Stress is one of the biggest contributors to health issues these days, but there are ways to stop stress from hijacking your life completely.On a scale from 1-10, how stressful is your life at...
Stress is one of the biggest contributors to health issues these days, but there are ways to stop stress from hijacking your life completely.
On a scale from 1-10, how stressful is your life at present? Write down the number. Why did you choose that number? Write down the specifics of why you chose this number. We all face circumstances beyond our control, and that’s part of life, isn’t it?
You may take things in our stride quite easily, but you’re not alone if things seem to be overwhelming you from time to time. And if life’s stresses are ongoing, they will impact your health and quality of life if they aren’t managed. It is essential for every one of us to learn some coping strategies to prevent stresses from hijacking our quality of life.
Where does stress come from? Sure, we all face challenging circumstances. However, stress doesn’t live in the situation itself, it is in fact our thoughts about it that cause the internal ‘stress’ we experience. We don’t realize the impact our thoughts have on our bodies, but in fact, the stressful thoughts we have cause stress hormones to be released immediately. And when these hormones continue to circulate over a long period of time, they cause health issues to occur.
One of the most valuable aspects of stress control is to release these stress hormones. This can only occur with physical movement. These hormones are designed to help you fight an attacker, or flee from a dangerous situation. As most modern stresses are mental or emotional in nature, we often don’t get the physical release that’s required to return to balance. Incorporate physical activity in your daily or weekly routine. You will find yourself feeling better almost immediately.
Stress clouds our perspective. We become unable to experience any of the good things going on. We may eat our favourite meal and not enjoy it. We may spend time with friends, but still feel empty. It’s as-if we develop tunnel vision to notice only the stresses and troubles we are facing. This happens because stress triggers an internal alarm. We are on high alert for any impending dangers. One way to bypass this is to manually shift our focus towards the good things happening around us.
Take five minutes out, and write down what went well during the day. It can be anything small, from making a good meal, to getting a task done on time. Please note that documenting this is very important. Keep a notepad handy, or use your phone. Keep it where you can view it regularly. With practice, your mind’s internal alarm will begin to quiet down. You will begin to see how many good things are actually happening. Keeping an eye on positive experiences is essential for managing our wellbeing. We all have good things going on; it just takes a little effort to notice them.
Another strange aspect about stress is that our focus often goes towards finding someone to blame. We become obsessed with not having help, or other people being dishonest or unethical and so on. This type of thinking shifts our focus to the other person, and we lose accountability for our part. Remember, we can never control what another person does, so the more we focus on that, the more stressed we will tend to get. Start shifting your focus on what you can do – and you can find the solution to any challenge.
Reflect on the big challenges you are facing right now. Take a piece of paper, and divide it into two columns. Write down “aspects in my control” and “aspects not in my control” respectively. Take one situation at a time, and reflect on what is in your control and what isn’t. You will begin to notice that there are things you can do. Once you have a list, focus on one action and implement that. Having a way forward does a great deal to put us in a positive place.
We all have stresses pulling us down; that’s unavoidable. However, I do hope that these strategies will support you in managing stress more effectively in order to maintain a more fulfilling quality of life.
The writer is a professional certified life coach, NLP Master, and author.