Updated: Jul 11
Do you experience erratic sleep patterns? Are you often troubled by the same thoughts racing around your head? Have you noticed an increase in your stress levels?
I have suffered from stress in the past. It can sneak up on you, so regular self-reflection is required. However, I managed to take back control of my emotions so that stress does not rule my life. It is a vicious cycle and if we don’t address it, it can become unmanageable.
I have discussed building resilience to support us in managing our emotions. If you missed it you can view it on my website Building Resilience (chloemephambsc.com). In this Stress Management article, I wanted to delve into further detail for those who may have different coping mechanisms to mine and offer some suggestions.
First and foremost, we need to identify when we are stressed, those physical indicators generally in the head, heart, and lungs. But you may have other indicators such as sweating, tensing, or even avoiding situations or people because unconsciously we have identified when they are around, we feel stress.
Following on from this we need to identify those situations i.e. rush hour traffic or people i.e. a friend of a friend who we may feel stressed around. Once we are aware of these, we can manage them. It may be to avoid rush hour traffic or have stress management techniques to hand to support us with the stress of that moment. We can only control ourselves not others. Identify what is within your control. It is our thoughts about things that provoke stress. If we can change our thinking about things, it can reduce our stress levels.
Once we are aware of the stress, then we can manage it. We need to pause so that we respond rather than react to emotion. There are various methods we can use to support us with stress management. As I have mentioned before routine, exercise, deep breathing, and mindful techniques are the techniques I find most beneficial. But it can vary from day to day.
Another technique could be listening to calming music or soothing sounds that could calm your physical reactions.
There are others such as visualisation. Think of a calming place personal to yourself, it may be a beach, a forest, or a mountain. It could be anywhere you have visited that you have felt calm. Use it, when you feel those stress signals -in rush hour traffic this is not an appropriate technique as the idea is to fully immerse yourself with all of your senses in that calming space.
Another technique could be to reduce your responsibilities. We often take on too much. It is ok to say no if you are already overwhelmed. It is all in the delivery. I will write more about communication styles at a later date but if you can keep in control of your tone, words, and body language you may be surprised how receptive others can be.
Talking of others, doing something selfless can be a good way to reduce stress. Not just for them, but it will also boost your self-esteem to know that you have done a good deed. Also talking to others can help with stress. It is important to surround ourselves with a positive social support system. People we can turn to when needed to vent our stress, again it’s all in the delivery no matter how close to them you are. We generally don’t want to offend people, as that will only provide us with more stress and problems. If you don’t have a support system, there are professionals you can reach out to. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss this further.
In addition to exercise, diet is also important to manage stress. Maybe you are drinking too much caffeine or alcohol? Maybe you are only eating junk food? Reassessing what we consume can help us manage stress.
The list is truly endless. It is about finding out what works for you. What do you enjoy? What do you value? Why beat yourself up over things that are out of your control? If you’re not sure of these things, start a journal to note what you do enjoy and find relaxing. Likewise, if you are not sure what your stressors are, keep a journal noting down those. It can be extremely cathartic to get your thoughts down on paper.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues further, please don’t hesitate to contact me. If you want support with stress management book a Free No-Obligation Mindset Meeting here: Home | Chloe Mepham BSc Certified Life Coach.