Take 5 steps from stress to success

Do you feel that there are not enough hours in the day? That you are running around like a headless chicken and not achieving the things that you want to? Do you ever wish you had more time and that you were less stressed?

If the answer is yes to any of the above you may be letting stress get the better of you. Of course not all stress is bad for us, some stress is actually good for us and helps us to get things done when there are sudden demands on us such as changes at work or at home. Meeting deadlines, preparing for exams or an interview - for these types of pressure we require a surge of adrenaline and this is nature's way of helping us through that sticky spot. Too much stress however, can have a detrimental effect on our well-being. The body is not designed to cope with long term stress and if not recognised can actually be damaging to our health.

See below for some practical tips to help you manage stress:

Try to keep a positive attitude and mindset
If you can look at the situation that is causing the tension from another perspective it can really help when feeling stuck with something that you find difficult. If you find yourself becoming anxious about a situation, try to think of a positive aspect that could come of the situation. This can really help to change the way that you think and feel about a certain situation. Try to take a few moments to reflect on the situation and what it is that’s making you anxious.

Manage your time more effectively
Time management can be a root of stress so getting a grip on your time can have real benefits both at work and at home.

Eat healthily and exercise
Most of us sit at our computer for hours, drink too much coffee and eat refined foods. Exercise is a good way to relieve the tensions of the day. We are 100 per cent responsible for our own health and well-being, so take charge today.

Breathe right
This may sound blindingly obvious but the way we breathe has a real effect on our well-being. Breathe slowly in through your nose and then out through pursed lips, allowing the abdomen to soften and rise on the in breath then deflate and return to normal on the out breath. Pause, slowly repeat this for 6-8 breaths over the minute with the breath out being slightly longer than the breath in. Try to get out in the fresh air regularly even whilst at work, go for a short walk at lunch time and take some deep breaths. Many people develop bad breathing habits and it takes a little effort to change this behaviour and to develop good breathing habits.

Sleep well
Getting a good night sleep can really help to alleviate the symptoms of stress. To encourage a good night sleep try to wind down in the evening before going to bed. Develop a bedtime ritual and stop using computers, mobile phones and devices late in the evening. The blue light emitted from electronic devices can hinder our winding down ready for sleep process.

On your way to feeling more relaxed try the WASP method.

WAIT – say “stop” to yourself

ABSORB – take a deep breath, breathe out slowly and pull shoulders down, absorb the situation and tell yourself to relax and stop fussing.

SLOWLY – when you feel calm slowly ...

PROCEED – carry on with what you were doing but in a more relaxed frame of mind.

Just taking a few simple steps can really help to relieve tension before it starts to take hold and can help to make your day seem much more within your control.

On Wednesday 6th November it is National Stress Awareness Day. For more information go to http://www.isma.org.uk/about-national-stress-awareness-day-nsad/

References

The International Stress Management Association UK www.isma.org.uk

Beating Stress – Stresscheck www.stresscheck.co.uk

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