REDUCING STRESS

Some causes of distress are change, time restrictions, interpersonal problems and guilt. Too many changes in a short period of time, good and bad can cause stress. Some personalities handle change better than others. Some need more time to adjust to change and find any change to be very stressful. Some tension is good and can be motivating. Be aware when you have had enough. Don't allow stress to become distress. The biggest cause of distress is losing control of a situation. When you feel overwhelmed or unable to handle a situation, you feel stress. Distress is when you feel overwhelmed or without hope. It will kill you physically if you let it and it kills the spirit. Don't let it do that to you. You have a choice.


UNDERSTAND ADVANTAGES OF COPING WITH STRESS

1. Better attitude 

2. Feel better physically 

3. Physical and mental health 

4. More energy

5. Improve productivity and creativity

6. Less clumsy and accident prone

7. Fewer interpersonal problems


RECOGNIZE SYMPTOMS OF BURNOUT DUE TO DISTRESS

  1. Irritability and distrust of others
  2. Being non-creative for the past 6 months
  3. Physical and mental exhaustion
  4. Feeling isolated and alone
  5. A need to escape
  6. Trying to feel good by how much you do
  7. There's a part of your brain that doesn't know the difference between what you do and what you think you're doing. If you think unhappy, defeated thoughts, your brain will do whatever it takes to make it come to pass. It's called "self-fulfilling prophecy". However, thinking happy, pleasant thoughts is much less stressful for you and those thoughts tend to happen, too. The right side of the brain is creative and emotional. It brings about whatever you believe in. The left side is factual and practical. Your subconscious is creative. Always keep pencil and paper beside your bed because you can wake up with creative ideas and answer the problems you've been thinking about. If you don't write them down, you will forget them and they may not come back.
  8. There are 3 areas where distress gets a stronghold. They are your Feelings, Thoughts and Circumstances.

Changing your life is SIMPLE. BUT IT'S NOT EASY. 


  • How do you feel when you’re distressed? Do you want to stay in bed and hide from the situation? Ignore your feelings. When you do something you especially don't feel like doing, give yourself some small reward. 

Another option is to take 2 notebooks. In the first one, write down all the negative feelings you have. Label them at the top of the page. 

1. Anger

2. Fear

3. Discouragement

4. Jealousy

5. Resentment

6. Whatever is going on in your life.

7. Write down the names of each member of your family. 


Write down everything that you want to say about that subject. When you're finished, take it someplace private, read it out loud and then destroy it. This gets some of your negative feelings out in the open and once you've written about them, they tend to go away or have less influence on your life. You'll find your distress level immediately more manageable.


What are some thoughts that discourage you? This is negative mind chatter. Recognize a negative thought. Your mind is talking to you all the time.

When you change your thoughts, you'll find that your feelings will also change. Your thoughts determine your feelings.


Encourage yourself. Develop a support system. Have people you can call to encourage you, to talk things out with. Talk to people who are nonjudgmental. 


“He who gains a victory over other men is strong, but he who gains a victory over himself is all-powerful.” -- Lao-Tze 


HANDLE WORRY

Worry is when you've done everything you can and you're still thinking about it. One thing that helps is to decide not to worry about something until you have to. If you have something due next Tuesday, and you've done all you can, don't worry about it until Monday night. You stop worrying by ignoring your negative mind chatter. Refuse to listen to it. Override it. Keep reminding yourself that you have refused to think about it until you have to. This is possible, but you may have to work on it.


When you worry, create a workable plan. How does it look? Who'll be around you? What will you be doing? See yourself working the plan. Will you ask others to work with you or will you do it alone? Will you delegate some of the work? Who will you include? Get a clear picture of the results you want. Have a goal. Be very aware of your goal. See Goal Setting Basics and Goal Setting Example. Create your plan to reach your goal. Remind your negative mind chatter that you have an answer to, “I won’t come up with a solution in time.”


In your second notebook write down something positive you did or something nice that happened to you EACH day. Don’t write the same things each day. Add something new.


It takes 9 positives to counteract 1 negative.


CONTROL CIRCUMSTANCES:

There are a lot of circumstances over which you have control. When faced with a stressful situation, think about the worse possible thing that can happen and how you would fix that. Whatever happens can't possibly be that bad.


Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.”

-- Roger C. Anderson in the Rotarian


LEARN RELAXATION TECHNIQUES.

One of the simplest ways to reduce your distress level is to breathe. Take deep, belly breaths about 5 seconds each. This helps more oxygen get to your brain and your thinking is clearer. 


With each breath, think about a part of your body and have it relax. It may be your neck and shoulders. 


Sometimes it's easy to forget. So, every time you stop at a red light, let it be a signal for you to take a deep breath and relax. If you're making phone calls, while the phone is ringing, let it be a signal to take a deep breath and relax. Create little signals for yourself in your normal day.


Looking out the window relaxes your eyes especially if you’ve been looking at a computer.


Move your head to the left as far as you can, pointing your nose out to the left. Slowly move so you're pointing your nose to the right. Do that 3 times slowly.


Now stretch to try to bring your left ear to your shoulder. Do the same with your right ear. Do that 3 times.


SOLVE PROBLEMS:

It helps to understand how you're solving, problems now. Are you good at solving problems? Do problems overwhelm you, causing you stress?


As soon as you realize you have a problem, solve it immediately. Problems won't go away by ignoring them. They are likely to get larger and harder to control. Procrastination also won't help. Discuss the problem with others. Get their input and solve it in a timely way. This is also an area where personal coaching helps. 


CONSIDER 

  • Dejunk your life
  • Create patterns 
  • Use a punching bag or a pillow to get rid of frustration
  • Improve interpersonal relationships 
  • Understand your personality style. See DISC Personalities and First Time Skydivers.
  • Be truthful with people. It creates a lot of stress to maintain a lie.
  • Ask others at work for information. Draw on their ideas and support. 
  • Make relationships a priority. Pay attention to other's needs. Listen to them. 
  • Share your personal feelings with people you trust. Tell them how you feel.
  • Find quality time for each other. Even If it must be scheduled, make sure it is scheduled when you're not too tired.
  • Focus on the positive in the people you live with, not on how they bug you. Giving sincere praise, not flattery. This is essential in a healthy family relationship.
  • Focus on future goals. Don't bring up the past. Emphasize mu­tual objectives you can work on together
  • Be open to new ideas. Open yourself up to new thoughts and experiences. This will increase your understanding and appreciation for another person's point of view 
  • Keep yourself healthy. Eat healthy food. Don't eat a lot of sugar. Sugar is a depressant. 
  • Exercise can prevent depression and help distress 
  • Get as much sleep as you need. You have my permission to get at least 8 or 9 hours of sleep. 
  • Soothe your soul with music. The right kind of music can calm the troubled mind. Your heart tends to match the same beat as the music.
  • Do one thing at a time 
  • Say "no" to requests that stretch you to the limit 
  • Delegate
  • Buy gas for the car before the tank is empty. Get regular oil changes and checkups.
  • Keep food, toilet paper and toiletries on hand so you never run out. Keep your phone charged or at least have a cable you can use in the car or where you work.
  • Keep duplicate keys for home, car and office in secure locations.
  • Keep a booklet or tablet with all your passwords. Leave room for new passwords, because you know you are going to need them.
  • Recognize the goal of software is to drive you nuts.

Develop habits that enhance your life and eliminate habits that add stress to your life. You will make up the time spent with less stress and a more profitable life.


© LifeSkills International 2014

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