Stress has many effects, be it physical, emotional or relational. However, to combat stress, one just simply needs to understand this: Stress is caused when you look at situations as threatening. This is the key to effectively handling your stress in three simple steps.
Effective Stress management involves 3 steps: Breathe, Think and Do.
Breathe: Our ancestors would get ‘stressed’ only when faced by a hungry lion. However, since we are evolving slowly, our system attributes the hungry-lion level of stress to regular events like work stress and relationship hassles. The result? Our stress reaction systems are burned out, or on the way to getting burned out.
What’s the solution? Firstly, breathing. When stressed, we start to breath from the chest, in a shallow manner. This triggers anxiety, panic and may even aid a heart attack. So, step one is to breathe deeply and regularly, using your abdomen. You can download a helpful guide to relaxation techniques here: Simple Relaxation Techniques (PDF) .
Think: The biggest aspect of stress you can control, is appraisal (sorry to use this word, it may have triggered some bad office memories!). Appraisal of stress or perception of stress is how you see the stressful situation. Do you see it as something absolutely horrible that you cannot get out of? Or do you think of it as an uncomfortable but tolerable?
Changing your self-talk and thinking could make a big difference in how you feel about the situation, how you act after it, and how much you let it bother you. Watch this short video to find out 12 common thinking mistakes.
Do: There is a lot you can do physically to reduce your stress. Within the stressful situation, you can find a stress ball to squeeze, take a walk, have some water, do some light exercise, or try powerposing. Outside of the stressful situation, make sure that you have a lot of opportunity to relax, via yoga, meditation, indulging in your hobbies, having work-life balance and a satisfying social life.