentally strong people don’t let stress drag them down. For me, this is one of the key characteristics of a really great manager or leader.
Let’s face it, the effects of stress can be, at the very least, unpleasant, it is useful to know how to manage and reduce stress in our lives. There are numerous steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of being affected by stress, and many of them are just a matter of simple common sense.
Here are my 5 simple Tips to help you minimise or avoid stress, some of which are echoed in the CEO.com article:-
Stressful situations increase the level of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body.
These are the ‘fight or flight’ hormones that evolution has hard-wired into our brains and which are designed to protect us from immediate bodily harm when we are under threat.
However, stress in the modern age is rarely remedied by a fight or flight response, and so physical exercise can be used as a substitute to metabolise the excessive stress hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state.
When you feel stressed and tense, go for a brisk walk in fresh air. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine on a regular basis, either before or after work, or at lunchtime. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep.
2.Talk it over
Do not try to cope with problems alone. Having someone with whom you can share your problems can greatly help to “off load” the stress. You might find it useful to talk to a friend or work colleague, or talk to your line manager or employer if you are experiencing stress in the workplace.
Talking can work by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or by releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it.
Stress can cloud your judgement and prevent you from seeing things clearly.
Talking things through with a friend, work colleague or even a trained professional, can help you to find solutions for your stress and so put your problems into perspective.
Each day, try to relax with a stress reduction technique. There are many tried and tested ways to reduce stress, so try a few and see what works best for you.
For example, try self-hypnosis, which is very easy and can be done anywhere, even at your desk. One very simple technique is to focus on a word or phrase that has a positive meaning for you. Words such as “calm”, “love”, and “peace” work well.
Focus on your chose word or phrase; if you find your mind has wandered, or you become aware of intrusive thoughts entering your mind, simply disregard them and return your focus to your chosen word or phrase.
If you find yourself becoming tense again later, simply silently repeat your word or phrase. Don’t worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. Relaxation is a skill that needs to be learned and will improve with practise.
4.Learn to say ‘No’
A common cause of stress is having too much to do, and too little time in which to do it.
And despite this situation, many people will still agree to take on additional responsibility.
Learning to say, “No” to additional or unimportant requests will help you to reduce your levels of stress, and may also help you to develop more self-confidence.
To learn to say “No” you need to understand why you find it difficult. Many people find it hard to say “No” because they want to help and are trying to be nice and be liked. For others, it is a fear of conflict, rejection or missed opportunities. Remember that these barriers to saying “No” are all self-created.
You might be reluctant to respond to a request with a straight “No” at least at first. Instead, think of some pre-prepared phrases to let other people down more gently. Practise saying phrases like:-
“I am sorry, but I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities at the moment.”
“Now is not a good time for me as I’m in the middle of something. Why don’t you give it to me again at…?”
“I’d love to, but…”
5.Manage your time
At times, we all feel overburdened by our ‘To Do’ list and this is a common cause of stress. Accept that you cannot do everything at once and start to prioritise and diarise your tasks.
Make a list of all the things you need to do and list them in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally, and what can be delegated to others to do. Record what tasks need to be done immediately, in the next week, in the next month or when time allows.
By editing what might have started out as an overwhelming and daunting task list, you can break it down into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks spread out over a longer time frame, maybe with some tasks removed from the list entirely through delegation.
Don’t fill your schedule completely – allow 10% buffer time to deal with any unexpected or emergency tasks, and to include time for your own relaxation and thinking time.
Want to read the rest of the top Tips to reduce your stress levels?
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