Managing stress 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. To deal with pressure and meet day to day challenges head on.
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. Well, this isn’t easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress aren’t always obvious, and it’s all too easy to overlook your own stress- inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses: Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
A stress journal can help you identify the regular stressors in your life and the way you deal with them. Each time you feel stressed; keep track of it in your journal. As you keep a daily log, you will begin to see patterns and common themes.
Think about the ways you currently manage and cope with stress in your life. Your stress journal can help you identify them. Are your coping strategies healthy or unhealthy, helpful or unproductive? Unfortunately, many people cope with stress in ways that complex the problem.
Unhealthy ways of coping with stress
These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:
- Drinking too much
- Overeating or under eating
- Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer or your cell phone.
- Withdrawing from friends, family and activities.
- Using pills or drugs to relax.
- Sleeping too much
- Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems.
- Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical violence)
Here, meditation plays an important role in reducing your stress levels by giving you a different perspective of life. Meditation and being one with nature helps you in your spiritual growth as well as enhances your vision of life within and around.
Since everyone has a unique response to stress, there is no “one size fits all” solution to managing it. No single method works for everyone or in every situation, so experiment with different techniques and strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calm and in control.
Dealing with stressful situations: The four A’s
- Avoid the stressor
- Alter the stressor
- Adapt to the stressor
- Accept the stressor
- Avoid unnecessary stress:
Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed.You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
- Alter 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 doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
- Adapt to the stressor:
If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.
- Accept the things you can’t change:
Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can’t prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, national recession or an epidemic or the ongoing pandemic that surrounds us all. 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.
As Lord Buddha said, “Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Suffering follows an evil thought as the wheels of a cart follow the oxen that draws it.
Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think. Joy follows a pure thought like a shadow that never leaves.”