LIFE AND STRESS
Life these days, all over the world, appears to be in turmoil with changes going on – not always for the better. It seems to be like we are in transition and this can cause stress for us all – well I know for me anyway!! So how do you cope with the stress in your life?
I am sure that like most of us, you find that it is okay in the short-term and usually occurs when you are stepping out of your comfort zone. It can even be beneficial in that you are able to applaud yourself afterwards for how that you coped with ……….. whatever it was.
What is stress?
First things first, quite simply, stress is a response by the body and mind to the pressure that can’t be managed. It is a psychological and physiological/behavioural reaction that you suffer when you see a lack of balance between the demands placed upon you and your ability to meet these demands. This can bring on the flight or fear reaction.
Juggling the balls
Most of us, don’t usually notice the overall effects on our body, mind and feelings as they are not so obvious one at a time. Yet, if you stopped and identified all the stressors you are carrying and saw them as balls, how long can you cope with the strain of juggling them as more and more come in? No wonder you can get depleted and are running on empty! I suggest you stop and imagine the foregoing right now and see the effect on you personally – never mind those around you!! I imagine you are going to be surprised at what you‘re juggling.
Put stressors into perspective
You can also put things into perspective at times by constructive self-talk –
I am able to deal with the stressors
I can ask for help and support
I have coped in the past
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
And so on
These will help to dispute your cognitive distortions, eg. ‘I’ve not finished my tasks indoors or at work so I must be a useless person. Most of us find that we’ve added to our stress by blowing things up out of proportion. I am sure you will know what I am referring to here!!
Something else that can happen is when you have the feeling of wanting to deal with your stress, this determination can disappear when something else happens so you simply decide not to do anything about it at all!! It can be much easier to fret away, or tell all and sundry about the pressure you are under, can’t it? You can be the centre of attention and your drama queen can come out!
I don’t have the ultimate solution, although here are some of my suggestions (love to hear your ones too) that have enabled me to cope at times too –
Take a breather by putting music on, singing, dancing, closing your eyes and breathe into yourself or get yourself outside in the fresh air
Simply say out loud ‘stop’, take a deep breath and relax
Having a good cry or rant can take the pressure off enough to allow you to see the bigger picture
Write down what you see are all your stressors – people, events, work, situations, family……
Step back and see the reality of them as you may be ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’
Practically see what you can cope with or resolve
Find out where you can get help for what’s left
The bottom line in stress management is about Choice –knowing and seeing you actually have a choice. It’s also prevention. When you are so overwhelmed, you can forget about having a choice – even if it is to stay in bed and curl up under the duvet!!
And sometimes you can get so lost in overwhelm that you forget what you do have and how lucky you are.
Breathe deeply into yourself and go well.