Three Actions You Could Be Taking to Manage Your Stress

June 15, 2019 | by Tricia Parido | Master Coach at Turning Leaves Recovery Life and Wellness Coaching

Everyone experiences stress in different ways. On that same note, everyone has their idea about how they think it is best to manage it. Often what I see is that they have been utilizing the same technique for years and now they are perplexed as to why it is no longer effective.

As people, we grow and change. The same goes for what prompts stress to emerge. What was stressful when we were teens or young adults will not affect us in the same way. We will see things differently as we settle into our professions, get married, become parents or grandparents, and even as we experience traumatic events.

Another thing I see that is so often overlooked is that stress impacts people on several levels. Most often they don’t associate the symptoms being experienced with stressors, they instead associate the symptoms as the cause of their troubles. With life changes, stress can manifest in the physical body which may be telling you that you are stressed in new ways as you move through life stages. It can show up as increased fatigue, more frequent infections, or even skin irritations. Your behavior may feel different. For many individuals, this looks like a greater propensity toward accidents, a new feeling of restlessness, and an inability to quiet the mind adequately to fall asleep. Cognitive complaints that are most frequently shared with me are feeling mentally foggy or trouble remembering, making hasty, impulsive decisions or the lack of being able to decide, and increased negativity. And finally, emotionally, people come to me with high levels of apprehension, in depressive states, depleted confidence, and irrational irritability.

So, if stress triggers morph as we go through life, why wouldn’t our stress management techniques need to change and grow with us? Think about it, you change your workout routine when you want to lose a few pounds, you change your dietary practices as your metabolism slows down, you change your social and recreational activities to match your home and work life responsibilities, and you change your home life structure with new relationships and parenthood.

In an article I wrote some time back I presented the following 3 summarized techniques:

  • Time Management: “find balance by first taking the time to prioritize their duties, projects, or responsibilities in order of importance or categorize them through the method of important-versus-urgent. Second, creating an effective schedule, such as breaking the day down into 30-minute segments and placing each action or activity in order of importance to keep on task, a technique referred to as “time mapping”. The third is the execution stage where the prioritized schedule is implemented, and tasks are completed. Of course, there are additional tips for effective and rewarding execution such as breaking larger projects down into smaller, more manageable components, assigning deadlines, completing one task at a time, and my favorite, always celebrating accomplishments with small but motivating rewards. Finally, when it comes to reducing stress through time management it is important to plan for or expect schedule interruptions, include personal time (in writing), delegate where possible, and maintain healthy boundaries.”
  • Creative problem solving: “it is important that one first understand what the problem is, which requires looking at it objectively from all directions, even from the perspective of others. Then the challenge to generate ideas comes to play. It is here where an individual can pull from the available resources of personal experience, the theories of others, books, articles and so on to explore all conceivable or viable solutions. From there comes idea selection and refinement. Choosing more than one option to manipulate until the idea that fits the problem best is found, one that the outcome can be visualized, weaknesses pinpointed, and adjustments can be made to avoid major pitfalls until there is a solid game plan or strategy which allows for idea implementation, or trying the idea out in the effort of finding resolution. Of course, with every implementation comes the need to evaluate and analyze the outcome. Sometimes the initial solution ends a bit rough and requires more refinement but when one remains curious and open-minded creativity will keep stress at bay.”
  • Cognitive restructuring: “Stressors will need to be identified, an investigation into why the stressor causes distress, recognizing what emotional attitude is tied to each, and the defensive or negative feelings or perceptions will require acknowledgment. From here the person must be willing to reappraise the situation from alternate viewpoints with an open frame of mind with the intent of locating a more neutral and positive stance to handle the issue without rationalizing or suppressing emotions, one with acceptance for what is out of their control.

Perhaps the most difficult challenge for the individual working on cognitive restructuring, or attitudinal change, is in the act of implementing the desired and new outlook they have created. Breaking habits and being comfortable with the unknown can be frightening, which is usually when defense mechanisms will kick in and the familiar responses will come out. Adopting or substituting old, less favorable attitudes and behaviors with more appealing responses takes practice, but the more they are repeated and the more the positive results are experienced they will become as natural as their predecessors. It is crucial, however, with every change, to take the time to evaluate its outcome. The goal is to benefit from the hard work, don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board and continue to make adjustments.”

In my Certified Life Coaching programs your Life Coach, Recovery Coach, or Wellness Coach will work with you through the Turning Leaves unique curriculum Building Milestones to develop all three of these stress management strategies along with a great deal of other capabilities that promote a calm mind, decrease negative perceptions, let go of toxic feelings, and promote realistic perspectives and thoughtful perceptions.

To learn more, click here, complete the inquiry. Or to get started today! Complete the Begin my quality of life form here. Either one will send me confidential notification and I will contact you directly.

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