Is Stress Actually Stressing You Out?...Tackle the strain of...
Is Stress Actually Stressing You Out?...Tackle the strain of stress!
A recent survey found we spend five-and-a-half years of our adult lives completely stressed out. Unsurprisingly money worries topped the poll alongside general stresses and strains of life. With around 50 per cent of people worrying about work and relationships, stress is literally ruining lives.
The word "stress” can be misleading because when unravelling what a person claims is “stress” it has many different meanings. What "stresses" one person doesn't faze another. For example, someone with crushing deadlines feels “stressed” because they can’t sleep. Another person feels "stressed" because their partner drinks too much and they hate arguing about it.
Yet we all understand when someone talks about stress that it’s a general feeling of being pressured, out of control, and/or overwhelmed.
I come across three frequent ways of reacting to negative circumstances. These lead to the three Stress Profiles below. Take this quick quiz to identify your Stress Profile:
1/ You have an imminent deadline you fear you won't meet - do you:
A. Get angry with anything that interferes with your goal
B. Get in a complete panic about what to prioritise
C. Drive yourself on and on to meet it
2/ Your boss has a “go” at you, do you:
A. Have a go at the next person in your path
B. Beat yourself up over not meeting their standards
C. Rack your brains thinking of some way to do a job well for them
3/ When someone lets you down, do you:
A. Shock them with your angry reaction
B. Worry about why they’ve let you down
C. Ensure next time you spell out exactly what they need to do
4/ You finally get to bed after a very long day, do you
A. Fume about things that didn’t go right
B. Lie awake with non-specific, anxious thoughts
C. Fret about what you could’ve done better
5/ Your typical reaction to an unexpected problem is:
A. To want to “pull your hair out”
B. Your mind freezes up, you can’t think straight
C. Mull over every possible thing you can do
Your stress profile means that difficulties in life create loads of anger within you. You’re ready to explode at any time when things don't go your way. The target of your anger often is not the person who caused the problem. Left unchecked your stress profile’s liable to land you in all sorts of hot water.
Mainly Bs - The Hamster -
Like the proverbial hamster-on-the-wheel you go round and round when faced with difficulties, finding it hard to look for solutions. Your stress profile means you worry, you get stressed, but you tend not to face them head on, leaving you burdened with negative feelings. Long term you’re likely to suffer chronic anxiety and even depression.
This stress profile means you rely on yourself 150% even when others could help. You overburden yourself trying to do things to the highest standards. You find it hard to let go. If you're not careful you’ll be prone to exhaustion and illness.
No matter what your Stress Profile there are many things you can do to prevent “stress”. For example, learn to say No to requests that erode having any chill-out time, watch your caffeine intake as well as your alcohol intake. Deal with issues as-and-when they arise so they don't build up. Ensure you switch off anxious thoughts before going to bed and share your worries with loved ones. When feeling unable to reach a target at work give your manager plenty of notice. Learn to delegate and also to switch on a gentler internal "voice" that talks up your good work rather than pointing out mistakes. There are also a number of fun and quirky things to try and here are Six Super Stress-Busting Techniques -
When's the last time you said Yes to a spontaneous invitations? Seize opportunities when they arise and forget things like getting the ironing done.
Have you tried anything like creative writing, painting or dramatics since your schooldays? There's good reason why schoolchildren are encouraged to be creative - doing something creative helps us shed anxieties and worries and focus on a completely different part of our brainpower and energy. As adults we should too!
Music is extremely uplifting. Select the CD that has an emotional connection for you - perhaps from a carefree and happy time in your life. Have it in your CD player, or your IPod to regularly listen to. Hum your Anthem to yourself when you can’t play music.
Reconnect with things you loved as a child. Swing on the swings in your park, rent your favourite childhood movie like The Sound of Music. Buy a bag of penny sweets to savour and let go of adult worries for an afternoon of relaxation.
People carry a lot of tension in their arms and neck. The way to releasing that is to use your hands in relaxing ways. Mix up a batch of bread dough and enjoy the satisfying kneading sensation. Buy modelling clay and savour the moment as you sculpt interesting shapes. Take turns with your partner giving each other sensual massages with lovely, rich oils.
Life Story -
Keeping a journal can be boring but turn your life into a novel! Write as if you were telling a story to a reader not just recording the basic facts of your day.Releasing your thoughts creatively can be relaxing.
A version of this article was published in the Express Newspaper
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