Stress management is your ability to manage the perceived pressures you face on a day to day basis.
"Perceived", because stress is individual. What one person finds very stressful, another may not even notice. In that fact lies the first key to managing stress: adjust your attitude about the circumstances you find stressful.
Start to manage your stress with some health and lifestyle strategies for stress reduction.
Everyone needs successful ways to manage stress. Easy to learn and easy to implement, you can use them for your own stress management or teach them to help others manage theirs.
Manage your stress and be a healthier, happier, and more pleasant person to be around. Let’s cut to the chase...
1. Make stress your friend
Acknowledge that stress is good and make stress your friend! Based on the body’s natural "fight or flight" response, that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment. I’ve yet to see a top sportsman totally relaxed before a big competition. Use stress wisely to push yourself that little bit harder when it counts most.
2. Stress is contagious
Stressed people sneeze stress germs indiscriminately and before you know it, you are infected with stress germs too!
Protect yourself from stress germs by recognizing stress in others and limiting your contact with them. Or if you’ve got the inclination, play stress doctor and teach them how to better manage their stress.
3. Copy good stress managers
When people around are losing their head, who keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use? Are they trained and experienced?
Figure it out from afar or sit them down for a chat. Learn from the best stress managers and copy what they do.
4. Use heavy breathing
You can trick your body into relaxing by using heavy breathing. Breathe in slowly for a count of 7 then breathe out for a count of 11. Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off, and things start to feel more normal.
5. Stop stress thoughts
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot all by yourself. "If this happens, then that might happen and then we’re all up the creek!" Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?
6. Know your stress hot spots and trigger points
Presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadline... My heart rate is cranking up just writing these down!
Make your own list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific. Is it only presentations to a certain audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee?
Knowing what causes you stress is powerful information, as you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to de-caffeinated coffee?
7. Eat, drink, sleep and be merry!
Lack of sleep, poor diet, and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother and don’t burn the candle at both ends!
And those are the 7 successful techniques to manage stress! Take time to learn them, use them, and teach them, and be a great stress manager.
Varvogli L., C. Darviri, "Stress Management Techniques: evidence-based procedures that reduce stress and promote health" in: Health Science Journal (2011).
Somaz, H. and Tulgan, B., Performance Under Pressure: Managing Stress in the Workplace. HRD Press Inc. (2003) 7-8.
Lehrer, Paul, David H. Barlow, Robert L. Woolfolk, Wesley E., Principles and Practice of Stress Management, Third Edition (2007) 46–47.
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