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  • Dealing with stress

    Everyone has stressful times in their lives, whether that is caused by a job, a relationship, financial concerns, or any number of other reasons. What is important, however, is how we deal with it.

    In the short-term an element of stress can be a good thing, with low levels of stress appearing to aid our immune system to respond better and become stronger. Providing we are recognising and managing our stress there is little to worry about, as stress is an unavoidable part of life at times. However, it is when stress gets out of control that action needs to be taken.

    When confronted with a stressful situation many people attempt to ignore it and effectively bury their heads in the sand. By doing so they could actually be making the situation a whole lot worse as this can lead to an increasing build-up of tension and anxiety. As stress levels rise, the ability to rationally cope with the issue will tend to diminish, fuelling a further increase in stress. If not controlled in time, the results of unrelenting high stress can include chronic illness, family and relationship breakdowns, and addiction to ‘coping mechanisms’ such as wine and cigarettes.

    Of course the best way to avoid this is to take steps to understand your stress and to manage it, and thankfully this is easier than it sounds.

    The first step is to understand exactly what is stressing you and why, and to also recognise that, regrettably, some causes of stress can’t be changed. Although it is often the case that just by recognising this you may find that the situation becomes somewhat more manageable.

    So, how can you deal with stress?

    Challenge your thoughts

    More often than not it is our perception of a situation that causes the stress rather than the actual situation itself. If you feel like you can’t cope at work, and you reinforce that view with your daily thoughts and actions, then you will be unable to cope at work. By challenging your perception, believing that you can cope and that you will find a positive solution, you will find that this is exactly what will happen.

    Plan, plan, plan

    Ever heard the quote ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’? There is considerable truth in this. By planning and structuring tasks we feel more in control of them and can complete them before they cause us any additional worry or concern.

    Set some goals

    This is a key way to help manage stress. Setting realistic, achievable goals can help us feel that we are making our way forwards in life, and that we are tackling issues such as being unhappy at work, or our desire to buy a home. By breaking these larger goals into smaller ‘stepping stone’ goals, we feel like we are accomplishing things every time we complete one, and we also have the satisfaction of getting ever closer to our end goal.

    Talk to someone

    Whether it is a friend, colleague or loved one, never underestimate the power that communicating your concerns can have in making you feel more in control. The idea that a problem shared is a problem halved is very true, and another perspective on your concerns can make you feel much more in control.

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