Monday, December 16, 2013

Keeping Balance: 3 Ways to Manage Your Stress Levels


Stress is a part of life in the 21st century, so learning how to deal with it is vital. The bills are going to keep arriving in the mail box, juggling your family and your job will continue to be a challenge, and there will never be enough hours in the day. So, how do you manage to get on top of stress and find balance?

The first thing you need to understand is that you are in the driver’s seat; you are in control of your own life. How you manage your thoughts, your schedule and your problems, is your choice. This realisation can be very empowering but also daunting. If you have no idea where to even begin managing your life it would be a great idea to talk to the stress specialists at and learn some effective stress management techniques. Stress is a killer, so learning how to deal with it is a matter of life and death. It’s that important!

What’s Stressing You Out?

You need to identify the sources of stress in your life. This might sound obvious, but it is often more difficult than you think. For instance, you may feel stressed about project deadlines, but is procrastination really the issue? Look at your habits, your attitudes and the excuses you make.
If you feel time-stressed, and most of us do, try putting regular break times into your schedule. If you consistently have millions of things to do consistently, it is likely that you never stop running. Take a break; the million things that need doing will still be there!

Start a stress journal to help you identify when you are stressed and what the main stressors are in your life.


Avoid Stress Where You Can

Now you understand what stresses you out it’s important to start minimising your exposure to those stressors. Of course some things, like bills and deadlines, are unavoidable, but there are many stressors that we can actively minimise and even eliminate from life. Learning how to say ‘no’ will really help. Don’t take on more than you can handle. Simply, say NO. Avoid people that stress you out or at least spend less time with them. Avoid places or situations that create stress for you. If you don’t like the traffic, take a train. If you hate grocery shopping, enlist someone else to do it or shop online. Take a good hard look at your to-do list. If it is appallingly long, then you need to work out what you can cut out. Delegate tasks, drop of jobs that aren’t essential. And avoid the word ‘should’. It is your enemy.

Make Changes

There are stressors in life that you can’t avoid, things you simply cannot change. Alter how you deal with these. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up; compromise your high standards; become more assertive; reframe your problems, try to see them in a different light and focus on the positives.

Keryn Hannah is a trained psychologist with years of experience in treating stress related issues. She is sharing her knowledge.


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