Stress Busting Tips and Techniques
By Richard Ryland*
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In this article written for Age Well we tackle Stress Management.
Stress is a highly disagreeable sensation carrying with it acute anxiety, a feeling of doom, faster breathing, faster pulse and perhaps a lack of sleep. Usually we experience short term memory problems. The anxiety causes the physical problems so we need to relax and adapt to the stress. The short term memory problems are caused by anxiety and/or system overload. By system overload we mean you are trying to remember too many things too quickly and all your internal filing systems (short term memory) are full (and perhaps overflowing).
The steps that we take to reduce stress means adapting to the stress and dealing with stress management differently. Accept the things you cannot change and change the things you can. Do not be a perfectionist. Lower your standards and take a more relaxed attitude to stressors. This includes people who irritate you. If people irritate you, avoid them if at all possible, or limit your time with them. Many people feel anxious because their life seems out of control. Take control and manage your time pressures effectively. Balance time spent on pressures and relaxation.
Make a To Do List
Reduce your short term memory problems by making lists of things to do, cross them off as you achieve and enjoy that feeling of satisfaction. Let’s look at that list frequently if we can and if we have limited time, prioritise, the “must do” rise to the top of the list and the “should do” move to the bottom of the list and may be eliminated. The list must also include timeframes. We do urgent things first and those things which can wait, will wait. Suddenly we are in control of our life and managing time and pressures more effectively.
Sometime we need a time for reflection, to chew over a knotty problem which makes us feel anxious. Manage your time again, think about these sorts of problems when you can burn off some of that adrenaline, say when swimming or power walking or on a treadmill.
But do not procrastinate on issues which have an urgent time frame and must be done, adopt the DIN policy (Do It Now).
Remember managing your time means saying no to requests for your time which are optional or cause you anxiety. Reduce anxiety over appointments by suggesting a time frame rather than a specific time. Dentists, doctors, lawyers have set times and time and tide wait for no man but friends and relatives can be told, I will see you around 6 p.m. or between 6 and 7 p.m. which takes the pressure off being there at a specific time.
Be Assertive - Not Aggressive
Express your feelings but do this in an assertive (not aggressive way). So you deal with a phone call just as you are going out, on time, to make a specific appointment. Be upfront. “Hi, can you call back I am late for an appointment”. You are taking control and dealing with time pressures.
Without a doubt, regular exercise helps deal with stress and helps us sleep. Always try and change your attitude to yourself, think bad about yourself and you will feel bad, think good about yourself and you will feel good about yourself.
Let it Go!!!!
Do not carry around grudges. Deal with a perceived act of unfairness by expressing your feelings in an assertive way, then move on. “Considering all that I have done for you, I did not deserve that”. Dwelling on injustice and even sin is not helpful. Life is not fair, change the things you can, accept the things you cannot.
Healthy Living Helps
Smoking, drugs and alcohol may be perceived as stress management but only give temporary relief and are best avoided.
Focus attention on a good healthy diet and making sure you do something you enjoy every day. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
A Little of What You Fancy
Finally, everyone is different, it is variety which makes the world more colourful but here are some activities which help reduce stress and aid relaxation.
- When feeling stressed go for a walk, think about dealing with the stressor or accepting and adapting.
- Spend time enjoying nature, often people find water relaxing, rivers, lakes and seashores.
- Spend time with or call a good friend, perhaps chew over a problem.
- Think of problems as challenges, think of misfortunes as character building.
- When stressed take some strenuous exercise.
- Regularly review your “to do list”.
- Savour the good things in your life.
- Do what takes your fancy, play with a pet, do some gardening, or shopping.
- Watch a good film or take time to read a good book.
- Listen to music; music is food for the soul.
Get Enough Sleep
If you find problems getting off to sleep because of thoughts of things you must do, keep a notebook and pen by your bed, mind clear, write down on the pad the tasks for tomorrow or the future.
Go to bed at roughly the same time every night and get up about the same time in the mornings. Regular sleep is important.
Keep Your Sense of Humour
Watch a comedy, laughing is great for stress, try to keep a sense of humour.
Think good of yourself and you will feel good.
age-well.org > stress > stress management
*Richard K Ryland is a former Registered Mental Nurse, General Nurse and Nurse Teacher from the United Kingdom. Richard also holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master of Science in Nursing.
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