Stress is one of those things in life that can never be avoided. If you are alive, you will get your own fair share of it. Learning how to relieve stress is a key to having a happier and more productive life. There are many sources of stress. The daily traffic is stressful. Sometimes, it can be stressful making ends meet. Deadlines which are drawing near are also a cause of stress. I have presented some information here which will give you the knowledge necessary for coping with stress, and if you put it into practice, you will watch as the signs of stress disappear from your life. Your days will become happier, and your productivity will grow to a new level. Coping with stress takes discipline and determination, so buckle up!
Plan ahead everyday
The first cause of your stress is you. Yes, by knowing how to relieve stress, you can actually change a lot for yourself. Most of the things that bring anxiety and stress are worries about things which you would have dealt with if you had planned to. You cannot meet deadlines if you do not plan well and pressure at work or at school just keeps increasing. It does not matter the stress management techniques you try to apply, if there is something important left undone, you will be stressed up in anticipation of the consequences.
Making a plan ensures that you have goals and have a focus. This is what guides you, and ensures that your day is productive in accomplishing the important things which you have planned. Without a plan, every idea or opportunity that comes up, and looks interesting enough to distract you will sidetrack you from achieving your goals for that time as you focus on the distraction.
Say you are a student for example. If you do not set a particular time to study, then any time is good enough to just go on YouTube and get a few laughs or to watch something exciting. A friend may want your attention for a relatively unimportant discussion. But if you already have a plan for that particular time, you already have a focus. You have an agenda; you can knowingly reject another opportunity which is a distraction in that time slot and hit the books.
Some other person who did not plan to study at a particular time may only notice at the end of the day that he did not study anything that day, make a mental note that he will study the next day, and repeat that same process the next evening. Distractions will never be short in supply, so if you do not plan to do something, chances are you will only be doing it when you realize that the deadline is upon you. At such a time, there’s no relaxation techniques applicable, because of the necessary work that must be done.
The first way of coping with stress is to avoid it, by making your plans and strictly following them. Create a routine; a time when you review your day, and plan for the next day. Such a time ensures that you will have a smoother and more productive tomorrow. A daily plan is necessary because each day cannot have the same goals and activities. As the goals set in the past are achieved, we have to set new goals and press towards that. The most effective stress management techniques all involve planning. Not only will planning help you avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety, it will also help reduce your stress during the day, as you no longer need to decide what next to do, but you just follow your plan, knowing that what you are doing will end up giving you the desired results.
Focus on the More Important things first.
The concept of focus is an interesting one. With many options, focus implies singling out one thing, which gets the attention, resources and energies. It is a fact of life that the resources at your disposal are usually not enough to do everything that needs to be done. And when you try to do everything at once, the result is usually failure. This is where focus becomes important. The principle of focus is that one thing gets accomplished at a time. This means that you will have to prioritize. In life, there are things that are important, and there are things that are more important. Following that same reasoning some things will be more urgent than others. It is left for you to focus on the more important thing first, then come to the important ones afterwards.
It is in setting priorities that you can ensure that work actually gets done. The way to determine the relative importance of things is by analyzing them together. Some things are dependent on others, some things are time sensitive and have exact deadlines, other things such as decisions could have serious life impacting changes as consequences. These are the more important things. They should get a greater consideration in your planning. Going to work on time, for example, can determine whether or not you get the promotion you have been looking forward to.
There are simple things which when done, produce good results in many aspects of your life. Making it a point to dress well, for example does not seem so important, but studies have proven that greater part of the treatment you receive from others during our day depends on how well you are dressed. Your dressing attire goes a long way to affect the first impression that most people will have of you. Neglecting these very important things can have negative effects in terms of the result you can achieve in other aspects of your life.
Here are some of those important things it is important to improve upon and they affect all other areas of your life are:
· Your attire (the way you dress up for an event) generally lets people know how much you value it. People are addressed based on the way they are dressed, so dress in appropriate attire for every occasion. Studies have also shown that just dressing up formally for any event also increases your attitude towards that activity and puts you in a better state of mind to attain your desired goals.
