Here are some common tactics used for coping with stress. Keep track of behavior that is characteristic for you in how you respond to stressful situations,

1. I ignore my own needs and just work harder and faster.
2. I seek out friends for conversation and support.
3. I eat more than usual.
4. I engage in some type of physical exercise.
5. I get irritable and take it out on those around me.
6. I take a little time to relax, breathe, and unwind.
7. I smoke a cigarette or drink a caffeinated beverage.
8. I confront my source of stress and work to change it.
9. I withdraw emotionally and just go through the motions of my day.
10. I change my outlook on the problem and put it in a better perspective.
11. I sleep more than I really need to.
12. I take some time off and get away from my working life (and/or other stressor).
13. I go shopping and buy something to make myself feel good.
14. I joke with my friends and use humor to take the edge off.
15. I drink more alcohol than usual.
16. I get involved in a hobby or interest that helps me unwind and enjoy myself.
17. I take medicine to help me relax or sleep better.
18. I maintain a healthy diet.
19. I just ignore the problem and hope it will go away.
20. I pray, meditate, or enhance my spiritual life.
21. I worry about the problem and am afraid to do something about it.
22. I try to focus on the things I can control and accept the things I can’t.

Scoring:
The even numbered items tend to be more constructive tactics and the odd numbered items tend to be less constructive tactics for coping with stress.
(Taken from “The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook 6th edition, Martha Davis, PhD, Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman, MSW, Matthew McKay, PhD)

Here are some other great tips for effectively managing stress:

Mindfulness exercises, like deep breathing, focusing on the moment, and the sounds you hear around you, are a good starting point. The reactions in your physical body and noticing what is going on in your body while taking inventory of which parts of your body feel stressed, and doing a visualization exercise where you are calming those tense areas of your body are helpful tools as well.

Take a few moments now and just breathe in and out deeply, count to five in, and exhale. Do this a few times and see where you feel some tension. Allow yourself to relax for a few moments as you drink in the moment. We cannot control the past, or the future, all we have is now. A worried, stressed out you is going to be less productive by stressing and worrying.

Take the few minutes to center yourself and feel the moment. Pay attention to the sounds around you, take them in. Breathe in fresh, clean air, breathe out the stress. You may think of a word that calms you to say while breathing in, like, peace, or calm, or God. Like we discussed in a previous blog on stress, the fight and flight response is triggered by our stress. The rest and digest response is triggered by our intentional effort to take deep breaths to calm ourselves down.

Another technique you may find helpful is to pray and meditate. Think good thoughts. Think about some things you are grateful for, to deliberately get your mind off the all or nothing belief that you will never get the project done on time, or will never resolve that conflict with your co-worker or friend.

Take a break. Get out of the office. Go for a walk and unwind for a few minutes.

Schedule vacations!!!!

Exercise as often as you can! It can be really great to help you unwind and release endorphins to help you feel better! And it’s good for you!

Don’t forget to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. All of these things help our brains adapt to the stressor with more energy and clarity. If you are not getting enough sleep, you are likely grumpy anyway, or less productive, which can catapult your stress level through the roof!

Don’t procrastinate! Get organized, and complete tasks in an ordered and timely manner. What is the most pressing, urgent items that need to be taken care of first? Prioritize, and delegate when you can! Ask for additional help if you feel you need it!

If it’s a situation you need to confront that is causing you great stress, learn some assertiveness skills or effective confrontation skills! Ask me for more info and resources I can recommend if this applies to you! I also offer a Personal Development Life Coaching Program that deals with setting healthy boundaries, facing conflict, assertiveness and motivation in a six month program if you feel you need additional support in your endeavors! Stay tuned also for my Free Stress Management Webinar  on the 3rd Tuesday of every Month if you need some extra tools to get you on the right track.

These are some great skills to get you started! Don’t let stress master you! Live your best life! Stress does not need to dictate the circumstances of how well you enjoy your life!

One final piece of advice: Get your priorities straight! Don’t let work be your slave master…. Remember when you are at the end of your life, you cannot take wealth with you. Your successes stay behind, but the moments you treasured, the love you showed, the compassion, the strength, the support you gave, your character will remain with your loved ones long after you are gone!

Love is life. Without love, we are nothing! Is it time to recall, rate and determine the order of importance of people and things in your life to get back on track so that you are living for the right reasons, and not allowing circumstances to dictate your level of joy in life?

Our bodies are not meant to maintain a sustained and constant level of stress. Find your map to overcome the roadblocks of stress that are getting in the way of living your life more abundantly!
Rest your way to de-stress! Eat your way to a healthier life! Exercise to release the stress, pray, take breaks… What works for you? Find it and get started to living life with less stress!

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