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Stress Management: Give Stress the Boot

Summary: With rising economic pressures and focus on short term results, Australian’s are working under prolonged conditions of stress with little support on how to manage and reduce it. Stress is not only the silent killer creating disease and illness but is also a major cause of poor productivity, low morale and attitudinal derailment.

The challenge in today’s times is how to master our stress management and feel calmer and emotionally composed when so many demands and constraints are placed upon us.

In stress management the notion of stress is extremely subjective; what may be stressful to one person may not seem stressful to another. What is important is that most of the stress we feel, regardless of what causes it, is harmful.

If we can reduce it we’ll not only live happier, healthier and more contented lives, we’ll also be able to carry out our work with more focus, performing closer to our highest potential, one of the ultimate stress management goals!

We often believe that the events in our lives are responsible for our feelings of stress and that our circumstances determine the way we feel.

In doing so, we become a victim to our circumstances allowing them to control our emotions and our mental wellbeing.

To challenge this notion, we first need to understand how the process of how stress actually comes about.

Here is an important formula for stress management;

We first experience an event, situation or circumstance.

We then have a thought about the event.

We then experience an emotion about it.

Event                       Thought                    Emotion

It’s your thought about a situation that determines the way you feel.

Stress is a feeling and what causes that feeling is what you’re thinking. Generally, you don’t have a stressful feeling without first having a stressful thought.

From a stress  management perspective it is important to remain positive and keep stressful thoughts at bay.

Here are 3 tips that can help your stress management ability:

Stress Management Tip 1: Transform your Thought Attacks™

Whenever you are faced with a stressful situation and thinking negatively about it i.e. having a Thought Attack™, ask yourself “How else can I interpret this?” Find a new way of looking at the situation. Discover the hidden benefit and opportunity that can result from it.

Stress Management Tip 2: Tell a Different Story

Often we are unaware that the majority of our communication consists of telling stories about the experiences we’ve had. What stories are you telling about your stressful management experience? Are you painting a picture of doom and gloom or could you relate it in a more positive way? We so often victimise ourselves in the stories we relate to others in order to receive compassion and understanding, but there is no benefit in focusing on the problem instead of the solution. Commit to only talking about your challenges in a positive light.

Stress Management Tip 3: Keep Perspective

It’s important to see things as they are not worse then they are. In a stressful moment it is easy to catastrophise and lose perspective. This most often occurs when we feel threatened or fearful about the consequences of a situation.  In these circumstances evaluate the things you can and can’t control. Take the necessary actions that can help alleviate the problem. If you feel you have lost perspective, consult a colleague or trusted friend to get objectivity. Discuss the options available and keep your thoughts focused on the way you want the situation to turn out.

And remember, “If you think the worst and get the worst you suffer twice. It you think the best and get the worst you only suffer once!”

InnerCents specialised in stress management, leadership training and executive coaching.