Strategies to Cope with Stress

stress management

The first step to Cope with stress is to accept that some situations are beyond our control. We need to alter some of our emotional reaction to stress. Sometimes, Stress can be relieved if a person accepts that a situation is stressful. Accepting that an individual has little or no control over stress can decrease stress levels. Saying Statements such as “Some Day I will laugh over this” or “This was a learning experience” is effective.

The second step is a Person’s attitude towards Stress. When an individual is faced with a stressful situation, they need to stay positive. Ask yourself, questions like “What can I learn from all this?” Positive Thinking can reduce stress levels, it enables a person’s mind to be clear. If an Individual’s mind is clear they can focus on possible solutions to reduce stress.

The third step is a Person’s Perspective.  Often, we become stressed over certain situations, which never happen or scenarios that never take place. It is important to put things in Perspective. Always ask yourself, “In the grand scheme of things, how important is this situation?” “Is there anything I can do?’’ and, “In five years’ time will I even recall this event?”

The Fourth Step is to take action to deal with Stress. It is vital to realize that we as individuals have to control our stress. Stress shouldn’t be controlling us. Taking a positive, yet realistic action will help in decreasing our levels of Stress.

The fifth step to deal with stress is to Self-Talk. Self – Talk is when we express our expectations and thoughts on a situation and its potential outcome as we see it. This can be both helpful and detrimental to our stress levels as there can be positive and negative ways in which we may perceive the outcome of a situation. Thinking of Positive ways to view a situation can be used effectively against stress. “I am in Control” and “I can meet these challenges” are examples of Positive Self Talk. Thoughts such as “I can’t”, “This is too difficult” or “I have to be perfect “are examples of negative thoughts. Negative thoughts produce more Stress.

The Sixth Step to combat Stress is Time Management. Time Management comprises of organizing and Planning Forward effectively to manage one’s own time. To achieve this, one must make an achievable “to do” list. Tasks must be prioritised according to their level of importance. The most important tasks must be completed first and the least important task should be completed at the end. However, it is important to note that it is not always possible to get everything done in one day and that’s alright. There is always tomorrow. Get a Personal organizer and make sure to use it effectively.

Another great way to complete difficult tasks is to break complex tasks into small yet easy achievable chunks. Delegating work as much as you can is another effective way of ensuring the work is completed. Handling each document only once is also a key step. Preparing agendas for Meetings, can ensure that time is spent effectively. It helps to discuss key pointers when there is an important discussion in a meeting.

The Seventh step is to have Work and Family Life Balance. Sometimes, Individuals undergo the pressure to balance a career and family. This can be overwhelming. Individuals must gain control by keeping a balance at work and at home. A strict timetable at work must be set and people should stick to their timetable. Individuals need to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty. This can be done if a person practices to say 2 positive statements followed by a negative statement. Be brief while having a conversation. The longer you converse, the more likely you are to give in.

Keeping the balance at home is essential. Cooking in large quantities and freezing individual meals can help save both, time and effort. Setting up daily and weekly routines for chores and sharing these chores with other family members is resourceful. Family members should schedule quality time with each other. Another Key aspect is to be prepared for unexpected events or situations. For Instance: Keeping a spare set of car keys in case of an emergency. It is vital to give yourself ample amount of time to switch from a working role to a family role. Use your commute time to prepare for your next role.

The Eighth Step to overcome Stress is to Communicate. Communication is important to work efficiently, understand work colleagues and relationships at home. Organising one’s communication method is essential.  It is important to express oneself individually by using “I” statements. People often judge others as a result of miscommunication. Calling people names is another negative aspect of miscommunication. It is essential to give feedbacks in positive and negative forms.

It is important to maintain and establish eye contact. Always listen to the entire message, pay attention and understand the context, taking the other person’s feelings into consideration. It is also essential to understand the meaning of what is being spoken. Individuals need to ensure that they have understood the message by summarising what they have heard. It is good to form bonds with people at home and work. Creating a good network is important to help a person obtain adequate care and support. It is important to express your feelings to others as it makes way for building positivity.

The Ninth Step to overcome stress is to ensure that a person takes adequate time out and has a exercise routine. Getting away from all the stress. This can be done by reading a book, listening to music or by reading a meaningful quotation. It is necessary to laugh. Every person deserves to laugh and share jokes appropriately. If you feel tense in a situation, it is good to close your eyes, breathe deeply or go for a walk. Remember, Exercise can reduce tension, leaving the body better equipped to handle stress. Individuals should pick any form of exercise they enjoy. An exercise activity must be done for 20 to 30 minutes, approximately 3 to 4 times a week. Stretch breaks at work can relieve tension. The simplest form of Exercise is to go for a walk.

These Nine Steps are great strategies to Overcome Stress and maintain optimal levels of functioning.


Author: Ms. Esther John Mathews, Clinical Psychologist

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