Stress seems to be everywhere these days, and you may feel like it’s a constant companion of yours too. You are not alone if you are becoming overwhelmed by feelings of stress.
Many of us are regularly under pressure and don’t know how to manage stress and anxiety effectively. Undealt stress can build up over time and even lead to long-lasting physical and mental health problems.
That may seem pretty scary, but there are many techniques you can easily incorporate into your day to manage and reduce your stress levels. With the right techniques, you will better understand where your stress is coming from, how you can cope with it, and what you can do to reduce it now and in the future.
Figure Out the Main Source of Stress
Stress is often caused because we have taken on too much, and we can’t handle everything on our plate. When we have too many things on, it can feel impossible to get through all of our to-do’s and even more impossible to pause and cope with our stress.
So, if you are feeling stressed, what can you do? The first step should be working out your stressors and where they come from. Are there any areas in your life that regularly add to or cause stress in your life? Perhaps you struggle to plan your time, have too many chores to do around the house, or have too many responsibilities at work. Whatever it is for you, the fastest way to address and resolve stress is to find where it’s coming from.
Sometimes it’s easy to see what’s causing our stress. If you’ve just had a big career change or moved house, those can be stressful events and probably put you under a fair amount of pressure. But what about when life is plodding on as normal?
For instance, have you been wondering how to manage stress at work, in college, or in life? Do feelings of stress pop up all the time? Perhaps you say it's because you always have tons of things to do or just a million and one on at the moment. Whatever the case, you can’t remember the last time you had time to relax.
It’s faster to find specific coping mechanisms once you recognize and understand the origin of your stress. Take some time to think about when your stress occurs. If you’re struggling, make a record of when you feel most stressed. You’ll be better able to identify the most beneficial coping and management techniques once you have this information.
Learn How to React in the Moment
It’s helpful to know how to react to stress in the moment. The best techniques can be used anywhere, take very little practice, and provide immediate relief.
In any given situation, you can react in one of two ways: you can change the situation, or you can change your attitude towards it.
The same techniques won’t work every time, so you’ll need to learn what works for you and when it works best.
Changing the situation
Sometimes the most effective way to deal with stress will be to alter the situation itself. Studies have shown that problem-focused coping helps maintain well-being when under stress.
When you’re dealing with a stressful situation, the first thing is to analyze the situation. Work out the key stressor and think of how you can cope with it.
You may be able to change the situation if you feel overwhelmed with stress because your boss has added more tasks to your workload. You could say no to some of the tasks. Or communicate that the workload is too heavy and you can't complete it alone. You could also delegate some things to other colleagues to minimize your stress.
Whenever you have a lot to do, try and prioritize. Work out what needs doing most urgently and what can be left till later, reassigned, or left off completely.
There will always be stress in life, but you shouldn’t be overwhelmed. It can be difficult, but if you are constantly feeling stressed and under pressure, you need to think about cutting stressors from your life.
Changing your attitude
If you cannot change the situation directly, you can still change your attitude. Many people find adjusting their emotional response helps them manage stress.
Sometimes, the best thing we can do is change our thinking and emotions towards a situation. There are several ways to do this, including:
- Accepting imperfections. Some situations are stressful because we put too much pressure on ourselves. If you are constantly striving for perfection, and are unwilling to accept something as just good enough, then this is likely you. It’s time to let go of that ideal. None of us are flawless, and trying to achieve perfection all the time will leave you feeling more stressed than needed.
- Looking for the upside and the bigger picture. When you’re struggling to manage your stress, try to take a step back. Is there an upside to this situation you might not have seen? Or can you see the bigger picture? Is it something that will matter in a week, a month, or a year?
- Taking a break. We all need to take a break sometimes. How can you effectively manage stress if you never give yourself time away? You’re not a machine, and you need a breather.
- Meditating. Meditation can help you understand how to deal with stress and stay calm when dealing with a difficult situation. As part of your meditation, you may also find it helpful to practice gratitude. This type of thinking can help improve your stress management by changing your emotions and shifting focus from the stressful event.
Learn Long-Term Coping Strategies
It is also important that you arm yourself with long-term coping strategies. With these, you won't always be putting out fires as they occur. Check out our suggestions for some excellent guidance on how to manage stress in life, at work, at home, and in college.
Regular exercise releases happy and calming chemicals into our bodies. It improves our mood, sleep, and even our stress-coping abilities. One study showed that 68% of teens reported exercise helped them manage stress. Another study found that yoga significantly improved participants' health by reducing stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and avoidance behaviors.
A healthy and well-balanced diet will give your body the nourishment it needs, so you feel more energized and able to manage stress.
Mindfulness and self-care
Focusing on this specific moment reduces worry about the past and fear for the future. It is helpful for both relieving feelings of stress and improving stress management. Taking this time for yourself can also offer a chance to practice self-care and decompress.
Gratitude and positive thinking
Practice gratitude as frequently as you can. It will help you view the world around you more optimistically and encourage positive thinking. The more positive our outlook, the better we can manage stress and the less stressed we are likely to feel.
Online therapy can be incredibly helpful for people struggling to manage stress. There is no need to travel, and times are flexible with online therapy sessions. So even very busy people can slot an online counseling session in without adding extra stress to their mental load.
Final Words on Stress Management
Dealing with stress can be difficult, and sometimes we struggle to overcome it alone. Take a deep breath. There are plenty of things to try when you are overwhelmed with stress. Have a go at some of the stress management and coping techniques we’ve discussed.
You may want to seek professional help if you are still looking for ways to manage stress.