STRESS MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION
Ten Points to Help STOP STRESS
S TART to be aware. Once you’re aware of the problem, you can then begin to do something about it to bring control back.
T AKE on a different attitude. It’s not what happens to you that counts, it’s your reaction to it. If you cannot change a stress reducing situation, then change your attitude to it.
O RGANISE alternate stress for yourself. Switch to something that is equally stressful, but different. That way you are using different part of the mind and body. A desk bound executive might take up squash, or mountain climbing. A sports professional on the other hand might dabble on the stock market, or set up a management consultancy. The important thing is that it is different.
P OSITIVE thinking. If a new test seems overwhelming, think about your past success. Use them as a suit of armour to protect your confidence. Think of it as part of a learning process, continuation of something you’ve always done. Positive thoughts, such as “I can handle this” or “I know more about this than anyone here” will stop the physical response to stress – quick breathing and tensing muscles. It will draw you towards the intellect, the part that really can deal with it.
S TOP trying to do more than one job at a time. If that is not possible, then you must prioritise. That way you have taken control and developed an action plan, otherwise you will jump from one job to another and achieve nothing but stress.
T AKE time out to learn mental relaxation. Most people have lost the ability to do this. Our bodies rest each day when we go to bed. How often have you awoken in the morning still feeling shattered? If you learn to switch off mentally for 20 minutes each day, you will be surprised how much better you will feel.
R EASSESS your goals. Have your goals in life been set by you or someone else? If they are unrealistic, they will give you a continuing sense of failure. This leads to frustration and unhappiness. It lowers your ability to deal with stress. Reassess those goals, make them attainable, set your own agenda.
E XERCISE An extremely good way of managing stress. In a stressful situation the body’s natural reaction is to either run or fight. It is called “Fight or Flight Response” and it works well because (a) it burns some of the stress chemicals tension produces and (b) a tired muscle is a relaxed muscle. So make exercise a part of your lifestyle. Perhaps tennis for those who are fit. For others swimming or walking, which ever you choose, make it part of your life.
S ENSE of humour is very important. Laughter or tears are very good ways of reducing stress. Since tears at least for me are frowned upon, try and see the humour in potential stress situations. Learn to laugh at yourself. If you don’t there will be plenty of volunteers willing to do it for you.
S TOP thinking and start acting now. Just as thinking about going to the gym will not get your body fit, just thinking about managing stress will not bring it under control. Some of the methods mentioned will appeal more than others. Some of them will require more effort than others. Choose one that suits you most.