National Stress Awareness Day 2011: How To Make Stress Work For You
From financial fears to the pressure of balancing a stressful job and domestic responsibilities, modern life is fraught with everyday anxieties.
When stress becomes a way of life it can play havoc with your health and wellbeing. But in small doses, it can can be harnessed in positive ways, such as helping to boost your motivation levels and to perform under pressure.
In light of National Stress Awareness Day, we spoke to Mike Clayton, author of Brilliant Stress Management, for advice on how to reduce, prevent and cope with stress and turn it to your own advantage.
Stress Is Part Of Success
"We all need something to spur us along, so recognise stress as a part of the process. Only when you cannot escape it at the end of the day is it time to really worry. So make sure you plan treats and fun or relaxing activities for your leisure time."
Give Yourself Some Contingency
"Allow extra time to get there early or finish before it's needed to reduce stress levels from the start."
"Doing nothing more than getting up from your desk, having a stretch and walking about a little will reduce your stress levels. If you can take fifteen minutes to take a walk outside, the effect will be even greater."
Focus On Your Achievements
"Often when we are stressed we focus on failures and things we have yet to do. Focus on success and what you have done, to give you a sense of control. Celebrate your successes to replace feelings of stress with a sense of pride."
Have A Rant... But Choose Your Timing Carefully
"If you need to let off steam, do it with the right person at the right time: a trusted friend, outside of work hours. Remember, if you spend too much of your home life moaning or being angry, you will damage one of your most powerful stress-busting assets: your family relationships. So invest time in strengthening them."
A Problem Shared
"If you do feel the first signs of stress, talk to others around you. If they are stressed too, then you will know you aren't alone. If they are not, then perhaps they can help calm you."
"For many people, an untidy work space increases feelings of stress. Deal with it. The delay will more than be compensated by subsequent increases in your efficiency, and getting your area tidy will give you an immediate sense of control."
One Thing At A Time
"Not only is multi-tasking inefficient, but it adds to your stress levels. Do one thing at a time and you will be calmer and do better quality work."
"If you cannot take the time for a nutritious and relaxing lunch break, at least choose healthy snacks, so you can feel virtuous. Plenty of fresh water, nuts, fruit, dried fruit and raw vegetables all help you to keep your body well, and enhance your resilience."
Build In Planning Time
"Time to plan and prepare will leave you feeling calm from the start."