Emphasize presence, not presents:
Certain individuals are hardwired to withstand higher stress levels than others, and something that may be incredibly stressful to one person may be only slightly irritating to another. Although we all react to stress in unique ways, one thing is consistently certain: stress affects everyone at some point in their life. If we know stress is a normal, presumptive aspect of the human condition, why do so many stressed out people avoid asking for help?
Often, when we are faced with our darkest, most harried or unbearable moments, we shut down, withdraw and become insular. We are embarrassed about the source of our stress, or we feel it is too tiresome to discuss. Most commonly, stress sufferers are afraid that reaching out, admitting they need help, will make them appear weak and out of control.
Periods of duress in our lives can strain our ability to think clearly and make sound judgements, so it’s no wonder stress causes people to isolate themselves. Alienating friends and family is a knee jerk defense mechanism, but this will only compound feelings of helplessness. Consulting a professional, like a therapist or a counselor, a friend, family member, spiritual advisor or a support group, is the first step in taking control of the stress and managing it properly. How can each of these support networks help you reduce and manage your stress?
Therapist or Counselor
Trained professionals are there to listen and allow you to vent. Since they have been specifically educated to understand a variety of psychological issues, mental health professionals can provide you with coping mechanisms and anti-stress exercises. They may ask you questions, delving into the cause of your stress, thereby helping you to understand and manage it better. A therapist’s office is also a great place to leave stress behind. Spending an hour or two a week unloading in a controlled environment will tell your mind to leave the problems there, with the therapist, instead of carrying them around with you all the time.
Friends and Family
Your immediate, built in network of friends and family can be an unparalleled source of comfort. They love you, and do not want to see you collapse under the weight of stress and anxiety. Remember this and do not be ashamed ask for their help. Leaning on a friend or a loved one gives you a chance to cry, hug or even find ways to laugh about your problems. And your close network can help in other ways too. When they ask what they can do for you, tell them what would alleviate some of the strain. They might be willing to watch your kids for a couple hours, run a few errands for you or straighten up your house. If your best friend or a family member needed you, you’d be there for them too.
Spiritual and religious beliefs notwithstanding, many people feel the need to seek spiritual refuge when they are stressed. If your inclination is to hand over your problems to a higher power, this may be the perfect support outlet for you. No, a priest, minister or church counselor cannot physically take away your anxiety or solve your problems for you. But they can guide you to a path of peace and strength through spirituality. You can also create your own spiritual solace through prayer, meditation or breathing.
Locate a support group that will connect you with others suffering from stress. It may help to share your thoughts and feelings with those experiencing similar turmoil. A simple Internet search can lead you to a support group in your area, but be sure to research it before you go. Ensure the group is affiliated with a reputable organization and that the facilitator is licensed to practice group support sessions.
If you are nervous about asking for help, start slow. There are plenty of books, CDs, DVDs and Internet sources that reinforce the importance of a support network to decreasing and managing stress. Take time to read and learn about what you are going through. Most self-help material will reinforce how critical it is to accept help. Your stress may seem insurmountable, so do not underestimate the power of a solid support system.
Are you feeling like stress has taken over your life? Do you have too much on your plate or too many tasks that need completing? Does it sometimes seem a bit overwhelming? Relax! There are many easy and simple ways to deal with stress.
Here are five ways you can banish overwhelming stress from your life! The first thing you need to do is take a look at your surroundings. Many people find that they have unknowingly surrounded themselves with people or things that bring added stress to their lives without even knowing it!
If you have a friend whose life problems are always bringing you down, or a family member that places too many burdens on you on a regular basis, your first action may be to limit your interactions with them. Instead choose to surround yourself with other people who bring positive energy to the table!
Next, remember to be mindful at all times. Take some time every day to check in with yourself about the great things that are going to happen during the upcoming day and to be thankful for the blessings you do have in your life. In such a fast paced world it’s easy to focus on things that might weigh on us or bring us down. It is sometimes an after thought to focus on the things that may bring us up.
Your next challenge while dealing with stress is to stop your judgment of others (and yourself.) By judging other people we simply bring harsh words and negativity into our environment, which does not do any good for anyone!
Next up is a tough one for many. It is important to learn how to say no. For the “people-pleasers” out there, this is one written especially for you. When you are in a situation where someone is trying to have you take on more then you believe you can handle – summon up your courage and say “no” to them. You’ll find that this becomes easier the more you practice this skill. Many people will respect you more if you graciously decline to take something on, rather than taking on more than you can chew at the present moment.
The last item on the short list of how to deal with stress, is to make sure to have a time and a space just for you. Find a comfy chair or a sunlit porch or a park where you can relax. Take the time to breathe and allow your body to relax. Many people practice meditation, listen to music that relaxes them, or practice deep breathing for 20 minutes at a time.
Once you begin taking some time for yourself every day, you will find a reduction in your stress levels almost immediately! If you begin these daily steps to deal with stress, you will find yourself on your way to a better, more relaxing daily life.