18 October 2023 at 09:29 · 6 min read
Nowadays, because of our constant exposure to high levels of stress, our emotional well-being is more at risk than ever before.
This constant testing of our limits can affect both our physical and emotional health. The end result is stress.
Stress is part of life, something we face every day - from minor challenges to major life crises. Being under stress narrows our ability to function effectively and sometimes it can seem that there is nothing we can do to overcome it. But the truth is we can do more than we might realise.
We might not be able to control the situation itself, but we can control how we will respond to it.
Tips for Relieving Stress
Before we can look to change anything, we must identify which situations cause stress. This can be quite easy when we talk about major life changes or challenges (i.e. divorce, moving, new job etc.). But it can be difficult to identify the thoughts, feelings and behaviours which contribute to our everyday stress level. We need to try to focus on inner feelings and see if we are under stress because of environmental factors (i.e. deadlines) or internal ones - such as our own procrastination.
In order to identify sources, we should analyze situations in a way that we are aware of stress duration: is it temporary or maybe long-lasting? Also, can you distinguish: do the stressors occur only during certain situations or do you feel that is an inherent part of your personality?
The Four A’s (Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept)
For sure it is not healthy to always totally avoid stressful situations. The most important thing is that we learn how to address them, and we can learn to do this in many ways. Some of them are simple and include only saying “no” to another person, your colleague, friend or maybe a family member. With this, you might also come to learn to avoid those particular people who stress you out and in whose company you do not feel comfortable.
If there is no possibility of avoiding a certain situation, you can try to change the way you communicate with someone. This includes more openness and expression of your own emotions and feelings. If something or someone is bothering you, be more assertive and communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. Moreover, compromise is a must in this step, because if you ask for change, you should be willing to do the same.
What would also be beneficial for you is improving your ability to adapt to stressors. It can help you if you try to look at the big picture and change perspective. Ask yourself, “will that situation last only for a few days, months or maybe more?” What’s more, is it worth your time and energy? If the answer is no, focus these elsewhere.
Sometimes we can face situations where stressors are unavoidable. In these situations what will help you is acceptance. This step takes a lot of time and it is difficult for everyone, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change because no one cannot control the uncontrollable.
Meditation and Relaxation
Meditation will bring you short-term stress relief. Mindfulness and meditation will also take time and a lot of practice, but by practising it you can develop better skills which will benefit stress management. By practising it you will be focused more on the present and past and future actions will become more muted but comparison.
Connect to others
Sometimes the most calming activity which you can have is quality time with someone who makes you feel safe and who understands you. Social interaction triggers hormones that can help us prevent and deal with psychological issues. Sharing your thoughts and fears with someone can even help to strengthen your bond with them. With that said, do not expect a close one to fix your problems. They should be there as a listener and support only and should not be viewed as a replacement for the professional accredited abilities of a licensed psychologist.