Stress Management Strategy (SMS)
Stress is a feeling that is created when we react to particular events.
It is the body’s way of rising to a challenge and preparing to meet a tough situation with focus, strength stamina and heightened alertness.
Stress can be described as feeling under pressure, overwhelmed or being worried.
Stress can also be useful in motivating us to complete a task or improve our performance.
Stress is often provoked by events called stressors, and these cover a whole range of situations everything from outright physical danger to making a presentation.
How to reduce, prevent and cope with stress
Participants will learn to:
- Understand the different types of stress
- Identify warning signs and triggers of stress
- Develop awareness of self talk patterns
- Practice relaxation and mindfulness strategies
- Develop flourishing health habits to manage stress.
Stress management strategy starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. It is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems.
The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun plus the resilience to hold under pressure and meet challenges heads on.
Unhealthy way of coping with stress
The following coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:
- Overreacting and under reacting
- Withdrawing from friends, families and activities
- Using pills or drugs to relax
- Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outburst, physical violence). But not advisable
The Five A’s Of Dealing with Stressful Situation
- Avoid the stressor
Not all the stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed.
However, you can avoid the following.
- Learn how to say ‘NO’: know your limits and stick to them. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you are close to reaching them.
Taking on more than you can handle is a surefire recipe for stress.
- Avoid people who stress you out: if someone constantly causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship.
- Avoid hot-button topics: if you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list.
If you repeatedly argue the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
- Pare down your to-do list: analyze your schedule, responsibilities and daily task. Drop tasks that are not timely necessary to the bottom of the list.
Draw a scale of preference.
- Take control of your environment: if the evening news makes you anxious turn the TV off.
If traffics get you tense take a longer but less-travelled route. If going to market is unpleasant chore, do your grocery shopping on line.
- After the situation
If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it.
Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem does not present itself in the future often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate on your daily life.
- Express your feelings instead of bottling them up: – if someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open way.
If you don’t voice feelings resentments will build and situation will likely remain the same.
- Be more assertive: – don’t take a backseat in your life. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them.
- Manage your time better: poor time management can cause a lot of stress when you are stretched too thin and running behind.
It’s hard to stay calm and focused.
But if you plan ahead and overextend yourself.
You can alter the amount of stress you are under.
- Be willing to compromise: When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same. If you both are willing to bend at least a little, you’ll have a good chance of finding a happy middle ground.
- Adapt to stressor
If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situation and regain your sense of control by changing your expectation and attitude.
- Reframe problems by viewing stressful situations from a more positive perspective.
Rather than them fuming about traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause, listen to your favourite radio station.
- Focus on the positive: When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all things you appreciate in life, including your own positive qualities and gifts.
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
- Keep your sense of humor: This includes the ability to laugh at yourself. The act of laughing helps your body fight stress in a number of ways.
- Accept the things you can’t change
This is no sense in attempting to flee from circumstances which cannot be avoided, but which we might bravely meet and often turn to good account.
- Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth.
If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.
- Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist. Expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation.
- Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments.
Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on
- Make time for fun and relaxation: Beyond a take charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself.
If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors when they inevitably come.
- Set aside relaxation time. Rest and relax in your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach.
This is your time to take a break from all responsibilities and recharge your batteries.
- Connect with others: Spend time with positive people who enhance your life. Strong support system will buffer you from the negative effects of stress.
- Do something you enjoy every day. Make time for leisure activities that bring you joy, whether it be stargazing, playing the piano, or working on your bike.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle
You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.
Exercise regularly. Physical activity plays a key role in reducing and preventing the effects of stress. Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times per week
Nothing beats aerobic exercise for releasing pent up stress and tension.
- Eat a healthy diet. Well nourished bodies are better prepared to cope with stress, so be mindful of what you eat. Start your day right with breakfast, and keep your energy up and your mind clear with balanced, nutritious meals throughout the day.
- Reduce caffeine and sugar. The temporary “highs” caffeine and sugar provide often end in with a crash in mood and energy. By reducing the amount of coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, and sugar snacks in your diet, you’ll feel more relaxed and you’ll sleep better.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs. Self medicating with alcohol or drugs may provide an easy escape from stress, but the relief is only temporary. Don’t avoid or mask the issue at hand; deal with problems head on and with a clear mind.
- Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep fuels your mind, as well as your body. Feeling tired will increase your stress because it may cause you to think irrationally.
Some sources of stress are unavoidable.
You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.
Above all go for a walk, spend time with a friend or nature, take a long bath, play with a pet, listen to good music, watch a comedy etc.
Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury.