Your 7 Step Program to Stress Management

Stress comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Frustration, anger, anxiety, grief, general stress … it all adds up and can really take its toll on you if you don’t learn how to manage it effectively.

There are many, many methods to handling stress – a quick search online will provide you with thousands of entries on how to do it. The overabundance of information is something else, by the way, that can lead to stress. Here’s a quick seven step process to help you manage your everyday stress.

1. Stress is good.

Stress is actually very natural. It’s your body’s natural instinct to keep you from harm. Think of stress as your body’s way of giving you a burst of energy to enhance your performance at exactly the right time. Many moons ago, this type of response was a very necessary part of our ancestors daily life – being face to face with a bear for instance would be a great time to have that burst show up. Now mind you, those thousands of entries on Google aren’t going to reach out and suck you into your computer.

2. Avoid “Stress Sneezers”

When people come down with a cold, they start sneezing up a storm causing everyone around them to catch the virus and come down with the same infection. “Stress Sneezers” are the same thing. These stressed out people sneeze their virus everywhere they go and before you know it, you’ve caught the stress bug. Keeping yourself in good company, will help you to deal only with the necessary stresses in your life: YOURS!

3. Monkey See, Monkey Do

When you are dealing with a stressful situation that involves others, take a look around and see who seems to be the calmest. What is that person doing differently than you? Look for things like their attitude, the language they use, etc. Try to mimic and learn from others who handle stress well.

4. Square Breathing

Square breathing is a simple technique that can be done anywhere, anytime, by anyone. Breathe in slowly for 3 seconds; hold for 3 seconds; breathe out for 3 seconds; hold for 3 seconds.

5. Give stress the red light

Negative self talk is another way that you can really tie yourself in a knot. Worrying about what could happen doesn’t help the current situation at all. Dale Carnegie often talks about the law of averages which tells us that most of what you are worrying about will never happen. Don’t believe me? Try this test. Write down 5, 10, or however many things you are currently worried about at the moment. Put the piece of paper in your drawer. Come back in a week and highlight anything that has actually come true. Do the same thing every week for a month. How many things actually came true? Now think about all the energy and stress that was exerted for you to worry and concern yourself with those items.

6. What’s your trigger?

What causes you to go weak in the knees? It could be anything from public speaking, to tight deadlines, to your mother-in-law. Make a list of your trigger points – and be specific! Anything you can teach yourself about what causes you to go into stress meltdown will help you to avoid those types of situations and/or learn how to manipulate the situation so that you can learn to deal with the stress. Consider this. If you know that tight deadlines are one of your stress triggers, there are things you can do to try to avoid the situation. For example, if you tend to procrastinate, there are steps you can take to ensure you are getting things done in a timely manner. If you have too much on your plate, you could hire a virtual assistant.

7. Burn the candle at one end
Lack of sleep, poor diet and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it’s often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother and don’t burn the candle at both ends!

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