Managing stress requires three basic skills: efficient use of time, effective communication and building the confidence to look good and feel good.
Stress is part of life, but most are equipped with warning signals that are activated when one is approaching the danger zone. Symptoms range from sweaty palms and racing pulse to food cravings, panic attacks, depression, sleep problems, unexplained fainting or poor concentration. Ignore them and in the long term, the risk of high blood pressure will increase.
Managing stress is about taking charge of life rather than giving in to circumstances. According to experts, stress is healthy when it helps achieve a personal goal, as long as relaxation is built in. When it’s imposed by external sources or one’s own negative thoughts, it needs to be addressed to ensure a better life.
The following tips will promote effective time management and stress relief, among other benefits:
- Some people work best in the morning, others in the evening, make use of natural rhythms and demanding tasks will be easier to complete and the tasks will be completed faster.
- Always write a ‘to do’ list for the next day but prioritize and keep it short. Anything returning day after day is stressful and saps confidence, tackle it first or remove it.
- To avoid frustration, declutter work space and home so things are easy to find. A little organization goes a long way and if something doesn’t work, repair or replace.
- Stop worrying unnecessarily, deal with problems when they occur and if you’re concerned about forgetting something, clear the mind by posting reminders in appropriate places.
- Delegate when possible, whether it’s paper work in the office or cleaning the house. Give others a chance to contribute and make space for personal quality time.
Feel Good, Look Good to Build Confidence and Image
A healthy body is well prepared to cope with stress, for it helps build confidence, and one is ready to take on the world. Pay attention to diet and lose weight if necessary.
Exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk around the park. Many also find it helpful to practice easy relaxation techniques on a daily basis. Be aware of body language and polish your image, posture, clothes, demeanour and so on. It’s much easier to manage stress when looking and feeling good.
Likewise with the mind. Co-authors of Positive Stress Management, P.Makin and P.Lindley, suggest keeping a problem diary. Writing things on paper shows awareness, and that’s the first step towards finding a solution. Make it a habit to ban negative thoughts; view the glass as half full, not half empty. It’s also beneficial to use positive language and affirmations as one is striving to achieve goals. Positive people tend to listen to others, but they maintain control over their life and stress levels.
Effective Communication and Assertiveness to Help Manage Stress
Effective communication is a great tool for stress management. This means being honest and straightforward, stating clearly what one wants or how one feels and asking for clarification if unsure.
Learn to be assertive and say no but give reasons rather than excuses. Acknowledge the other person’s point of view, don’t apologize unless it’s justified but be prepared to compromise. Make eye contact, accept and offer compliments and remember that most messages are transmitted through body language. Stay calm and you will ooze confidence and self-control while keeping stress levels in check. Health and quality of life depend on it.
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