How do I manage stress?

Some background, some drama

Life can be stressful; sometimes you'll have to deal with ongoing stress positively. Stress can have a variety of causes such as family problems, job problems, financial difficulties, poor health or even the death of someone close to you. Stress is a part and parcel of life. But how we deal with it determines the quality of our lives. Also it’s important not to battle stress alone. Ask for help from a friend and if necessary, a professional.

Do’s and Don’ts

It is important to recognize the causes (some stress is natural), take steps to deal with the root of the problem and tackle the symptoms. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide and help you to manage stress.

Do’s

  • Try setting up a relaxed and stress free environment for yourself where you are comfortable.
  • Try listening to a favorite song or watch a movie that would calm you down. Try to preoccupy yourself.
  • Think about all the things that are making you stressed and try seeing them in a better light or solve them.
  • If your stress is a result of too many things to do try organizing things and a schedule. Taking control of your time and priorities will significantly decrease stress.
  • Carve out time during your busy day to exercise regularly to keep your body healthy and as a natural outlet for your stress.
  • Eat properly as your body needs to be healthy, strong, happy and properly fuelled to help you tackle stress.
  • Relaxing your body is a great way to reduce stress. Let your body tell your mind that everything is okay.
  • Practice yoga and meditation to clear your mind and ease stress.
  • Do things you love. Set aside time on a daily basis to do things you enjoy.
  • Identify the things that put you under stress and try to avoid these circumstances.
  • Take responsibility for making your life what you want it to be. Decide what you want and go for it!
  • Learn to lean on friends and loved ones. Keeping things bottled up can only cause more stress.

Dont’s

  • Don’t encourage negative thinking. Acknowledge the positive in your life and balance in your emotional register.
  • Don’t focus on only the bad things that happened during your day, but consider the good as well.
  • Don’t forget to count your blessings. Acknowledge that not everyone has these things.
  • Don't admit defeat before you've been defeated. Visualise success and work towards it.
  • Don’t procrastinate; it feeds stress!
  • Don’t worry about the things you cannot change.
  • Don't get down on yourself for failing if you tried your hardest. Hold yourself accountable, but don't make being accountable impossible.
  • Don't put yourself down or lash your self-esteem. Learn to laugh at yourself.
  • Do not deny your emotions or repress them as this will only add to the stress.
  • Don’t be afraid to cry as this can relieve anxiety and let out bottled-up emotions which can help you cope.

Last words

Learning how to deal with stress positively takes time. There are many negative ways to deal with stress, such as use drugs or alcohol or breaking things, but these have serious consequences, such as health problems, addictions and legal problems.

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