Got something in your life that is causing you stress? There are two things you can do about it, change the situation or change your reaction to it. Here are four steps guaranteed to help you deal with the stress effectively:-
Change the Situation
To change the situation, consider exactly what is going on and ask yourself these questions:-
Can I avoid the cause of stress? Perhaps you need to start saying “no” more often! Taking on more than you can reasonably cope with is a recipe for stress. Set your boundaries and stick to them.
Are there particular people who stress you out? If so, minimise the amount of time you spend with them.
Look at your to-do list, how many “shoulds” are on there? If you are doing things because you think you should rather than want to, stop doing them and see what happens.
Delegate! You don’t have to do everything yourself. If you are not good at delegation, then learn how to be more effective. Don’t assume you have to do everything. Take a really objective view of your “to-list”, are you really the only person who can do each task?
Can I alter the cause of stress? If you can’t avoid a cause of stress, can you alter it?
Do you need to be more assertive with certain people so that they treat you differently?
Are there situations that you need to tackle to sort them out? Get on top of finances, paperwork, getting things fixed, make decisions instead of procrastinating.
Improving your time management can make a big difference. Check through all the things you do and when you do them. Can you combine some activities, are there better times to do things? Would you feel better if you planned ahead?
Change your Reaction
If you find that you can’t avoid or alter the cause of your stress, you will need to change your reaction to it. In order to do this, ask yourself these questions:-
How can I adapt to the cause of stress? Changing the way you think may seem like a huge task but here are a few questions you can ask yourself which will quickly get you thinking in a new way.
When you are in a stressful situation, ask yourself “What is good about this?”, this seems totally counter-intuitive, but it really works.
Remember the big picture. Maybe the stress will be short term, and if you are reminded of that you will be able to cope better.
Are you being a perfectionist or control freak which is causing you the stress? If so, learn to let go, stop demanding perfection or having complete control. Go with the flow for a change and see what happens.
How can I accept the cause of stress? If none of the above questions have totally solved your situation, you can work on acceptance. This is not a case of giving up, it is taking a very positive step and is much more effective than battling against something that you can’t change.
Life does have ups and downs, accept that times may be tough now but things will get better.
Forgiving other people, and yourself, for past mistakes is very effective. You will release all the anger and resentment inside you, which is causing negative thoughts and emotions.
You can only control the controllable. Recognise that there are many things which are simply out of your control. Concentrate on what you can control.
This post was written by Charlie Damonsing of CLAssociates. CLAssociates specialises in helping businesses manage stress in the workplace, providing consultancy, training and 1-2-1 support. For further details please contact Charlie on 0771 559 6487.