Stressed out? However tempting it may be to hide underneath a rock, the best way to beat stress for good is to tackle it head on.
“Stress has many definitions,” says clinical hypnotherapist and Get The Gloss Expert Terrence The Teacher . “For me, it is an individual’s mental and physical response to a given situation. No two people respond in the same way. We all have situations in our lives that can put strain on us (called stressors), but it is how we respond to them that causes the actual stress.
“Tackling (managing) stress is about taking charge and getting back in control - taking charge of ourselves, our thoughts, controlling our impulses, our fears and learning to manage even our environment. REMEMBER - how you respond to a stressful situation is a choice. You have heard the saying mind over matter, now it is mind over responses.”
So what can you do to boost your anti-anxiety artilleries and ensure stress doesn’t stop you in your tracks? “The first step to tackling stress head on would be to identify the sources of stress in your life. Make sure you own up to your stress. Accept your responsibility for the role you play in maintaining your stress. It is time to take back the control over your behavioural response to stress.”
Here, here. #StartBetter this year with Terrence’s 5 steps for dealing with stress.
Step/Strategy 1: Adopting a healthy lifestyle
By strengthening your physical health, you increase your natural resistance to stress and the strain it places on you physically plus mentally. Exercise is known to help the body relax and get rid of stress. Choose an activity that you enjoy and literally work out the stress.
Add to that great nutritional choices. We are what we eat. Well-nourished bodies are better prepared to deal with stress. There are even foods that aid relaxation.
The last point would be to get enough rest and sleep. We all know what happens if we have a bad night’s sleep behind us.
Step/Strategy 2: Avoid unnecessary stress
Not all stress can be avoided, but you will be surprised how many of the stressors in your life you could eliminate.
- Avoid people who stress you, (in the nicest way possible of course!) Even by just reducing the time you spend with them is a step to a more calm you.
- Learn how to say "no." Know your limits and stick to them. It is a way to show respect for yourself and your wellbeing.
- Change your environment. Small things like replacing bright lighting in your office or home with softer, energy saving lights. Cut background noise, does the TV have to be on during dinner? The less stimulating input you get from your environment, the more calm you will be.
Step/Strategy 3: Adapting your mental response to stress in your life
Reframe things that seem to stress you. Here is a good example: being stuck in a terrible traffic jam can become an opportunity to reflect on your day, regroup, maybe listen to some calming music or even just to enjoy the alone time.
Always try to look at the big picture - take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important the problem will seem in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting all stressed over? Most of the time, the answer will be no. It’s therefore a good time then to let the feelings go.
This is where optimism comes in handy. An optimistic outlook can be an asset. Rather look for the opportunity in any situation that stresses you, therefore helping to create a better outcome. Always allow for recognising your own strengths and good qualities. It aids towards being able to cope in a calmer manner.
Step/Strategy 4: Accept the things you can't change
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can,” (The Serenity Prayer, by Reinhold Niebuhr).
Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can't prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness or perhaps the end of a long term relationship. This is where acceptance plays a big role. Experience the emotions you need to feel, cry, scream, whatever way you deal with things. Letting go is really good for you and releasing the stress that could have built up in your body and mind.
Life is full of challenges for all of us, but in the end we as individuals decide how we deal with those challenges.
Step/Strategy 5: Understanding the good stress
This is what I call the quick or short-term stress responses. An example of this is the role of the SNS or sympathetic nervous system. It governs the “fight and flight response.” It jumps into action in situations of danger to our lives - attacks by animals, a fire breaking out. Adrenaline and cortisol get the blood plus oxygen pumping to your limbs so you can react faster and get away from the danger.
Short-term stress also helps you to perform at your best, take on challenges and meet deadlines etc.
The key is to use the good stress, let it burn out and then get back in control. Managing your stress levels could literally change your life. You choose!
This article has been written in partnership with Clinique .