If I was to say to you that managing stress is about you taking control of your life, would you agree, or would you say you can’t do anything about it – that stress can happen to any of us, like catching the flu?
We can all manage stress, we just have to identify where it comes from, what has caused it and why it’s affecting us in the way it does, and then look at how we can best manage it.
Stress has many guises and is different for us all, it affects all of us in different ways and so doesn’t it figure that managing stress needs to be different for us too? One size doesn’t fit all!
Let’s start by identifying typical sources of stress in our lives. We know that chronic stress can be caused by big changes in our lives, e.g. changing jobs, moving house, a divorce. Everyday stresses can be much harder to pinpoint and can be a multitude of things that eventually tip the balance.
Until we accept responsibility for the role we play in creating, managing or removing stress, we will always feel that stress management is outside of our control.
Here are some practical ways to identify and manage stress:
- Consider keeping a daily journal – writing down the good and bad things that happen each day – this will help you begin to see trends or patterns in your behaviour including trigger points i.e. what causes your feeling of stress or anxiety
- Include in the journal how you are feeling, mentally, emotionally and physically – this will help you see more clearly how and where it is affecting you and your wellbeing
- Write down how you react to the different things that happen each day – consider if this is normal or different, is it more severe and if so why do you think this is?
- Lastly add in the journal something you are going to give yourself by way of a reward to make you feel better – it’s good to finish the day on a positive note