The most dangerous aspect of stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You think that you got used to it. It may start to feel familiar, or even normal. You may not notice how much it is affecting you, even as it exacts a heavy toll.
If you often feel frazzled and overwhelmed, it is time to take action to bring your emotional and physical health back on track.
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. However, it may not be obvious where your true sources of stress lie, and all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.
Common external sources of stress
There are many effective ways to manage and cope with stress, but all require change. You can either change the situation or change how you react to it. When deciding which option to choose, it is helpful to think of the four As: Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept.
Not all stress can be avoided. Certain situations must be addressed, or it could impact your health and quality of life.
But you may be surprised that there are quite a lot of stressors in your life that you can eliminate:
If you are unable to avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life:
If you are unable to change the stressor, try changing an aspect of yourself. Adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude:
There are events in life that you cannot change or prevent, such as the loss of a loved one or an economic recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are.
Acceptance may be difficult at first. But in the long run, it is easier than railing at a situation that you cannot change:
Make time for fun and relaxation
You will be able to handle life’s stressors better as they come.
Take charge of your life
Be it your thoughts, emotions, schedule, environment, or the way you deal with problems, the key is to be the one in charge.
Find balance in work, leisure and relationships
This will provide you the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on.