Living with high-stress levels is equivalent to risking our well-being. Stress outbursts disturb the psychological equilibrium and physical health. It hinders your work productivity, clarity of thoughts, and enjoyment in life. You might feel that there's nothing you can do about it - there will be family responsibilities, the need to pay bills, and challenges at the work front. But you have a lot more power than you realize!
Healthy coping mechanisms for stress break the chains that have held you back from being healthier, happier, and more productive. It aims to help build a balanced life with time for relationships, work, relaxation, enjoyment, and above all, resilience to give unavoidable stressors a tough fight. Stress management strategies are not one-size-fits-all. You need to practice a hit-and-trial approach to find the ones that best suit you. Below we'll discuss ways to overcome stress to help you choose yours.
The best way to begin overcoming stress is by identifying its sources. It's easy to identify major stressors such as a change in job, moving to a new place, going through a separation, etc. But individuals tend to overlook their feelings, thoughts, and behaviours that contribute to stress. For example, maybe it's your procrastination that makes your job stressful and not the job demand. To identify intrinsic causes of stress, closely monitor your attitude, habits, and excuses:
● Often shun stress as temporary? Even after forgetting to take a breather?
● Do you see stress as a part of your personality? Or an indispensable part of your work/home?
● Do you blame outside events or other people for causing stress?
Until one takes the responsibility of creating or diminishing it, no stress management strategies can help you. Learn to identify and accept your role in experiencing stress. Once you master the art of identifying stressors, you will cope with stress.
One has two options while facing stressors- either change the situation or change your response. You can refer to the 4 A’s for choosing the right option: Avoid, alter, adapt or accept.
Avoid: It is not a good practice to run away from stressful situations that need your attention, but there are stressors that you can eliminate.
● Learn to say "no" - be it personal or professional, accepting anything more than what you can handle is certainly a stressor.
● Avoid individuals who stress you out - limit your time with stress-causing individuals or end the relationship.
● Assert control of your surroundings- if listening to the news makes you feel stressed, limit your news intake; if you don't feel comfortable going out, spend time indoors.
Alter: If the situation is unavoidable, alter it. This often involves changing one's communication styles or how one operates in life.
● Express your feelings - Be assertive and express yourself freely when something bothers you. The Best Counselling For Addiction in India recognizes pent-up feelings and chronic stress as a cause of addiction- when an individual takes on drugs to self-soothe.
● Willingness to compromise- if you expect others to change, you should also have the will to do the same. Compromise from both ends can result in a win-win situation.
● Make a schedule- that will help you strike the right balance between work, social activities, leisure activity, and the much-needed solitary pursuits.
Adapt: Changing one's approach, expectations, and attitude to stressful situations can help regain a sense of control.
● Reframe problem- stress management therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy follows a similar approach - to change one's negative ideation that results in stress; changing one's view of evaluating a problem will help combat stress.
● Far-sightedness - ask yourself if the situation would matter to you in the long run. Do not waste another second thinking about it if the answer is no.
● Reasonable standards - stress management programs often teach individuals SMART goals - setting small and achievable goals and attaining them step by step to feel a sense of accomplishment. Setting up unrealistic goals and standards is a surefire recipe for chronic stress.
● Practice gratitude- remind yourself of your qualities and what you are thankful for in life. This will help you muster the strength to get through stressful situations.
Accept: some situations can neither be changed nor prevented. In these situations, one must learn to accept the situations rather than railing against them.
● Accept your uncontrollability- several things are beyond one's control, such as the behaviour of others or the loss of a loved one. Instead of stressing over it, we should choose the way we respond. One can also resort to the Best Mental Health Counseling Services if one cannot deal with the situation.
● Look at the brighter side- try to look at the stressful situation as an opportunity for personal growth. If the stressful situation is due to your mistakes- reflect and learn from them.
● Forgive - forgive and learn to move on. Accept imperfections and let go of the negativity; holding onto anger, guilt or grudges results in chronic stress.
● Share your feelings - reaching out to a friend and discussing your situation can be cathartic.
The following are some exercises one can practice to evoke a peaceful mind and reduce stress.
Breathe focus- deep breath - inhale the positivity and exhale the pent-up negative energy. This technique, in the long run, also heals with physical ailments.
Guided imagery - close your eyes and conjure up desirable scenes, places, and experiences. This will help self–soothe and also reinforce a positive self-image.
Yoga - practising yoga postures and pranayama offers stability to the mind. One can soothe their mind from racing thoughts and negativities. One can truly experience the mind-body connection when practising yoga.
Repeated prayers - repeating a prayer or a verse for prayers along with breath focus. Those inclined towards spirituality or religion may find this method very appealing.
If you or your loved ones feel that stress stops you from living your best life, do not hesitate to get help from the best stress management counselling. Remember - It's valiant to ask for help than suffer in disguise.