· Your punctuality says a lot. Many opportunities are missed because of lateness. Many employers rate their employees by their punctuality because your punctuality speaks of your interest and drive towards something. Tardiness is always a sign that what you are going for is not as important as whatever you were doing while time caught up with you. This does not play well for you to win the favor of those you will be meeting with, as they will feel less important to you in one way or another.
· Your desire for knowledge determines how much you know. Ask questions, find out from those who have done what you are faced with the best way to go about it. Read books, spend time thinking. There are some things which you will do much easier if you know what you are doing. Ignorance can be very costly, and lead you into mistakes which will bring you a lot of stress later on.
Get proper rest.
When meeting someone showing many signs of stress, the first thing people generally ask is if they got enough sleep. Of all the stress management techniques, getting adequate sleep is one of the most effective, because the body has a natural mechanism by which it is refreshed during the sleep period. Not getting enough sleep can cause you to be stressed much more by small activities which would not otherwise take such a toll on you were you more rested.
As yet, there are no relaxation techniques as effective as a good night’s sleep. Abraham Lincoln, one-time president of the United States of America, who was a very skilled woodcutter once said that if he were given 6 hours to chop down a tree, he would spend the first 4 hours sharpening his axe. This goes a long way to tell you how much easier it is to face the stress of the day, with a sharper, quicker mind which is more rested. Take that time of sleep as your sharpening time, and when you awake in the morning, signs of stress would be long gone!
How do you get more sleep? First step is to plan to sleep. Yes, planning plays an important role. This is because a lot of things sometimes look like they become more important than resting your body. Plan your sleep into your schedule. Make a 24 hour schedule. And when it comes to time for resting, don’t go sit in front of the television, and spend 2 hours of your sleeping time. The most important part of your body which needs the rest is actually your brain. When you have done the things you ought to do in your day, also faithfully discipline yourself to sleep long enough. If you have problems falling asleep, you might need to see a doctor. With a little help, you will be sleeping your way to less stress.
Share the stress!
Find someone whom you trust and respect and share the situation with them. It is said that a problem shared is already half-solved. This is because, with more eyes on the picture, there is a greater chance that a better way of coping with stress can be devised. Who knows? They may have just the solution you need. Also, sharing the problems with someone just has a way of making you feel better and reducing the stress. Having someone you can lean on in times of great stress is really great, because you are comforted and pushed ahead by their optimism and their energy. It is a sad thing not to have anyone to talk with, so make friends with neighbors and colleagues, who can be there for you when you need a shoulder to lean on.
Sometimes, as a leader, you find yourself at the center of all the stress as all blame and responsibility seems to rest on your shoulders. Do that which you need to do and learn the technique of delegation of responsibility. Sometimes, as a leader, you have to share your vision with those you are leading and also let them know of your expectations from them. Doing this early enough and sending out regular reminders ensures that what needs to get done is done. Increase the coordination in your team and increase communication. This ensures that everyone knows and does exactly what they are supposed to do, resulting in a team that functions like a well- oiled machine!
Avoid alcohol, drugs and unhealthy habits.
There are many things that people use as an escape from stress. Alcohol from ages past has been used by mankind as a way of venting out their stress. Some people just withdraw themselves and spend hours staring at their phone, watching movie after movie. Some even go into depression making matters worse. Some try to do away with their troubles (Yes, not all stress is due to work. Some people face stress for many other reasons) by doing so much that they rarely have a moment to think and remind themselves on the matter. It really does not matter the plan of escape, the problem does not go away, it is simply left for the next day.
Studies have proven that alcohol is definitely not the way to relieve stress efficiently. Alcohol could be a stress alleviator when taken in very small quantities, but in larger quantities it instead acts as a depressant. Another thing is that it makes you unproductive. Much of the time in which you should have had a clear thinking mind will be spent recovering from a drunken state. Alcoholism does not solve any problem; it simply postpones it. Taking time to calm down and think will serve you better than getting drunk. And unlike the old saying, you cannot drink away your sorrows, so man up and face them.
