It is not uncommon for most people to feel stress at some time or another.
What we are referring to is that feeling of being overwhelmed by our work or life situation or that feeling of being tense and wound up and perhaps overreacting to what are normal situations.
Too much stress over a prolonged period can be harmful and often impedes our ability to get on with what we have to do.
Recognising the signs of Stress
Being able to recognise the build-up of stress and identifying early warning signs is a great start to changing the triggers and managing stress. Of course, this is very individual and as such the warning signs vary from one person to the next. Not listening to our body often results in more serious health issues.
- Tensing your jaw
- Feeling irritable
- Not sleeping soundly
- Feeling restless
- Tightness in the chest
- A racing heartbeat
- Not being efficient in managing tasks
- Too many thoughts racing through your head
- Upset stomach and digestive problems
- Heart and high blood pressure issues
Being able to recognise “what stresses” you goes a long way to managing your sense of being overwhelmed and not being able to cope
- Deadlines and work issues
- Certain people (toxic relationships at work, friends)
- Too many late nights, not enough sleep
- Difficult family situations (children, ageing parents, relationship issues)
- Unhealthy lifestyle (not eating well, not exercising)
- No personal time/down time
How to manage normal stress in your life
There are some simple and effective techniques that can alleviate some of this stress if tackled early enough but as with all change it requires a commitment to tweak our lifestyle, to make an effort and if necessary, get professional help.
- Identify warning signs
- Identify triggers and prepare yourself, be aware of people pushing your buttons before they push them, get enough sleep and exercise
- Routines can instil a sense of control and order in your life, especially when everything else is going crazy
- Spend time with people who are important to you, who care about you and who are uplifting rather than those who are negative and demanding
- Don’t bottle up your feelings – find a network of support and share your thoughts and concerns. The adage “a problem shared (with the right person) is a problem halved” goes a long way to seeing perspective
- Look after your health – this means watch what you eat and reduce your alcohol intake ( a glass shared with a supportive friend is not excessive!), take time to walk and exercise, listen to uplifting music and enjoy the good, quiet moments
- Positive self-talk. Remind yourself of what you can do not what you can’t do. Concentrate on your strengths and tell yourself so!
- Practise relaxation. Learn some “mindfulness” techniques. Simple breathing strategies before starting a meeting. Breathe in and out before replying to people who are “triggers”, stop and sip your tea as opposed to gulping a mouthful (see https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/ for some great ways to start)
- Practise some feel good activities – gardening, reading and sharing time with supportive people
Finally, remember that at times we all need to reach out to professionals who can offer more directed strategies to manage your stress level, your lifestyle and your perspective on the stressors of life.
We can help
Revive Health and Happiness have a team of Clinical and Registered Psychologists who are all well experienced in dealing with stress and anxiety and have a variety of strategies to help and support you through these often challenging times. If you would like to speak to us about your situation and how we might help, please contact us using the details here.