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Article by Diane Shawe M.Ed.
Take 5 minutes a day to keep your stress level down
Everything seems much faster, urgent and possibly unfulfilling! Just after Christmas and heading into the New Year it can often be a stressful time for lots of people for lots of reasons.
Stress is created by worrying about things in the future or things that have already happened, both of which you cannot change at the very moment you are worrying about it.
Before you read any further do this little test. ‘At this very very moment whist you are reading this is there a problem affecting you reading this article at this moment in time that is stopping you from reading it? If your answer is ‘no’ then this is because you are living in the ‘NOW’
Living too much into the future or reliving the past are both causes of fear and pain. You would probably find yourself concerned with some of the following thoughts…
- How can I stop the pain?
- How can I switch your mind off,
- How can I stop worrying?
- How can I relax?
- How can I be happy?
Well I invite you to explore two words ‘acceptance’ and ‘surrender’ a good place to start.
Become fully present is very empowering and helps you live in the higher order of thinking.
If only our lives was like typing when we can simply undo, delete or Hyperlink to a quick useful reference but alas, lots of things are unavoidable in life. Never before has it become more important to find ways to decrease and prevent stressful incidents and decrease negative reactions to stress, especially as they can lead to short or long term illnesses.
Here are some of the things that can be done instantly by just remembering to be conscious of them.
Time management skills can allow you more time with your family and friends and possibly increase your performance and productivity. This will help reduce your stress.
To improve your stress management:
- Save time by focusing and concentrating, delegating, and scheduling time for yourself.
- Keep a record of how you spend your time, including work, family, and leisure time.
- Prioritise your time by rating tasks by importance and urgency.
- Redirect your time to those activities that are important and meaningful to you.
- Manage your commitments by not over- or under committing. Don’t commit to what is not important to you.
- Deal with procrastination by using a day planner, breaking large projects into smaller ones, and setting short-term deadlines.
- Examine your beliefs to reduce conflict between what you believe and what your life is like.
- Build healthy coping strategies
It is important that you identify your coping strategies. One way to do this is by recording the stressful event, your reaction, and how you cope in a stress journal. With this information, you can work to change unhealthy coping strategies into healthy ones-those that help you focus on the positive and what you can change or control in your life.
Some behaviors and lifestyle choices affect your stress level. They may not cause stress directly, but they can interfere with the ways your body seeks relief from stress. Try to:
- Balance personal, work, and family needs and obligations.
- Have a sense of purpose in life.
- Get enough sleep, since your body recovers from the stresses of the day while you are sleeping.
- Eat a balanced diet for a nutritional defense against stress.
- Get moderate exercise throughout the week.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol.
- Don’t smoke.
Social support is a major factor in how we experience stress. Social support is the positive support you receive from family, friends, and the community. It is the knowledge that you are cared for, loved, esteemed, and valued. More and more research indicates a strong relationship between social support and better mental and physical health.
Changing your thinking pattern
When an event triggers negative thoughts, you may experience fear, insecurity, anxiety, depression, rage, guilt, and a sense of worthlessness or powerlessness. These emotions trigger the body’s stress, just as an actual threat does. Dealing with your negative thoughts and how you see things can help reduce stress.
- Thought-catching helps you stop a negative thought to help eliminate stress.
- Disproving irrational thoughts helps you to avoid exaggerating the negative thought, anticipating the worst, and interpreting an event incorrectly.
- Problem solving helps you identify all aspects of a stressful event and find ways to deal with it.
- Changing your communication style helps you communicate in a way that makes your views known without making others feel put down, hostile, or intimidated. This reduces the stress that comes from poor communication. Use the assertiveness ladder to improve your communication style.
Why Continued Personal Development is important
Lifelong learning it’s important to your continued growth and smiley to core with lives every changing environment, circumstances and economical. Everyday life can often present challenges and like any thing in life if you don’t equip yourself with the right tools trying to fix the problem with the wrong tools can itself be the greater source of frustration.