So you are under high stress. You have a demanding job, or you are starting a business, or your mother’s health just took a nose dive, or you suspect your teenager is using drugs. Your situation may be unique but in one way or another, we all face stress.
If you receive my emails, I have a Health and Stress Evaluation checklist that sent out to my subscribers. You can rate yourself on how you are feeling and rank different potential areas where stress may be affecting you. (If you would like to subscribe, just go here. My subscribers receive special discounts, freebies, and advance notice on programs.)
So if you know where your stress is coming from, what do you do? We can’t avoid stress in today’s world, but how do we cope. I held things inside for years because I didn’t know how to do this. So my resentments grew higher and higher (and so did my exhaustion and my health problems.)
Here are my top three suggestions to relieve stress.
- Step out of the stressful situation as quickly as possible. Give yourself a break – physically, mentally, and emotionally. If it’s a work or business situation, take a break. Go to the bathroom, or step outside as soon as you can. Step away from the computer and the piles of work. If it’s something at home, it’s tough when it’s our family or loved one. Those stressors can be from money, or health, or relationships dissolving. It hurts and it’s tense. Know that there are things you cannot change no matter how hard you try. Take some deep breaths and give yourself a physical break — even if it’s just for 5 of 10 minutes.
- Express your feelings. Keeping everything to ourselves only builds up this monster inside us. We can feel hurt, resentful, unappreciated, and a dozen other feelings. And the sad part is that the other person(s) involved may not have a clue how you are feeling. The key here is to talk to the other person(s) in a calm, focused, constructive manner. If you’re stressed to the nth degree, many times we wait until we explode and then we say things we really didn’t mean or want to say.If this is a work situation, tell your boss/co-worker/client what’s happening. I’m sure you want to get the job done with high quality and as efficiently as possible. So if the demands coming at you are making that difficult or impossible, then open up a conversation with the end goal in mind (getting the work done), and offer possible solutions to get the result in a better way.If the stress is coming from tensions at home, the same strategy applies. Do not wait until you get to the point where you explode because all that happens then is that the other person gets defensive. We all get defensive (no matter how much personal growth we’ve made) when someone starts blaming or yelling. So open up a conversation when you have had some rest and you can talk about the situation calmly and directly. Be specific and keep your conversation centered around “When that happened…I felt…” Your feelings are ALWAYS valid, even if the other person doesn’t understand.
- Ask for help. I think this was the hardest step for me. I didn’t want to “impose” on someone else. I didn’t want to appear weak. I thought I “should” be able to handle everything. But I couldn’t. And what I’ve learned is that other people want to be able to help — even in small ways — if I would give them a chance. Ask for help as soon as you start feeling overwhelmed. Maybe your employer cannot hire more help, but there are always solutions to even the toughest of problems, and by asking for a brainstorming session, you may come up with an even better, more efficient solution to get the work done.Friends, family members, and neighbors are good resources to ask. No one can help you if you don’t ask. And one key here is to not expect someone else to do things “perfectly.” One thing I’ve learned over the years is that getting something done sure beats working harder to get it just right. Usually it DOES NOT MATTER. So just ask. You may be pleasantly surprised at how willing others are to step up and help you.Many times, an objective professional can help you sort out the overwhelm. Whether that’s your pastor, a counselor, a therapist, or a coach, they are trained to read between the lines and to offer suggestions to help you make necessary shifts.
Know that chronic stress hammers away at your health and your peace of mind. We all deal with stress, and it’s critical to learn what works for you. There are a number of stress relieving techniques like deep breathing, laughing, listening to upbeat music that can all shift your energy. First try the three suggestions here and if you would like any additional help, please contact me.