Stress: What is it? How does it affect me? How can I reduce my stress level? These are just some questions that every professional should ask themselves regularly. Far too often we get caught up in the old adage “Emergencies on my part are most likely due to a lack of planning on your part” and succumb.
Modern life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Stress isn’t always bad. In small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. But when you’re constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pay the price. You can protect yourself by recognising the signs and symptoms of stress and taking steps to reduce its harmful effects.
Things that influence your stress tolerance level
- Your support network – A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against life’s stressors. On the flip side, the more lonely and isolated you are, the greater your vulnerability to stress.
- Your sense of control – If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, it’s easier to take stress in stride. People who are vulnerable to stress tend to feel like things are out of their control.
- Your attitude and outlook – Stress-hardy people have an optimistic attitude. They tend to embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humour, accept that change is a part of life, and believe in a higher power or purpose.
- Your ability to deal with your emotions – You’re extremely vulnerable to stress if you don’t know how to calm and soothe yourself when you’re feeling sad, angry, or afraid. The ability to bring your emotions into balance helps you bounce back from adversity.
- Your knowledge and preparation – The more you know about a stressful situation, including how long it will last and what to expect, the easier it is to cope.
Learn how to deal with stress
You may feel like the stress in your life is out of your control, but you can always control the way you respond. Managing stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can’t, taking care of yourself, and making time for rest and relaxation.
Learn how to relax
You can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can control how much it affects you. Relaxation such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels and a boost in your feelings of joy and serenity. They also increase your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure.
Learn quick stress relief
Everybody has the power to reduce the impact of stress as it’s happening in that moment. With practice, you can learn to spot stressors and stay in control when the pressure builds. Sensory stress-busting techniques give you a powerful tool for staying clear-headed and in control in the middle of stressful situations. They give you the confidence to face challenges, knowing that you have the ability to rapidly bring yourself back into balance.
In today’s society of “connectedness” another huge stress factor is “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out). Do we really need to know about the latest Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn update? The key to this is to “unplug” and relax. Put the smart phone down! Turn the computer off!
It is important to note that stress is totally self-induced. No one can make you feel stress. When you feel stress, it is because you have allowed yourself to. Why would you want to allow yourself to feel something that causes high blood pressure, leading to cardiac issues? We’d love to hear your comments about techniques and tips to release your stress.
This blog was brought to you courtesy of Christopher Gould, President at Gould Design Incorporated