The same follows for the caffeine, nicotine, and other addictive substances such as cocaine. The main reason why people go into such habits is because of stress. It is extremely very difficult to be a functioning citizen and bring out the best in yourself while you are an addict. The life of an addict is not very directed as they are always guided by their urges. You may forget about your worries by “getting high”, but lose your life altogether. It is better to find constructive stress management techniques and practice them, than to throw it all down the drain.
The worst of the unhealthy habits is venting out the stress you have on others. Very effective stress management techniques would include practicing being kind to others, and being positive as much as possible under any circumstance. Remember that people are like the ground to a farmer. Whatever you plant in them, generally comes back multiplied. Pouring out your stress to others ultimately increases your stress as what you will get from them is not support but a reaction of stress. It is common for people experiencing stress to feel that everyone around them is bringing on the heat strong. What they forget most times is that they may be the very catalyst of that stress.
Choose your friends carefully
Now, you cannot choose your family, but you definitely can choose your friends. You get to spend a lot of time with those in your inner circle, those you can call your friends. There is a serious need to choose your friends as your state of mind will be determined by whom you spend your time with. It is said that a person can be known by the company they keep and this is not limited to some people only. If you surround yourself with people who are always criticizing and complaining, there is no way that you will not be stressed. In fact, there’s an interesting biblical saying which clearly states that it is better for a man to stay on a rooftop than in a spacious house with a nagging wife. Another says that a person is corrupted by bad company.
There are some men who go get drunk everyday just to avoid facing their nagging wives at home. Such a guy would tell you that he made a huge mistake. Some women face terrible things from their husbands each time they come back. Choosing the right partner for marriage will ultimately determine your stress levels for the rest of your life. Ultimately, it all starts from the choice of people you surround yourself with. If you aspire to live a stress-free life, seek out the like-minded ones, those who are looking for the same thing. In that way, you can together grow faster.
Look for the lessons.
It is often said that experience is the best teacher, but that is only for those who are paying attention. Try to see what you can adjust to reduce your stress in the situations you find yourself in. In every situation, there is always something that can be done. You may realize that in some way, you can adapt yourself to reduce the stress. It may be something you have been procrastinating that you can do now. There is always a way in which your situation will teach you something. You just need to be smart enough to see it.
Set aside time for relaxation
It is easy to forget the old saying that learning without play makes Jack a dull boy. Find some good relaxation techniques you can use during this time you have set aside. If you ask some people with signs of stress, they will tell you that they have no time for relaxation, they are so caught up working without rest. But like Abraham Lincoln implied, the four hours spent sharpening his axe were not lost by any chance. It is important to recognize the importance of relaxation. It is not time wasted, but time invested, so that you can become more productive and less stressed.
Consider some form of physical therapy.
There are many relaxation techniques which include physical exercise. Physical stress management techniques would include massage, exercises such as running, stretching and yoga. Massage has been proven to be a great option for those looking for ways on how to relieve their stress. Massage has a way of touching certain points of your body that just sends you into complete relaxation. It is better to find someone who is really an expert in this aspect who knows how to relieve stress through massage. If you’re looking for testimonials, just ask ladies who visit the spa, they will tell you that a massage there has a way of basically stripping you of all your stress.
Physical exercise, stretching and yoga; this is how to relieve stress in your body and muscles because they all have that effect of triggering the production of the right hormones which reduce the signs of stress on you. You could get a personal trainer or follow the various available trainers on the Internet. Regular physical exercise will not only reduce your stress levels but will give you better physical health altogether.
All what we’ve shared can be summarized as the four A’s of stress management:
· Avoid all unnecessary stress. Most of the stress that people suffer from can be avoided. Learn to say no, and do the right things at the right time. Relaxation techniques are no good if you just keep doing the same things that get you stressed in the first place.
· Alter the situation if you can. If you can do something about it, then do it. As we previously said, learn what you can from the situation.
· Adapt to whatever situation or people you cannot change. The only person you can ever really change is yourself.
· Accept things that you cannot change. Being stressed over your height is just an endless stress cycle. If you’re tall or short, that just it.
Practicing these will definitely help you cope with stress better than you’ve done before. You don’t need to worry about how to relieve stress. Just focus on observing the 4 A’s.