How to stress less

We all experience feelings of stress. These can be related to a variety of factors including, a distorted work/life balance, financial worries or unfulfilled expectations. Demands to perform are introduced to us from a much younger age, with exams and influences of social media creating pressure to become successful. In adulthood, we are told that we should achieve effective relationships and careers while maintaining a visibly calm exterior. Competition surrounds us, whether we are comfortable with it or not. The need to compromise can mean that we are likely to become more angry and frustrated but unwilling or unable to voice this. It is apparent that stress is on the increase and while some of it is unavoidable, developing your inner strength will ensure that you are paving the way for a positive outcome.

Feeling stressed? Say it!

Some of the power held by repressed worry can be taken away by simply stating how we feel out loud. Recognising your feelings will enable you to become more comfortable with what you are experiencing and prevent you from bottling things up. Ignoring a buildup of stress can often be highly detrimental to your emotional and physical wellbeing. Acknowledging your concern can be a motivator to do something about it.

Become aware of the nature of your stress

It is crucial to recognise the purpose of stress; it can be beneficial and motivate us to achieve our goals, no matter how small. However, prolonged periods of intense worry may lead to burnout. Discover what your stress is connected to and how frequently you feel it. Are you being more snappy than usual? Do you suffer from tension headaches, disturbed sleep or, are you experiencing IBS symptoms? Are you withdrawing from situations which you used to find pleasurable? These may be signs that stress has become overwhelming and is having a damaging impact on your body.

Be here, now

Do you stop to check a ‘quick’ email to find yourself entirely distracted by answering several or do you easily lose track of time scrolling through your social media newsfeed? Many of us now find it difficult to fully switch off with our smart phones on standby. Discover 30 minutes every day just for you; put the mobile away and take time to notice what’s going on around you. Go for a walk. Read a chapter of a book. Listen to music. Whatever works for you, be in the moment.

Reconnect with your loved ones

Do you feel like you’re passing ships with your partner or children? Are you struggling to schedule time with your friends? The key to real connection is communication. Plan for the family to eat dinner together at least two or three times a week. Sharing meals at the table will ensure that you are focused on each other and not the external. Cooking together can also become a way of releasing stress through changing a mundane activity into a creative and bonding experience. Participate in conversation, talking about important moments from your day. You may not feel like the solution is imminent, but it will create safety in knowing your partner is entirely supportive of you and your fears.

Nourish your ego

If you’re unsure of how to approach the suggestions above while suiting your individual needs or you’re finding it difficult to manage your stress, book an appointment with a psychotherapist. Therapy is central to fully understanding yourself and personal challenges before they can be overcome. A safe therapeutic environment will allow you to explore and accept your vulnerabilities to enable you to face difficulties head on. Talking about your feelings may initially sound simplistic or uncomfortable but it’s essential to hear yourself voice concerns and consider how you may be communicating these with others.