“Love yourself. You are the most important person in your life” is one of the most inspiring quotes, and one that can put things into perspective. It means you need to put yourself as a priority and address inconveniences that may bring a toll on your health and wellbeing. One of the most pressing issues these days is stress. Chronic stress increases the risk of developing depression and anxiety in some people. So what can you do about it?
No one is immune to stress. If you’re stressed by your job or something more personal, the first thing you need to do to feel better is to identify the cause.
The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to bad habits such as smoking, drinking or eating high-fat snacks and comfort food. Now that is a sign that you aren’t in control of the situation. Doing nothing will only make your problems worse.
Good stress management involves building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network, and adopting a positive outlook. Here’s how:
It will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.
If you remain passive and think that you can’t do anything about your problem, your stress will only get worse. That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing. The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.
Connect with people
A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way. The activities we do with friends help us relax, have a good laugh and will also help you find solutions to your problems.
Have some ‘me time’
Take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise. Set aside two nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work.
Setting yourself goals and challenges, such as learning a new language, a new skill, a new musical piece, or a new sport, helps build confidence. By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.
Evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient. Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective. If you don’t have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues.
Try to be positive
Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful. Try writing down 3 things that went well, or for which you’re grateful, at the end of every day.
Accept the things you can’t change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over. If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it. In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.
Laugh out loud.
If there’s nothing funny in your life or office, turn to YouTube. Search on “Cats, Fail,” or “Epic Face Plant.” You’ll find lots to laugh out loud at. If you’re not near the Internet, think about something funny.
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