Free Press Journal

Don’t Worry! Long-term strategy to fight stress

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Smita Jayakar jots down the ultimate ‘Stress Busting’ guide for those who are dealing with mental and physical pressures in their daily life

I would lie if I say that I have never been stressed. Each of us gets stressed out from time to time. Striking a balance between work and home, making kids do well in a growing competitive environment, exhausting travel, work life and relationship challenges, worry has become the common habitual response to day-to-day problems for all of us, leading to accumulated stress. However, like much else, there are extremely workable strategies to get rid of long term stress, provided you make up your mind to do so. Here are a few stress busting strategies that work really well.

Identify your stressors
A lot of times, we all tend to gloss over our problems expecting them to vanish one fine day but that never happens. In fact, the more you try and ignore a problem, the more it bothers you. If something is bothering you, even the smallest of things, identify what it is. If you think it should not be bothering you, stop and analyse why it does. Often, small irritants are indicators to larger issues that are bothering you but which you might be trying to cover up. Take time to identify the serious stressors in your life. This will help you understand that trivial stressors are not worth wasting time and energy on and help you focus on facing up and managing serious stressors in life.


Recognise what you can change
This understanding is most important when it comes to stress in your work place or professional circles. Before getting stressed about any issue, ask yourself this question – Can I change what is bothering me?
If yes, do not keep solutions at thought level, but take proactive steps to change or alter the situation. (e.g.) If you are stressed about your work profile and need clarity on your role and job responsibility, do not keep contemplating what is expected of you. Wait for an opportune moment to go and discuss it with your boss or superior. Also understand that the response may not always be favourable so be ready to take the alternate step.
When you realize that you cannot change a situation, be sensible and practical enough to change your response to the problem.

Reduce the intensity of your reactions
Quite a few times, we tend to over react to situations and instances, creating stress for ourselves. It is natural to react instantaneously but you have to learn, not to let that reaction affect you long term. As a strategy, whenever any situation looks out of control, try and pull yourself away, take a deep breath and walk out of the room. Once you step off, think rational and accept the fact that no one is perfect, including your co-worker, your child, your parent, your partner or you. This thought itself will solve half the problem. Rather than wasting your time, attention and energy on the situation or instance, try and divert that energy to work out a solution that will benefit you and in the process all others around you.

Spell out your priorities and obligations
Are you trying to be all things to all people? It is great to be helpful and nice, provided you are not being too harsh on yourself. Sometimes in trying too hard to do good for others, we aren’t doing well for ourselves. Chalk out your priorities and obligations in life but don’t forget to name yourself as one of those priorities.
Is working overtime everyday worth the quality time you’re sacrificing with your family and friends? Can’t take an hour out of your busy week to relax and read your favourite book but find yourself volunteering to help every family member, friend, or co-worker?
Well, you don’t want to set the bar too low, but you don’t want to set it so high that it becomes overwhelming for you, right? What you would expect from others, expect the same from yourself. Also learn to forgive yourself and others when, on occasions, you can’t meet those standards- it’s called being human. Learn to ask for and accept help. Delegate responsibilities to others and let them handle it their way. It’s okay to let go, once in a while.

Organise Yourself
Multi-tasking has become an essential part of life these days. Demanding professional, personal and social commitments can sometimes lead to overwork and fatigue, the most common causes of stress. The solution lies in trying to organise broad time slots for every activity through the day. The timelines may sometimes not be easy to follow but as you learn to organise yourself, things will start falling in place. It is also essential to understand that sometimes you may be taking on too much. Learn to say ‘no’ to things that are not really important. Instead, make time for activities and pastimes that make you happy and peaceful. Manage your time well. If you work better in the morning, plan your big tasks for the morning. If you’re a night owl, plan your important tasks for later in the day.

Develop a strong emotional and social network 
Do you have someone you can talk to about your life? Having someone you can share both the good and bad with is important. If you are not happy with a large group of friends, try and spot a few trust worthy and genuine friends who you can lean on in times of difficulty. You wouldn’t turn them away if they needed you, would you? If you have particular interests, it works really well to join a group or organization where people share those interests. Sometimes it is rejuvenating to debate and talk about topics that one is passionate about.  If you feel that you need guided assistance in helping cope with any form of stress, do not shy away from seeking assistance from professionals – counsellors, health care experts or healers who are experienced in giving support.

Let it out, once in a while
Laugh. Cry. Scream. Sometimes you need to let out your emotions and very few tools are better than the ones nature has given us. But it would be sensible to save these emotional outbursts for a private, comfortable setting.

Having a good cry over the shoulder of a loved one or a good belly laugh with a set of close friends or a loud yell, preferably in the privacy of your car, can prove to be a great stress buster. These mechanisms offer some of the most immediate means of stress relief. However, remember that they shouldn’t be your only way of dealing with stress.

EVERYDAY DOSES

1.Give yourself loving, positive and affirming messages throughout the day. Before you go to bed, try and recall any instance through the day that made you happy, even momentarily
2.Practise any form of exercise
3.Try and walk in Nature any time of the day
4. Listen to Music
5. Dance/ Cook / Sing / Read – Do whatever makes you happy
6. Try deep breathing or gently tap on your heart centre (on your work desk)
7. Seek out warm friends who you can be comfortable with, the way you are
8. Eat Chocolate, Sip Tea/ Coffee and Relax