The 6th A of Stress Management
And finally….Adjust Your Attitude!
· Your subconscious mind does not hear sarcasm. So how your speak and what you say influences how you feel about yourself. Eliminate saying “I am so stupid” when you do something wrong! Your subconscious believes you when you speak this way and it really does impact the way you and others feel about you. So eliminate words such as "always," "never," "should" and "must" these are telltale marks of self-defeating thoughts....no more "I always mess up," "I should complete everything on my to do list and much more," "I must go do X Y and Z right now".
If you thought these were helpful or have any more strategies that you use, I would love to hear them, please use the comments section below.
The 5th A of Stress Management
Accept the Stressor
· Don’t try to control the uncontrollable
o Trying to change the tide is not going to be possible and trying to fight it will exhaust you. So choosing to surf it, will be easier and a great deal more manageable.
· Look for the upside.
o Again, how do you want to look at things. Finding a positive in a bad situation is very stress reducing. Sometimes we need to stick it out in a job that we don’t like, but need it. Finding one small aspect of it and putting your head down and focusing on the positive aspect, even if that is the paycheck at the end of it, and planning your strategy of finding a new job.
· Share your feelings.
o Talking through the feelings to the right person can help you move towards acceptance and relieve the stress. If you are lucky, you have a friend that can help you laugh through it.
· Learn to forgive.
o Holding on to resentment is really like drinking poison and expecting the person you are angry with to die. Forgiveness is for you and not the other person. Walking through the stages of forgiveness is a journey and one where you will feel lighter at the end of.
The 4th A of Stress Management
Adjust Your Standards
· Good Enough
o There are times when it is more than acceptable for you to be okay with “good enough.” When you haven’t had enough sleep, and its been a long week and you just can’t lift a finger any more, be gentle with yourself and lower that very high bar you set for yourself. We go through bad times and we need to adjust our bar at times, and that is ok, and does not make you any less worthy or deserving as a human being.
· Focus on the positive
o Cheesy I know, but it’s true. There is a great deal to be grateful for and sometimes your mood can shift with a change in perspective. Remind yourself of what you do have and what went right that day. Not everything will be awful....find the light and focus on it.
the 3rd A of Stress Management- ADAPT
Adapt to the Stressor
· Reframe problems
o Sometimes looking at a problem for a different perspective can be helpful. An example of this was the slow water dispenser at the last place I worked. It took a while to fill a water bottle up with drinking water, and it was easy to get frustrated with it. To reframe the event I chose to see my time filling up with water bottle as a couple of minutes where I got to just stand and reflect on my last session, or plan my next session without being interrupted or sidetracked by my screen or phone. Consequently I felt grateful to have the time to myself and not hassled by the ‘time wasted.’
· Look at the big picture- How important is it?
o Will you remember the current annoyance in a weeks time? It is really worth getting that frustrated over? If the answer is 'no', then choose not to have a feeling over it. While moving countries, things did not go smoothly, and there were times when I just said “I am not going to have a feeling about this, life is too short, and I want to enjoy my day’ and I moved on.
Alter the Stressor
· Express your feelings instead of bottling them up
o Holding on to and stewing over negative feelings is a bad idea and can lead to unnecessary stress. Talking to the person that upset you is a way to show up for yourself and even if the other person did not hear your frustrations, you are worth standing up for.
· Be willing to compromise
o Sometimes we don’t get exactly what we want, and coexisting with other sometimes means we don’t get our way. It will lead to longer and happier and more harmonious relationships.
· Be more assertive
o Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean. Be very clear about what it is that you want to say. If you are gearing up for a difficult conversation then have one point that you want the other person to hear. Just one point. That way when the other person tries to deflect or change the subject you can bring them back to the point you are wanting them to hear.
· Manage your time better
o Stop trying to fit too much into your day. Be realistic with your time management. Showing up for things on time will feel better and be less stressful than constantly fighting the clock. Have no more than 4 things on your to do list for any given day.
The 1st A of Stress Management- AVOID
We all experience stress, the good the bad and the, at times, ugly. The good kind, a.k.a eustress is the kind of stress that is a bit exciting and can be motivating, such as getting engaged, receiving a promotion, about to present a talk that you have worked hard on. These elevate your heartbeat, fill your body with adrenaline and dopamine and lets your body know that things are happening, but these hormones quickly subside and you return to a homeostasis fairly quickly. The bad kind, is distress and is cumulative. Distress is an unhealthy relationship, a negative work environment, or facing bankruptcy. The body does not do well under long periods of time where cortisol (the stress hormone) is flowing through your bloodstream. It can lead to weight gain, immune system suppression, gastrointestinal problems, cardiovascular disease and fertility difficulties, so stress management is vital for maintaining good health and happiness.
Being able to recognise when you are experiencing long term stress side effects is key to change. Not everyone experiences that exact same side effects, but there is a cluster of symptoms; Insomnia, change in appetite, sexual disorders, aches and pains, frequent colds and flus, and feelings of intense long term fatigue.
Here are 6 key strategies for managing stress. I call them the 6 A’s.
Avoid the Stressor
· Learn how to say ‘no’.
o Every time you are asked to do something, say ‘NO.’ seems drastic I know, but if after you have thought about it, and you find that you can REALISTICALLY fit it in, then you can always go back and say ‘yes’. It is much easier than saying “I know I said I could do that for you, but now I can’t do it after all.
· Avoid people who stress you out.
o If you leave the company of someone and you consistently feel deflated, sad, angry, dismissed, just a bit 'ick'…then do yourself the favour of avoiding this person, they just aren’t that good for you!
· Take control of your environment
o If you don’t like where you live and you can reasonably do so, then move. If you have pictures that you have meant to put in frames and hang up, do it, don’t put it off any longer. If you know you need to change jobs to get away from the toxic work place send out those CVs, don’t put it off any longer. Take charge.
· Avoid hot-button topics
o When you go out with friends and there is a hot button topic that annoys you, ask to not talk about it. My friend recently went for dinner with friends who were also mothers and said “please can we not talk about our children during this meal,” and consequently had a wonderful conversation about other things.
· Pare down your to-do list
o Rather than feeling like you are constantly fighting with your to-do list do not put more than 3 things on it per day. Having a feeling of success at the end of the day will leave you feeling a whole lot better about what you accomplished.