5 Simple Stress-Busting Strategies
Stress happens. Like dirty laundry, it is the natural result of us going about our everyday lives. If we don’t have a system in place to manage it, the accumulation builds up leading to a crisis. Unfortunately, stress overload affects every aspect of our lives, and professional assistance may be required to deal with it.
The physical and emotional symptoms associated with stress include headaches, stomach upset, muscle aches and pains, fatigue, increased blood pressure, sleep disturbances, and unexplained anger. When we recognize stress as it happens, we are able to see what to do with it.
Taking care of it before it gets out of hand, makes life much more pleasant and productive. The following are five simple strategies to recognize stress and deal with it at its source:
1. Take Ten
We feel stress when there is more to do than we have time. We feel overwhelmed, overworked, and underpaid. This is the time to take ten. Start with ten deep breaths, and then divide the task at hand into increments of ten; i.e. ten pages, ten phone calls, ten minutes, or ten times around.
After each ten, stop and take a breather. As we segregate our tasks into smaller increments, we are able to accomplish more in shorter periods of time.
2. Express It With “I”
Stress is often made up of unresolved negative emotions. We don’t like the way things are going at the office, the kids have made a mess and didn’t clean it up, or the car broke down for the umpteenth time this week. To keep these things in perspective, we express ourselves in non-threatening ways using simple “I” statements. For example:
- “I like it when you give me a deadline for the project, that way I am able to pace myself.”
- “I would appreciate you putting the bread and jelly away when you make a sandwich.”
- “I think it is time to schedule an appointment for the car. It broke down again today.”
3. Make the Moment Matter
Some of the stress we carry around is in the form of emotional baggage from the past. We tell ourselves what we “should” and “shouldn’t” do because of what happened before. The rigidity of these lists keeps us from focusing on the task at hand, and leaves us unavailable for flexibility.
The best way to combat this form of stress is to close the door on the past. Once we have learned from it, leave it behind. We also need to close the door on the future. By doing so, we free ourselves from worry about what “might” or “might not” happen. When we focus on the here and now, stress is minimized.
4. Keep the Keys
Knowing what is most important enables us to prioritize our tasks. When we keep key commitments, we are seen as reliable and others know that they can depend on us. If we don’t know what is most important, taking the time to find out reduces our stress and gives us the strength to take decisions concerning our time, effort, and the desired outcomes.
Identifying key people in our world, and communicating with them frequently keeps us from making assumptions, falling into the habit of exaggeration, and giving in to fault-finding or blaming. These distorted thought patterns are a sure path to additional stress. We would do well to replace them with open and honest communication.
5. Toss the Trash
Our ability to decide at a moment’s notice what to keep and what to throw away frees our work space of clutter and increases our organizational skills. Our system for dealing with the paperwork that crosses our path decreases stress considerably. When we have a place to put things and are able to retrieve them at a moment’s notice, we are free to tackle far more important things.
Since stress is a natural part of our daily lives, we would do well to manage it with these five simple stress-busting strategies. As we take ten, express it with “I,” make the moment matter, keep the keys, and toss the trash, we will get a handle on our stress before it gets a handle on us!
Affirmations Don’t Work But this Simple Strategy Does
A Simple Mental Shift that Makes You Inspiring and Magnetic
8 Simple Secrets to Getting Better at Interpersonal Skills