Stress. Everyone deals with it at some point in their lives.
Stress can come from family, work, relationships and more. It’s a source of tension that disrupts our daily life and has long term effects on our health.
While it’s almost impossible to avoid all forms of stress, there are ways to prevent it from taking over your life. In fact, learning to manage stress is one of the most important things you can do as you make progress toward your goals. Read below for five strategies you can use to effectively manage the stress in your life.
Control Your Thoughts: A good place to start with stress management is learning to control your thoughts. Our thoughts are extremely powerful and can be a source of additional stress during difficult times. When you spend your time focused on the things that cause you stress, your mind is in a constant state of anxiety, making it harder to come up with solutions to your problems.
The key is to train your mind to focus on the things that make you feel powerful and resilient, not fearful and defeated. It’s not easy, especially during stressful times, but once you learn to control your thoughts you can fill your mind with positivity and use it to push you forward.
Problems= Opportunities: When you’re faced with a new problem, what’s the first thing you do, think and feel? Most of us immediately react, doing a bunch of things that actually increase the stress we’re trying to reduce. However, when you start to see your problems as challenges you approach them with a different mindset. Instead of feeling like a victim, you feel like a problem-solver who recognizes her skills and uses them to her advantage. Once you overcome one challenge, you’re ready to tackle the next and the next and eventually your life becomes easier to manage.
Working on your life in this way requires a strong commitment because it will be tough at times. When things get hard, you need to focus on your “why” and keep pushing through. Once you switch your mindset from problem to solution focused you’ll become an unstoppable problem solving machine!
Recognize Your Skills: If someone asked you to name your personal strengths, how quickly could you list five of them? If I asked you to list your last three major accomplishments, would you struggle to remember? On the other hand, if I asked you to list your last three disappointments or tell me about your struggles, we’d probably be talking for hours. We’re all guilty of this. It’s so much easier to talk and think about what we don’t have, which brings additional frustration and stress into our lives.
Regardless of your circumstances you have a wealth of personal strengths you use on a daily basis. Only when you recognize those skills can you use them to your advantage and keep your stress under control. When problems arise in your life, you can pull from your strengths to handle them quickly and efficiently.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: This can be a hard one. For me, stress is the one thing that causes me to be less productive. When my mind is bogged down with worries it’s almost impossible for me to remain productive and stay focused on my goals.
The one thing that keeps me moving forward is my vision of the future. Just knowing that one day the problem will be gone and I’ll be living my dream is enough to keep me going even when life is spinning out of control.
If you can stay focused on your end result, you can continue to push yourself through the stress and make progress toward your goals. Taking one small step a day will keep you motivated and In fact, you can use stressful times as a test of your resilience and determination. Stay focused on your goals and the hard times won’t seem so tough.
Ask for Help: The most important thing on this list is to ask for help if your stress becomes too overwhelming. As soon as you notice your stress becoming too intense, you shouldn’t hesitate to get support from others. This could be your friends and family, a mentor or coach, or a trained professional like a social worker or therapist. A supportive network of friends, family and professionals provides extra motivation as you deal with life’s challenges.
There’s no magic solution to remove the stress from your life. The best you can do is manage it so you can be as happy and relaxed as possible. A relaxed mind is also a productive, resourceful mind which is exactly what you need to make your dreams a reality. If you apply the tips above in your daily life I’m sure you’ll start to feel more empowered and better able to manage your stress.