Stress Management Drill - How To Stress Less

Stress is a part of daily life but when stress becomes crippling interfering with your day to day functioning, keeping you from going places and doing things you need to do, that's when it becomes an issue. Unchecked stress can negatively affect your mental, emotional and physical health and can cause interpersonal and relationship issues. You need to take steps to control your stress instead of it controlling you. Here is a simple drill to not let stress get the better of you:

  • Acknowledge that you are stressed and that you need to manage it before it consumes you
  • Identify the cause of your stress and what the likely stressors are
  • Separate the real problems from the imaginary what-ifs
  • Solve what’s solvable and park what’s not
  • Break down the problem into smaller to-dos and start ticking things off the list to get a sense of control
  • Keep a diary of stressful feelings and note down the triggers
  • Break the debilitating habit of worrying about the past and fretting about the future by reminding yourself that both are out of your sphere of influence
  • From time to time switch off from external stimulus such as emails, text messages and social media to give your mind a break
  • Manage your time better by learning to prioritise and delegate
  • Identify the ‘counterfactual’ thinking that is at play fuelling your stress, the ‘if-only’ thoughts that have no bases in reality such as if-only I had done this or if-only I could do that
  • Find an outlet for your stress by airing your worries/concerns in an emotionally safe environment with friends/family or seek professional help if need be to put things in perspective
  • Make some ‘silly time’ by doing recreational things that make you crack up like watching a funny movie or stand up comedy. The best antidote to cracking up with stress is cracking up with laughter as it releases the feel good hormone endorphin which combat the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Physical health and stress levels are closely related so eat right, get enough sleep and get regular exercise so that you are able to cope physically

The fact of the matter is stress doesn’t come directly from one’s circumstances, by and large it comes as a by product of the way one thinks about them i.e. stress is a result of one’s mental interpretation of a situation, so in effect it comes down to addressing our thinking. Often the same situation will affect people differently stressing some people out and not others. The difference is not what the ‘non- stressed’ are doing as much as what the ‘stressed’ are doing – the latter are allowing their fears to highjack their feelings while the former are not letting the ‘what-ifs’ and ‘if-onlys’ play on their mind by doing a reality check on the issues at hand and limiting their thinking to the things that affect them in the here and now. Awareness of this is the key to breaking out of the chronic stress cycle.

Seek professional help here if you are feeling distressed / depressed and are unable to cope

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