In Stress Part 1: Categorize that Stress we pointed out some unhealthy ways that we manifest our stress, from addiction to drinking to smoking to emotional outbursts. And we showed you how most stress management techniques fall into 4 categories: Alter, Avoid, Accept, or Adapt. In Stress: Part 2, we’ll discuss some healthy ways to manage and relieve the stress in your life.
As I mentioned in Part 1, finding relief from stress can be a challenge. You must be willing to make a change and desire to work at that change. As the saying goes, “The right road is not always the easy road.” It is easier to wallow away in self pity, and let the stress wash over you. The hard road is to make the change to better your health and peace of mind.
So let’s discuss some ways that you can reduce stress based on the categories that were mentioned earlier.
Find ways to avoid the thing that stresses you out
- Learn to say no: I know I have a hard time with this one but I have improved. I am learning my limits and saying no when it will produce too much stress, no matter how much I will enjoy the new task. If you do decide to take on something new, then drop a task that takes up an equal amount of time. And no, this does not mean that you can stop cleaning house!
- Avoid people who stress you: If you can, let go of the person who stresses you out. I’ve done it, and it’s one of the hardest things that I have done. Try to do it gracefully. If you can’t let go, at least limit the amount of time you spend with that person.
- Avoid “Hot Button” topics: If having heated discussions about politics, your mother-in-law, abortion, gun control, or the vast amounts of other topics that people feel passionate about, then don’t engage people who will get you all worked up.
- Delegate: If you have too much on your plate, delegate! I taught my boys at a very early age to make their own breakfast, and wash their own laundry. It’s not rocket science to do these tasks. Give your hubby a “honey-do” list, then don’t stress when it’s not done perfectly or quickly.
- Control your environment: Sometimes the evening news is just too depressing, so we turn it off and watch something else. Try taking a less traveled commute home if bumper-to-bumper traffic drives you nuts. Hate to shop? (I can’t imagine, but I guess some of you don’t) Then order online. Even groceries can be bought online these days.
Some suggestions to avoid stress
- Take action! Go out and change the world instead of sitting back doing nothing
- Just say no! to that additional task
- Turn off the TV.
- Don’t answer that phone call
- Organize your time
- Take a different route
- Delegate to others
Find ways to change the situation that stresses you out
- Talk!: If someone has upset you, then talk to them. I am not confrontational, but I do know holding feelings inside will cause illness and resentment. Clear the air and make a fresh start.
- Compromise: Do you get stressed out when your kids don’t clean their room according to your standards? Or demand your way or no way? Life is a give and take, so give a little, especially if you’re expecting another to compromise.
- Become a time management expert: Having an organized calendar, desk or life makes juggling your busy schedule not as crazy. Knowing right where your keys are makes your day go that much smoother.
- Be more assertive: Take control of a situation by telling the other party the rules. If you have to step out for a doctor’s appointment in 5 minutes and one of your friends call, then tell her you can only talk for 5 minutes, then do it!
Some suggestions to alter that stressful situation
- Say goodbye to that stressful individual or job
- De-clutter and organize your surroundings
- Put it in perspective: Is stressing about a situation going to change anything? Will it make a difference in a month or year? If not, then stop worrying about it.
- Ask for help
- Learn a new way home from work
- Re-prioritize your life
If you can’t change the situation then you’ll need to change how you handle yourself
- Focus on the positive: When the world gets you down, do what we do, think of the positive things going for you and learn to appreciate the little things.
- Lower your standards: I am a perfectionist in certain aspects of my life, and at times I can drive myself crazy! If you realize that the world won’t fall apart around you if the house isn’t dusted this week, then you and everyone around you will be happier.
- Get creative: Stuck in traffic every day? Then check out some books on tape from the library and put that time to good use. Look at a stressful situation and try to turn it into something good.
Some suggestions adapting to stress
- Laugh! Watch a funny movie
- Talk to a friend
- Listen to music
- Read a good book
- Take a nice long bubble bath
- Go for a manicure or pedicure
- Start an art piece
- Exercise that stress away
- Take a walk
Learn to accept the things you can’t change
- Quit trying to control: Is your mother-in-law really going to change? Then stop trying to change her and focus on ways you can adapt to the situation.
- Learn from your mistakes: “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” If you’ve had a stressful event, learn from it and try not to make the same mistake twice.
- Share your feelings: This is a big one with the Savvy4 group; we do share our concerns and our joys. Having someone to talk to whether it be your friends, family, clergy or a professional can really help you come to terms with the situation causing you stress.
- Learn to forgive: People are not perfect, and neither are you! Forgiving can have a wonderful effect by letting go of anger and resentment.
Some suggestions for accepting the situation
- Release your anger or tension with exercise
- Find your spirituality
- Educate yourself about the subject causing you stress. Become an expert
- Talk with someone.
- Keep a journal
Stressful situations will always be all around us, in our homes, in our jobs, on the streets, or manifested in our own imaginations. Unless you take an active role in maintaining your stress, it can become out of control. This article is just a start of the many ways that you can get a grip on your stress. We’d like to hear from you how you handle your stressful situations.