Issues with stress can be experienced by any of us at any age. Children may experience stressful peer pressure, worry about their exams, their body image, popularity. Adults often have work, family or relationship worries to contend with. Older people may stress about health, finances, their quality of life. Each age brings its own stresses and concerns.
Let's look at five effective tips to help you manage stress:
- Acknowledge that at times, stress can be an effective motivator; it helps you perform at a higher level, get more done each day, tap into unexpected resources and think outside the box. But a constant stressful state can cause issues with health, affect your quality of life and impact on your happiness and contentment.
There are recognised as being over 350 physical symptoms of stress, from problems with sleeping, irritability, lack of libido, headaches through to palpitations, gut-related problems and heightened sensitivity to pain. Sometimes it can be helpful to engage professional support as an effective way to identify and manage the different kinds of stress - the 'bad' stress that can become a draining, habitual pattern and response to situations or the 'good' stress that can help us to 'up' our game whenever we need to.
- Many people find that listing their worries or stresses helps them to manage their lives better as they itemise the things that are preying on their mind. Sometimes spending thirty minutes on a Sunday can be a useful way to focus on the week ahead and clarify key tasks. You can add to the list as required, prioritise items, make notes, and cross out tasks once completed.
It can be good practice to list individual worries and stresses, move them from inside your head to outside where they can be dealt with systematically and effectively, one at a time. Congratulate yourself each day at what you've accomplished and relax knowing that any outstanding items won't be forgotten, just simply carried through to the following day.
- Delegate. At home let others help even if the result is not to your personal standards. Giving positive feedback and encouragement helps others to feel included in your team, more responsible, happy to volunteer and receptive to new skills. Some people struggle to delegate; they may feel guilt at not doing everything themselves, be concerned at the prospect of losing control, like the idea of being indispensable.
Become aware if you recognise yourself behaving in this way. Why do you feel the need to manage everything yourself? Identify what this is about and commit to letting that behaviour go. At work delegating to staff encourages them to grow in confidence as they become more adept in their tasks.
Your trust in them may even encourage them to offer suggestions or come up with new ideas that ultimately improve the business. You may find that you're able to let go of the more mundane tasks, are able to focus on taking your business to the next level or can enjoy a little free time for yourself.
- Managing stress includes improving your personal relationships and allowing them to become an important part of your support network. Take time to establish regular open and honest communications. Share conversations about your thoughts, feelings, experiences rather than simply exchanging impersonal instructions and factual updates.
Why not prepare your evening meal and as it cooks enjoy going for an early evening walk or play a game together as a family? By doing this you provide a regular space to de-stress, improve your relationships and have relaxing times together where you chat and maybe even engage in a little exercise.
- Have quality personal time. It can be all too easy to put ourselves last on our list, but committing to regular time for yourself to go to the gym, spend in your garden or enjoy an important hobby or interest makes all the difference to your stress levels, your mindset and your quality of life.
Treating yourself well is important; taking time to eat healthily, sleep properly, exercise and wind down in an evening all help you to look after yourself well and manage stress. Professional help, like hypnotherapy can help you to feel more confident about saying what you need in a respectful, effective way. Adopting a positive approach often improves the dynamics of all your relationships.
Having time for yourself, whether to spend alone or with others, is important in demonstrating that you and your personal interests are important. Personal time is another valid and effective way to help you manage stress.