Self-Help Techniques for Dealing with Stress
Sometimes it feels like there’s nothing you can do about stress. There will always be bills to pay, there will never be more than 24 hours in the day, and work and family responsibilities will always be there, demanding your time and energy. However, you actually have a lot more control than you may think. In truth, realizing that you’re the one in control of your life is the foundation of managing stress. Stress management is all about taking charge: of your lifestyle, your thoughts, your emotions, and the way you handle problems. No matter how stressful your life seems, there are simple steps you can take to reduce the pressure and regain your power.
Why is it so important to manage stress?
When you live with high levels of stress, you put your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your mental and emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It impacts your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy your life.
With effective stress management, you can break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a life of balance, where there’s time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun, as well as developing the resilience to handle pressure and meet challenges head on. Good stress management is not cookie-cutter: it’s important to try different strategies to find out what works best for you.
Here’s one tip that can really help: Identify the sources of stress in your life
Managing stress and reducing anxiety starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. This may not be as easy as it sounds. While it’s simple to identify major stressors such as switching jobs, moving, losing a loved one, or a going through a separation/divorce, discerning the sources of chronic stress can be more challenging. It’s easy to miss how your own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors contribute to your everyday stress levels. Sure, you may know that you’re constantly worried and anxious about work deadlines, but maybe it’s your lack of organization or procrastination, rather than the actual demands of the job, that is causing the stress.
To identify your true stressors, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:
– Do you explain away stress as temporary (“It’s just that I have a ton of things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a break?
– Do you define stress as an fundamental part of your home or work life (“Things are always crazy around here”), or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s it”)?
– Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional (“It’s just that he/she/this situation makes me crazy”) or (“This is just how life is”)?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.
If you feel you could benefit from additional strategies to manage stress and lower your anxiety, we can help! Give us a call at (716) 926-6009 or click here to schedule an appointment.