A toolkit to manage stress
We all as human beings suffer stress. I have heard there is 'good stress' Really? Not in my experience because the 'good stress' in my experience is not what you notice. You certainly notice 'bad stress'.
We all get anxiety and stress and if it's prolonged it can lead to depression. Stress is also unavoidable, but in my view it can be managed. This article looks at a way of ‘rationalising’ the issues that lead to negative thoughts, those thoughts that lead to emotions of which one is stress. As negative thoughts are basically the roots of stress, anxiety and depression.
What I believe is important as a basis for managing stress is:
Good sleep patterns. If you have problems with sleeping this reduces the capacity to cope with problems that inevitably come along. You can cope with them much better when you sleep well. Find out your optimum hours of sleep you need. Everyone is different but recommended for adults six and a half to nine hours. I once heard that one hour before midnight is worth two hours after midnight.
Develop a routine where if possible you go to bed at the same time each night. Preceding with this a good bed time routine. For example, avoid activities that stimulate the brain. Everyone has their own way of relaxing.
I realise that some of you reading this will work on night shifts or differing shifts, this is more difficult to manage but if you can’t get the same time you may be able to follow the same bed time routine. This prepares the body for sleep.
Breathing exercises are a very good way of relaxing the body. There are many techniques which can be found on the internet. One I recommend to my clients is to take a deep breath, hold it for a while and then blow out. The emphasis on the ‘blow out’. This is portable and can be used virtually at any time if you feel you are getting stressed about something.
What is in your control and out of your control?
When faced with something that worries you, ask yourself can I do anything about the issue or is it out my control. If it is out of your control try to replace the though with something else.
If it is in your control ask yourself will it matter in a week, a month, six months and a year.
Breaking the problem down and resolving
If you have an issue you have to sort, the first rule is don’t leave it. The problem with leaving a problem is that you don’t stop thinking about it or it is there in the background.
Tackle the problem immediately; if the problem seems too big, break it down into smaller parts. If the problem keeps you awake, write a brief plan of action which you can expand on later in the day. Doing this may give you a sense you are doing something.
We all have problems; I hope you will find it useful in tackling those issues.
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About W. Alan Morris
Registed BACP counsellor and trained supervisor who is experienced in helping clients manage stress, anxiety and depression.
Alan works both as a volunteer counsellor and private practice.