Simple Stress Management Techniques
What is Stress management? Let’s start with what Stress is. Stress is your body’s way of reacting to changing situations, making sure you are prepared or even warned in the event of danger. It is a way for your body to keep you alert when action needs to be taken.
For example, you could be having physical or mental reactions to an exam or driving test, but what this means is that you might not feel completely confident in your ability and might just need a bit more practice or learning to leave you feeling confident. Another example would be, having a mental reaction where you start to panic, this is simply your mind telling you stories of what could happen if you fail (I know, not very helpful.) Managing our stress levels is not as hard as it sounds, it simply means you need to pay attention to what is happening in your body and your mind.
In a nutshell: By changing the way we think, We can change the way we feel.
I know this sounds easier said than done, but with regular practice and by forming healthy new habits and thought patterns, you will be surprised how quickly you can transform your own mind
Determine your Stressors
-What are your stressors (good and Bad stressors)
-Is it a threat or a challenge?
-How long will this be a threat in your life (long or short timescale)
-Thoughts about stressors
Determine your coping resources (family, friends, hobbies, exercise)
–Do you speak to friends and family about what bothers you. Many people feel that they would rather not burden others with their own thoughts, but that is what good friends and family are there for. (If your best friend or family member had a problem, would you like for them to confide in you?)
-Do you get enough exercise? I know sometimes the thought of doing physical exercise can seem daunting, but it doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym and doing squats (I really don’t like squats) or putting yourself through hours of agony to feel good. There are loads of great activities you could do that will allow you to increase your heart rate enough to improve circulation and a healthier way of thinking (not to mention the surge of serotonin afterwards). (Try scheduling regular walks with a friend after work, get a bicycle or just go for a brisk walk through the woods if jogging seems too much. Either way, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting exercise.)
–Do you have any hobbies? Having a healthy hobby gives your mind a rest from what it is constantly worrying about, as well as boosts your mood in general. (have you ever seen someone sad whilst doing something they love? Exactly my point!)
Affects of negative stress
- Aches and pains.
- Chest pain or heart is racing.
- Exhaustion or trouble sleeping.
- Headaches, dizziness or shaking.
- High blood pressure.
- Muscle tension or jaw clenching.
- Stomach or digestive problems.
- Trouble having sex.
- Weak immune system.
- Reduced Health & Self care
- Reduction in Exercise
- Prone to finding unhealthy ways of coping (drinking or smoking etc
Types of Stressors
What type of stressors are affecting you. By determining the type of stressor, you are able to get a more accurate picture and better understanding of what is bothering you before it gets bigger and into the cycle of depression.
- Problem focused
(When you have a real life problem to solve)
- Emotion focused
(This is when we choose to feel a certain way about something)
How does Depression begin?
Physical – Thoughts – Emotions – Behaviours
Depression is the cycle moving between the way we feel, which determines our behaviours, thus causing negative thoughts.
Breaking this pattern is crucial to ending depression
Breaking the pattern
Determine the event that causes stress
- Is it Important /unimportant
- Is it Changeable /unchangeable
- Try not to Foresee the future (you are not a mind reader)
- Read Minds (thinking you know what others are thinking)
- Don’t take Personally (not everything is aimed directly at you)
- Past does not determine the future
- All or nothing (belief that if it isn’t a success, then it’s a failure)
Change your belief (negative thoughts) around this event
- We learn how to be helpless (being abused through childhood) needs to be unlearned and changed into a positive belief
- Use a diary to record beliefs
What are the consequences?
Will there be Physical, emotional, mental or behavioural repocutions
Try to determine what your thoughts are around the consequences of what will happen to see if it is something that will happen to you physically or emotionally
Shift your Mood away from the negative thoughts
- Exercise (go outside for some fresh air)
- Schedule in pleasant activities it is very important to schedule activities that are enjoyable. Just because it is not for work doesn’t mean it’s not important. Your happiness should be on the top of your list every day.
Please try this worksheet to challenge yourself in testing your beliefs
Here is a breakdown
- Determine Stressors
- What are your Coping resources
- Understand Depression
- Break the pattern