HOW TO: Manage Stress, Part II: Improve how you react to Stress

A few weeks ago, we spoke about identifying your stress triggers. Now, let’s focus on ways which you can improve your reaction to these stressful situations.

 Step 1: Look at your existing responses.

Look at the responses you currently undertake when you encounter a stressful situation. For example, if you get annoyed due to a rough day, pressure based on your financial situation or because of other matters, then monitor how you respond: do you get angry, irritated, shout in public, get physically involved? The first step to solving a problem is understanding that a problem exists.

thinking about stress, react to stress, reaction to stressful events in life
How do you normally respond to stress?

Step 2: React better

When you have the time, take 15minutes to view Dr. Kelly Mcgonigals’ TED talk on How to Make Stress your friend. It’s fascinating, as it suggests that your perception of stress defines how stress effects you. For example, believing stress is bad means that people are more likely to have more ‘stress related illnesses’. However, if you perceive stress to be a good method to get yourself ‘ready’ for life’s challenges, it can serve you well by allowing you to form relationships with people (to help you through tough times) and releasing Oxytocin, sometimes called the ‘happy hormone’ which is associated with feelings like joy and ecstasy. 

ted talk given by dr kelly how to make stress your friend
Dr Kelly gives her TED talk

Step 3: Application

That being said, learn to improve your reaction to stressful events. Below are 5 popular tips to get started:

1. Count to 10 slowly: Sometimes you just need to step back and relax.

2. Be in Control: Realize that you can only control your actions, and not the action’s of others. Basically, you alone determine how you react according to the challenges life throws at you.

3. Get a stress ball: These are available in Sri Lanka in Pettah and numerous other locations. If you cant get them, consider buying them online (Upto Rs. 500) and since they are made of foam, just squeeze them whenever you get worked up. The idea is to transfer all your stress onto the foam ball. This is especially popular among working individuals!

stress ball

4. Prioritize: If you work or are in university, learn to prioritize your workload. Order your activities based on the most important ones and create a work routine. Tackling the most pressing issues first will make life a little easier. Take a notepad, or use apps

5. Get healthier: if you’re not doing so already, learn to exercise often and eat healthier. You can run, go to the gym, play a sport, do yoga, get involved in Zumba-anything you like, but be consistent. Consitency in eating well and exercising gives you peace of mind and goes a long way towards improving your health

How do you manage stress? Tell us in the comments below!

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.

HOW TO: Manage Stress. Part I: What Stresses you out?

Stress is built into our system, its part of our ‘fight or flight’ system. Its how our bodies adapt to challenging situations. That said, we seemingly believe that stress is always bad for you. This is not true.

stressed out
Confused? Keep reading

Upto a certain level stress is good as the adrenaline keeps us going, and helps us overcome our struggles. However too much stress affects you negatively by disrupting your sleeping patterns, causes difficulty in concentrating on tasks and makes people a lot more irritable and anxious. In a nutshell, stress can be visualized onto a graph such as this:

stress

How do you know if you’re stressed? Here are the signs.

  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling irritable
  • Frequent headaches
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Difficulty falling asleep

 

destress
Identify what makes you stressed out, and learn to relax

Common Stress Triggers

Now that you can understand when you’re stressed, its necessary to know what causes stress. Common stress triggers often include the following, but aren’t limited to:

  • Financial difficulties
  • Getting injured or badly ill
  • Traumatic events such as war, violence or natural disasters.
  • Emotional issues such as anger, depression and low self esteem
  • Work stress
  • Significant life events: losing a job, death in the family, moving to a new country, divorce, getting married.
notepad
Homeowork: Write down your stress triggers

Now, Ask yourself: ‘What stresses me out?’ and write these down. Now that you know what your stress triggers are, you will be more prepared to deal with stress the next time it happens. We will cover this more in part II. Until then, have a low-stress week!

Note:– If you think you need a rest day, you might use the upcoming long weekend to relax and take a rest day.

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Disclaimer: The views shared in this blog are based on the macro economic conditions & industry status quo as per the time of publishing.