Stress can't be eliminated but it can be managed. Stress management gives you a variety of tools to reset the "fight or flight" stress response and restore yourself to calm.
Understand your Triggers: A major component of stress management is developing the ability to readjust how you react to stressful situations. To build this skill, you must first take an honest look at the types of things that trigger stress for you—and why.
It's not always easy to admit that you're stressed out by things that may not bother other people. For example, some people are energized by meeting new people, going new places and doing new things. Others find those situations highly stressful.
Choose Your Reactions: Knowing the types of situations you tend to find stressful, gives you a chance to decide how you want to react. Is there anything you can change about the situation? Can it be avoided? What has getting upset about similar situations accomplished in the past?
For example, a co-worker at a new company makes fun of you for making a simple mistake—and you find this stressful. Do you:
- Get mad at him or her and brood over how you're going to get even?
- Call a co-worker or family member and talk about it?
- Take a deep breath and decide it's not the end of the world?
For most people, staying mad is the most stressful option—even though it may feel somewhat pleasurable.
Talking a stressful event over with a trusted friend or family member (hopefully one that prefers calm to chaos) helps many people let go of their anger.
People who use the third option experience the least stress—particularly if they use deep breathing as a method of calming and relaxing themselves.
Learn to Relax: Deep breathing, yoga, tai chi and meditation are all techniques that activate the body's relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response.
When practiced regularly, these activities lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels and a boost in your feelings of joy and serenity. They also increase your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure.
Practice Self-Care: The same things that promote health and well being, such as eating healthy foods at regular intervals, getting enough sleep, taking breaks and exercising regularly, are often the first things people stop doing when under stress. Resist the impulse to zone out in front of the TV after a stressful day and take a walk or do something fun with a friend instead.
Pathways to Well Being Call VITAL WorkLife at 800.383.1908 or access resources through your VITAL WorkLife App.