Use These Strategies to Help You Manage Stress
Knowing how to identify and manage stress is critical to well-being, especially if you are experiencing chronic or prolonged acute stress. Consider using the four strategies identified below (adapted from a Mayo Clinic News Network article) and coupling them with a guided body scan to support your stress management.
Avoid: Plan ahead, rearrange your surroundings, and reap the benefits of a lighter load. Actions include:
- Learn to say no. Turn down requests that will overcommit you. Or, if it is something you really want to do, give up something you are already doing.
- Ditch part of your list. Prioritize your daily goals, and cut off the least important when possible.
Alter: Take inventory during stressful times; then attempt to change your situation.
- Communicate your feelings openly. Remember to use "I" statements; as in, "I feel frustrated by shorter deadlines and a heavier workload. Is there something we can do to balance things out?"
- State limits in advance. Instead of stewing over a colleague's nonstop chatter, politely start the conversation with, "I have only 5 minutes to cover this."
Accept: Find ways to manage stressful realities.
- Practice positive self-talk. One negative thought can lead to another, and soon you've created a mental avalanche. Be positive. Instead of thinking, "I am horrible with money, and I will never be able to control my finances," try "I made a mistake with my money, but I'm resilient. I'll get through it."
- Learn from your mistakes. Recognize a "teachable moment.” You can't change the fact that procrastination hurts your performance, but you can make sure you set aside more time in the future.
Adapt: Change your standards or expectations to help you deal with stress.
- Adjust your standards. Redefine success and stop striving for perfection. You may operate with less guilt and frustration.
- Reframe the issue. Try looking at your situation from a new viewpoint. Instead of feeling frustrated that you’re home with a sick child, look at it as an opportunity to bond, relax, and finish a load of laundry.
- Look at the big picture. Ask yourself, "Will this matter in a year? In 5 years?" The answer is often no and makes a stressful situation seem less overwhelming.