Some stress is an important part of everyday life. As a consequence of being stressed we react to situations better, perform with a heightened level of awareness, access a more focussed way of thinking. But to live in a permanently stressed state is counter-productive; it is draining and bad for our longterm health.
Let’s look at some ways to manage stress with effective stress management techniques:
- Learning to prioritize is an important stress management technique. We can become habituated to instantly reacting whenever there is a request for work or help, but learning to prioritize is an important way to manage stress. Doing the most urgent tasks first helps to manage stress and pressure as it minimises the need to have people banging on the door, urgently demanding a piece of work.
- Seeing things through from start to finish is important, as it can be tempting to start one piece of work, then another and have several projects on the go at once. This can apply equally at home or at work; starting to clean a room, then doing a little ironing, then the garden can result in nothing being finished and leave a dissatisfied feeling at the end of the day. If a work task has to be left part way through make sure that you make clear notes so that it can be resumed efficiently once you return.
- Delegate. Let others help and they will take pride in the responsibility, become more proficient and experienced and may even be in a position to offer useful ideas and suggestions. It can take a little time and patience to teach someone new skills, but in the longterm it usually pays off.
- Say ‘no’ sometimes. This is a useful way to manage stress for several reasons. It makes other people appreciate that you’re busy, gives you a reminder that you have some control over the way you allocate your time and allows you to focus on doing what you’re already doing with a clear, calm mind.
- Take regular breaks. Stopping for food, drink, exercise, fun improves your quality of concentration and is an important stress management technique. Eating healthy food away from the work station, having a brisk ten minute walk, a little ‘me’ time all ensure that your quality of concentration and focus improve on your return. Intensive periods of study, urgent deadlines often benefit from taking a break to allow the thoughts to clean and settle for a while. No one can work flat-out 100% of the time and often people find that new ideas and insights have surfaced during their time away from their desk.
- Practice self-hypnosis. It need only take a second or two to visit a calm place in nature, like a garden, beach, waterfall, and enjoy the sense of peace it brings, or to practice telling yourself some positive affirmations and statements. These are effective ways to manage stress, boost your inner peace and improve your self-esteem. Self hypnosis can act as a quick mini-break at times of pressure, when you’re maybe needing to clear cluttered thinking and access a sense of calm, peace and clear thinking.
- Self-hypnosis can also provide a fast and effective way to draw a line between work and home. Some people find it hard to switch off at the end of the day. They find themselves constantly checking their phone or emails, unable to stop worrying or stressing about the latest project or task. Practice breathing techniques and self-hypnosis as an effective way of letting go of invasive thoughts and setting better habits in place.
Remind yourself to value the other areas of your life, your family, friends, hobbies and interests as well as work. By introducing stress management techniques it becomes easier to find a balance between all those different areas. You establish a better quality of life and establish a healthy work/life balance that brings satisfaction, pleasure as well as challenge and only occasional stress.
Susan Leigh is a Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who works with stressed individuals to promote confidence and self belief, with couples in crisis to improve communications and understanding and with business clients to support the health and motivation levels of individuals and teams.
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