Basic Stress Management Tips
Stress is one of the most common issues impacting our day to day lives, and it’s very important to learn how to deal with stress and reduce its negative impacts on our health. Nearly every American is affected by stress in one way or another, whether it’s stress related to work, family life or personal issues, there are some simple ways to try and deal with it. Effective stress management is proven to help you become happier, physically and mentally healthier and even more productive at work and at home. If your stress seems severe, or you’re having trouble dealing with it in a healthy way, do not hesitate to consult a professional.
Figure out what’s causing the stress.
Unless you know the source of your stress, it can be very difficult to deal with it and resolve the outlying issue. Identifying the source is not always easy, however. It’s not always as simple as an approaching deadline at work or moving to a new city. Sometimes stress could be hidden behind other factors including your own thoughts and habits. Even the same approaching deadline at work might be caused by your own tendency to procrastinate. The point being is that identifying the root cause of your stress is not always as easy as it may see from a first glance. Let’s take a look at some common ways to help find the actual stressor in your life. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you stressed out often?
- If the answer is yes, then maybe the actual cause of the stress isn’t necessarily external like you might believe, but could have more to do with how you approach situations or try and resolve the outlying issues resulting in added stress.
- Do you consider stress as a normal part of your day-to-day work life?
- As with all things in life, moderation is key. Some stress has been proven to help your brain stay healthy, increase productivity and improve memory. Excess stress, however, often leads to anxiety.
- Do you tend to blame others for your stress?
Stress journals are the best way to help answer the above questions and dig deep to figure out the source of your stress. Keeping a daily log of your stress will help you notice patterns and identify some common causes that you might have normally overlooked. It’s important to write down a few things like:
- What do you think caused you to be stressed?
- How did it make you feel? Did you feel lightheaded, physically sick or anxious, etc?
- Did you act differently in response to the stress?
- What did you do to try and deal with the stress?
Avoid, Alter, Adapt or Accept
You can’t always predict stress, but when you can, it’s important to think of the four A’s: avoid, alter, adapt or accept.
Avoid unnecessary stress.
Note that this refers to unnecessary stress. Some stressful situations need to be addressed before they can be properly dealt with, and should not be avoided, but more common stressors can be eliminated before they even occur.
Alter the situation.
As mentioned above, some stressful situations simply can’t be avoided. In those cases, it’s good to try and alter the situation to better suit your need. You can start by expressing your feelings or offer compromises.
Adapt to the stressor.
If the stressor can’t be changed, then focus on changing yourself. You can adjust your expectations, view the given situation on a big picture level, reevaluate the problem.
Accept things that can’t be changed.
This is the most difficult stressor to deal with and requires you to focus on yourself. The loss of a loved one or serious illnesses are examples of unavoidable stressors that will require you to focus on acceptance. The best way to deal with these is to speak with a professional.
Physical activity is one of the best ways to deal with stress and the effects of stress. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good and provide a great distraction from your stress. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run a full marathon, but dedicating a few minutes to exercise will your body deal with stress and improve your general emotional wellbeing. Go for a jog, walk your dog, do some yard work, etc. Anything that gets your body moving will help.
Consult a Professional
Sometimes stress is simply too much for us to deal on our own. Trained professionals can help you identify the potential stressor, set up a game plan to deal with the situation in a healthy way, and simply talk about the potential issues that can be causing you stress. Chicago Sleep and Behavior Medical Institute has a team of trained and licensed professionals that are dedicated to helping you. Get in touch with us to day to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.