Are you stressed?
Do you find you are suffering more as stress affects the health of your body - migraines, skin complaints, depression, insomnia, anxiety?
And it’s not only your physical body which bears the brunt of its negative effects; your mind is left exposed too, leaving you with reduced capabilities for decision-making, communication, creativity and focus.
I used to be a master at turning a blind eye to the tell-tale signs that my life was out of balance. My solution was just to work even harder...
Successful stress management is easier than you think but we often need reminders when we are in the midst of it, which is why we have created this uplifting PDF for you to print, stick to the wall or share with your students, colleagues or family.
Download the free Quick-Fire PDF Guide on Ways to Manage Stress to keep and share – or read below for fast, effective ways to manage your stress levels.
Here are 3 areas to improve the way you feel and function when you're stressed...
- Exercise. Take 20 minutes of daily aerobic movement, preferably in the fresh air, putting you in contact with nature. This will raise your serotonin levels.
- Diet. Cut down drastically on caffeine and processed foods. Fill a litre bottle with fresh water every day and try to drink as much of it as you can.
- Sleep. Go to bed at a decent hour. Disconnect from digital screens an hour before that. Make sure the bedroom is dark, well ventilated and free from electronic devices. Remind yourself not to use bedtime as problem-solving time.
- First Aid breathing technique (‘7/11’ for short). Sit down for 5 minutes and make your out-breath (“11”) longer than your in-breath (“7”). This immediately taps into your body’s natural calming mechanism and will enable you to think more clearly.
- Practice Mindfulness. Find a style to suit you and do this for 10 - 15 minutes daily.
- Tackle perfectionism by embracing vulnerability and openness to learn, by making mistakes and being curious. Before you get there, allow yourself the luxury of allowing most things to be ‘good enough’.
- Change your thinking. Negative thoughts feed straight into the stress cycle.
(1) Become aware of negative self-talk and replace it with a kinder and more generous attitude towards yourself.
(2) Catch yourself jumping to conclusions about other people. Try to see the world through their eyes.
- Cultivate gratitude. What you focus on, is what you get. Think of a few good things that happened every day and feel yourself grateful. Watch the rippling out effect of this daily habit.
3. Emotional Nourishment
Once you have calmed down, look at the bigger picture and examine to what extent your emotional needs are being met in your life. They are the nourishment that allow you to feel safe, to grow and develop your potential so that you can give back to the world.
- Security. This is vital for our development and ability to contribute.
- Control. The power to make decisions.
- Status. An acknowledgement that we matter to those around us.
- Privacy. Down-time, when you are not accountable to anyone else and can absorb and integrate what’s going on.
- Attention exchange. This is a two-way process without which we cannot develop.
- Community. Being part of a group of people with whom we share our model of reality.
- Intimacy. Having at least one other person who accepts us unconditionally.
- Achievement. A sense that our efforts are worthwhile.
- Meaning. This comes when we feel stretched through learning, by giving or feeling committed to something bigger than ourselves.
Download your free Quick-Fire Guide on Ways to Manage Stress PLUS to learn how the acronym BE AWARE can help you when you’re stressed and on the go!
Pattern in the Problem?
If you still find yourself getting upset too quickly, if you take things personally, don’t feel heard, back off too often or fly off the handle more than you’d like, consult a good solution-focused therapist who can help you deal with what is called a ‘sub-threshold trauma’.
By clearing up a reaction pattern that has long passed its sell-by date, you’ll feel liberated and free to move on and do yourself more justice.