Stress is unavoidable. Stress is all around you in the forms of work, marriage, family, health issues, the economy, or even dealing with something breaking at the most inconvenient time. While you may not be able to get away from stress totally you can choose (and control) how you respond to stressful situations and stressor triggers.
You can vow to not let stress zap your energy any longer. It’s been proven that stress is one of the biggest drains on someone’s energy level. When energy levels are low it’s hard to have enough strength to deal with even the simplest of things in life. It’s during these times feelings of depression can creep in to steal parts of you and keep you from being your healthiest.
Everyone deals with levels of stress in some form. The key is finding healthy ways to cope, get through, and minimize how stress affects you.
Identifying Your Stress Triggers
Before you can start to manage stress or learn to cope through stressful situations it is necessary to understand the circumstances causing stress. Take a look at your life. Consider these areas and how you may be reacting to each one.
- Where are you in respect to your life, relationships, and career goals?
- How’s your physical state?
- How’s your mental state?
Looking at Your Reactions
When you think about the triggers in these areas are they leading you to unhealthy behaviors such as emotionally-driven eating, drinking alcohol, or smoking? Recognizing the triggers that drive you towards stress and unhealthy choices means you can begin to unravel them. You can replace how you react to a specific trigger and begin to develop better, healthier ways to cope and move through. You will turn away from chocolate cake, an extra glass of wine, or even smoke breaks as the answer to find better alternatives.
3 New Ways to Respond
We might not be able to totally get away from stress so it’s important to learn how to avoid, reframe, and accept. Let’s take a closer look at each one:
Avoid: Avoiding stress can be as simple as saying “no.” It’s a little word that wields a lot of empowerment. You may feel as if without you things won’t get done or won’t be done correctly. You may feel others like your boss, family, or friends rely on you to carry the responsibility or make the decisions. While there may be some truth in these statements it is necessary to sometimes say “no.” Or, if “yes” is the way to go then include a big qualifier to guard you against being overwhelmed.
Additionally, allow yourself to regroup, if necessary. You will be reducing your stress levels before your energy levels can be drained. Remember, another way to use avoidance is to step away. Give yourself some space by stepping outside, listening to music, taking a walk, reading a book, or people-watching. Choose whatever relaxes and empowers you.
Reframe: Reframing the problem can bring an immediate change with lasting results. Think of the familiar glass half-full or half-empty image. Framing the situation from a positive perspective completely changes your attitude…and your response. It is possible to view the stressor as something beneficial to your life. Viewing things from a different perspective allows you to find renewed energy you had been lacking. Give it a try.
Accept: In the times when there is simply nothing that can be done to resolve the situation it’s best to resolve to accept it. Part of accepting it is to know that you will be moving through it and have plan for the other side. For instance, if your weekly board meeting stresses you, plan a trip to the gym before or afterwards. Building stress reducing activities around events you know to be stressful and developing a plan for handling unexpectedly situations that pop up will help you move through stress. Having a plan for dealing with stress will keep you from getting caught with your guard down.
Need help preparing a stress plan to navigate through stress triggers and be on guard when the expected happens? My 1:1 consulting sessions are ideal for working with you to create your own personal plan. Click here to get started.
Listen to my full podcast, Simple Ways to Reduce Your Stress Right Now, for additional information and ways to reduce stress.