THE TOP 12 STRESS BEATING STRATEGIES
You may know that you are stressed or do not even know that you are stressed. Managing stress effectively requires a holistic approach that is looking at the whole picture that includes, good nutrition, regular exercise (just taking a walk for 30-40 minutes everyday) and hydration (drinking x amount of water every day) to maintain good health.
What is stress?
The Healthy and Safety Executive (www.hse.gov.uk) defines stress as:
“THE ADVERSE REACTION PEOPLE HAVE TO EXCESSIVE PRESSURE OR OTHER TYPES OF DEMANDS PLACED ON THEM.”
Whether this is true or not, to you, you will find that in the statement above it has some truths to it whether you believe it or not. Although certain levels of pressure is required and healthy, when levels become too high, and you cannot cope or you do not have the resources to cope on any level, then your health and efficiency are affected, physically, emotionally and chemically. Operating outside your comfort zone you can cause suffering and stresses because that’s when you’re likely to be beyond your known range of capabilities or experiences.
The answer to managing stress, therefore, seems obvious doesn’t it?
- Reduce personal demands
- Avoid change
- Encourage people to work less
- Stay in the comfort zone
- Allow flexible working hours
- Make more resources available
Now, you get the idea of what stress can do to you, but how do we respond?
Basically we respond physically, emotionally and chemically to stress in a way that it has a major impact on our quality of life, ability to perform at work and our emotional state of well-being.
The immediate response is innate. Our ancestors relied on it to protect themselves, and it can be seen in nature, too. When we are confronted with danger or dangerous situations, the two options are face the challenge or run away. This is called, ‘fight or flight response’, and it’s one we all experience sometime in our lives or regularly. It cannot always be a bad experience as it will prepare us for challenging new situations.
Stress is not a weakness nor is it strength. It is unique to each individual. Some people cope with more and some with less. It’s essential to accept that we are all different and not to judge others on their levels of stress coping magnetism and based on your own ability to cope with stress. It is all about finding each person’s unique point of balance and working with that, especially if you’re in some type of management or leading role.
“Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But, other times, it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision on the day simply consists of choosing which colour to slide down on the rainbow.” – Douglas Pagels
What are the symptoms of stress?
The symptoms of stress can be missed by many of us and we may never know that we are stressed until we look at our feet wondering how did we get here – being overweight, losing our hair, feeling tense, angry or impatient, headaches/migraines, clenching your teeth/jaw and so forth, especially lack of sleep and being unable to sleep. Generally, there is numerous symptoms of stress that we can overlook when our lives are busy with work, family, personal relationships and even housework (can impact our stress levels).
Your health suffers because our immune systems may not be as efficient as usual which makes us more susceptible to illness physically, chemically and emotionally. Also people may tend to respond to stress with unhealthy lifestyles, like these examples:
- Eating more junk foods that is; McDonalds, KFC, hot chips, fatty foods etc…
- Drinking more alcohol/caffeine/tea/soft drinks so forth.
- Smoking more to reduce stress, but it only makes the body more stressed…
- Lack of exercise and may become overweight.
So, we can make issues or our problems much more extreme than it is by doing some of things mentioned above without realising you maybe doing these subconsciously to deal with unresolved issues. These can really affect you and your overall physiological stress levels. Now, every individuals stress levels are different and yours will be different to your partners or perhaps the people you live with.
You have probably heard that you need to do regular exercise – right? Guessing that you have, lack of exercise means lack of energy, lack of sleep or none at all causing even MORE issues in how we feel and function on a day to day basis. It can get very much like a vicious cycle and vicious habit.
CHOOSE TO TAKE POSITIVE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE AND YOU WILL RECEIVE POSITIVE RESULTS IN EVERY AREA OF YOU LIFE.
To beat stress, here are twelve (12) strategies give you a fighting chance to maintain and overcome any type of stress:
- Recognition – Being aware of stress and what it is
- Beliefs and Attitude – Understanding your mind and responses
- Embrace Change – in other words: being flexible and allowing change
- Analyse your current position and desired position
- Healthy eating and hydration – foods and water
- Exercise – make a routine for activities
- Relaxation – Learn how to relax
- Breathe – Learn breathing techniques and strategies
- Seek help – Find professional help or talking to someone (
- Manage yourself and your time – time management tips and hints
- Get a Goods night’s Sleep – Learning how to sleep effectively and efficiently
- Make a plan, take action – setting achievable goals
I found all of these were things that I did to combat stress when stress levels became high in my CEO life and I am still aware that I could easily slip back down into that vicious cycle if I am not careful. Learning the small changes brought about BIG CHANGES and NOT PUTTING PRESSURE ON MYSELF with thoughts like: I have to go to the gym, I have to drink 2-3 litres of water, I have to eat X amount of food etc. really helped. I made small changes over time and hope that some of the tips people gave me and others that I discovered along the way will help you too.
The next step is to put it all together and commit to making changes.
What changes are you willingly to make? Remember, this is your CHOICE and from this point on, it’s up to you!
WHAT QUALITY OF LIFE AND LIVING DO YOU CHOOSE?
Here is the workbook to download: The Top 12 Strategies Workbook
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