Stress management is a daily battle. Sometime when I am delivering a presentation on stress management, I’m thinking to myself, “Man, did I ever need this.”
People sometimes will ask me, “What are the five stress management techniques that work?”
One: Set a variety of goals. Setting goals relieves stress because it gives you hope that your life can be different. In every area of your life; career, financial, family, friends, physical, educational, and spiritual, the formula for goal setting stays the same. For instance, if it is to follow a healthy diet, decide clearly what you want. Give yourself a deadline for achievement. Connect with the people, groups and organizations you will need to work with to learn the knowledge and develop those skills to be successful. Finally, put together a plan of action.
Two: Talk it out. Talk out your troubles or concerns with a mentor or a confidential friend to cope with stress. If you are worried about burdening them, consider a therapist to assist you in exploring your feeling overwhelmed, or negative thoughts, or chronic stress. Consider talk therapy when feeling overwhelmed.
Three: Turn off mobile notifications. Be sure to turn off notifications for all of your work-affiliated apps all the way down to whatever instant messaging service your office is tethered to. Disconnecting from your phone, laptop, and other technology as often as you can, is one of those relaxation techniques that will help you deal with stress quickly.
Four: Take off some Fridays and Mondays. Take a bunch of long weekends throughout the year. The concerns about taking extended periods for a long vacation will disappear. Preparing for long vacations can tax your mental health, while shorter trips or downtime, support the health of your mind and body.
Five: Worry with a writing instrument. Make a list of all problems or concerns that are causing stress in your life. Rank them from most troublesome to least troublesome. Review your top five concerns and brainstorm at least three possible solutions for each. Select the problem that seems most pressing and create a plan of action. Define what a successful outcome to this problem will look like. Strive for that outcome as a stress response technique.
A frequently asked question is, “What are ten stress management techniques?”
One: Consider what you can learn from the experience. When you approach a challenge with an open mind, there is always something you can learn from crises. Recognize it, respond to it, and remember lessons learned from it. You will reduce your stress when you think of the experience as a case study and as a teacher.
Two: Practice acceptance: You need to be in charge of your emotions, rather than your emotions being in charge of you. Make choices that are reasonable, then hope for the best, plan for the worst, accept what you get.
Three: Gather information. Consider risk. Identify conflicting facts. Ask others’ advice. Then make the call. Take action.
Four: Learn to say no, even to the good things. Consider offering an alternative. Instead of heading up the committee, offer to bring snacks to the meetings or cut them a check instead. Learning to say no is an important part of simplifying your life and managing your stress.
Five: Create routines for ordinary tasks: Start your day by reciting a couple of positive affirmations that empower you and take a few deep breathes before you start your commute. When you get to work, review your list of things to do today, and prioritize your list so you feel some control over your day. Schedule a morning and an afternoon walking break and get some physical activity. Review your list of accomplishments and compliment yourself for getting important work done and then head home.
Six: Be polite. Common courtesies go a long way in nurturing personal and professional relationships, but did you know it can help you manage your stress. Just the simple act of smiling has a positive impact on your attitude and emotional well-being.
Seven: Be decisive. Follow a proven process for sound decision-making. Make it a personal policy that you don’t let the stress motivate your decisions. If you can, run your decision by someone you know and trust that is calm. Ask your colleague to honestly point out flaws or blind spots in your logic. Now make a good decision, make plans for implementation, and feel the relief.
Eight: Get a pet. Pets can relieve stress, if you pick the right pet. There’s a reason why over 43 million households in the United States own a dog and more than 36 million households own a cat. Research supports the idea that pets help reduce stress. Whether it is a dog, cat, bird, reptile, rabbit, fish, spider, or any other animal, animals seem to help reduce stress.
Nine: Get some plants. Researchers have found that being around plants can induce a relaxation response. One study found that a group of stressed-out people who entered a room full of plants enjoyed a four-point drop in their blood pressure.
Ten: Avoid negative people. Danny Downers and Negative Nellies are everywhere. They’re tiring. Negative people can be physically, psychologically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually draining. If you have to interact with negative people, minimize your exposure and have an emotional survival kit to pick yourself back up emotionally and mentally.
The follow up question is usually, “What are the three stress management techniques to relieve stress?”
One: Consider a massage. Many businesses, hospitals and clinics, and I have noticed, even airports, offer massage therapy to employees, patients, customers, and travelers. Consider self-massage techniques such as massaging your neck, shoulders, or feet. Massage is just one of many remedies for reducing stress.
Two: Monitor yourself. What are you thinking? What are you feeling? What are you going to do about it? Make a plan.
Three: Understand motivation. Stress can be motivating, and then, again, it can be just plain stressful. With the appropriate amount of stress, people do respond with increased productivity and creativity. However, too much stress and both drop and are replaced with anxiety and high blood pressure.
Most people are aware of the fight or flight response and ask, “How can I manage the fight or flight response through relaxation techniques when I am feeling overwhelmed?”
When there is an activating event that ignites the fight or flight response, there is an interpretation or a belief that quickly follows, and then there is a consequence, the stress one feels inside; feeling overwhelmed. Take deep breaths, and reconsider your overly negative thoughts. Try to neutralize the negative thinking. Substitute new thoughts and new beliefs. These relaxation techniques will counteract feeling overwhelmed.
One of the pressures people feel is related to poor time management, theirs’ or someone else’s. So, people ask, “How can time management help me cope with stress?”
Time management helps you keep projects on schedule, and helps you keep your commitments to coworkers, friends, and family. Because of good time management skills, you feel in control and that helps you cope with stress. Time management assures you that you are in the right place at the right time and ready for action.
Stress often leads to negative thoughts and catastrophic thinking. People will ask, “How can I employ an effective stress response when I’m experiencing negative thoughts that get in the way of my ability to deal with stress?”
First, all information simply comes through your senses. It’s raw data. No meaning has been applied to it. The second stage is interpretation. Interpretation is the intellectual question “Why?” Why would a person do that? Why would a person say that? Then, based upon your interpretation, you have a feeling. Once you are trapped in an emotional state; it limits your options of what you could say or what you could do and may get in the way of your ability to deal with stress. Finally, express your best option. Slow down the process and you can minimize the mistakes and the stress in your life.
Managing stress is a daily battle. However, with a healthy diet, some deep breaths, a little physical activity, and a few relaxation techniques, you can deal with stress.
If you need to find a motivational keynote speaker, plenary speaker, breakout speaker, concurrent session speaker, seminar leader, or workshop facilitator who can deliver in-person, virtually, or via prerecorded session, Kit Welchlin earned an M.A. (Master of Arts Degree in Speech Communication), the CSP (Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association), the CVP (Certified Virtual Presenter Designation from eSpeakers), and is a nationally recognized professional motivational speaker and author and can be found at www.welchlin.com.