Stress Management Information
Tips to live with stress
Once you have recognized the fact that you are under too much stress, you are already well on your way to coping with it. While there are no instant solutions, there are a number of ways you can manage stress:
Close your eyes and imagine yourself in another place. Imagine a special place you've visited or seen in pictures at some time: the mountains, the ocean, a waterfall, a trail, a cottage in the woods, etc. Think about as many details as possible: sights, sounds, smells, touch. Remember, this is your special place. You can add animals, trees, or anything that is calming. Spend approximately 2 minutes or more in this special place. For best results, don't just go to your special place when you are stressed. Become familiar with it when you are relaxed and it will be easier to get there when you feel stressed. Go there as often as you can!
Breath deeply from your diaphragm, not moving your chest and shoulders. You should feel your abdominal muscles protrude as you breath in and deflate when you breath out. As you breath out, your diaphragm and rib muscles relax, and your body may seem to sink down into the chair. Deep breathing can be used anytime, anyplace. Consider deep breathing for 60 seconds several times each day.
Doing some type of aerobic exercise three times a week is a way to tap into the energy your body builds repeatedly through the stress response. It is essential to pick a type of exercise you can enjoy, whether it's walking, running, biking, swimming, or aerobic dancing. If it is not something you enjoy, you're not going to make it a part of your week. Make it part of your schedule.
Set Reasonable Goals
Take one thing at a time. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed that we try to do everything at once and nothing gets accomplished. Take a few minutes to make a list of what has to be done, establish priorities, and tackle one project at a time. Work on the most essential thing first. Completing the most important, pressing project will give you a sense of accomplishment, relieve some stress, and give you the strength to dive back into your workload.
Schedule A "Worry Time"
Better yet, let's call it a "Constructive Planning Time". Set aside a certain time each day to think about things that are troubling you. As you start to worry about things throughout the day, stop yourself, jot down your thoughts, and put them aside until your "Constructive Planning Time". Keep a journal of your worries and during your "Constructive Planning Time", write down possible solutions to your concerns. Consider ending each "Constructive Planning Time" using the imagery techniques previously listed. End each planning session on a positive note!
Refuse To Worry About
Things You Can't Control Or Anticipate
Focus on things that you can do something about. If something is worrying you, decide whether you can do anything about it. If you can do something about it, then do it. If it is out of your control, then let it go! Don't waste your time and energy worrying about things that you can't do anything about.
Work Off Stress
If you are angry or ready to blow up, physical activities are a terrific outlet. This is a time to vent that energy. Whether you go out and chop wood, wash the car, cut the lawn, wash the floor, or go for a jog, chances are that you'll feel better and will have accomplished something useful.
Give Yourself A Treat/Take Time Out To Play
Typically, the first activities to be removed from schedules are those which are enjoyable. Every day, try to do at least one thing that you will enjoy. It does not have to be something that is very time consuming. Pleasant activities reduce stress and allow you to approach difficult tasks with higher self-esteem and a positive attitude. Listen to some of your favorite music, get out of the office for a break, make a special dinner, call a friend, take a hot bath, take a short nap, read a few pages of a magazine or book. Anything that helps you to relax and enjoy yourself. Working long hours can be counter-productive past a certain point.
Get Enough Sleep And Rest
Sometimes we get so busy that we tend to cut down on things we need most. Sleep is a wonderful cure-all and is often sacrificed to stress. The lack of sleep can make you cranky and irritable. Assess your caffeine intake. Caffeinated coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate can seriously alter sleep patterns. If sleep difficulties persist, it would be wise to consult your physician.
Talk To Someone You Can Truly Trust
Confiding in another person and talking about your problem, even if there is no immediate solution, usually makes you feel better. Currently enrolled students of CSU, Stanislaus may seek professional, individual personal counseling with the Psychological Counseling Services. Call 667-3381 to arrange an appointment with one of the counselors.
Many easily available substances, from aspirin to alcohol, are abused in an effort to avoid the stress by blotting out pain. They are not a solution to a problem, and if taken to excess, become a problem in themselves. Think about what you are doing to "drown your sorrows." Consider getting assistance from a counselor if you are using substances to mask your problems.
Manage Your Time More Effectively | Plan Ahead
The overwhelming feeling that there are simply not enough hours in the day can defeat you before you begin. Consider learning a time management system that works for you, not against you. Identify when your periods of increased stress will be - big projects, holidays, meetings, moving etc., and develop a strategy to be the best you can be.
Believe That The Answer Lies Within You
No one else can "give" you a stress-free life, although they can offer advice. It is up to you to review that advice and appropriately incorporate it into your lifestyle. Just as no one can tell you what happiness is, what peace is, or describe the taste of chocolate to you, you have to search out your own inner desires and needs and make them work.
Eat A Well Balanced Diet
The types of food eaten as well as the time food is eaten can seriously alter one's concentration and energy level. Consider taking inventory to see if you are eating well to maximize your performance.
Don't Be Afraid To Say No
Learn How To Delegate Responsibility
Taking on too much can be the stress that breaks you down. If saying no and/or delegating to others is difficult for you, consider reading an assertiveness training book or attending an assertiveness training workshop available from the Psychological Counseling Services.
Know When You Are Tired
The ability to stop work when you are fatigued rather than pushing yourself beyond your limits will also reduce unnecessary stress. Learn when your daily highs and lows take place so you can work with them rather than against them.
Be Realistic About Perfection
Expectations which are set too high can cause disappointment and stress. Become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. If you fall short of your goals, allow yourself ample time to assess and set realistic goals.