Stress management strategies

Over the years of being stressed, ehm I mean over the years I’ve lived in this world, I’ve come to learn a few stress management strategies. If you take the time to really read through and understand them you might find one or two that is just what you need, at this moment in time.

1. Focus on the current task

Or I could say “Stay present”, but staying present is often one of those things you say but then what does it Actually mean? If you instead think about focusing on the current task that automatically means you’re not thinking of anything else and therefore you’re in the present. Use all your senses to focus on your current task; listen, smell, touch, see and taste. All that is required for you to do a good job on your current task!

2. Stop acting on your emotions

I read this book by Pema Chödrön called “Living beautifully: with uncertainty and change” and she was talking about that when something happens and we get an emotion inside of us, that will actually go away in about 90 seconds unless we act on it. So if you act on the emotion to the incident that happened your brain will sustain it as a feeling, for what might be a long time to come. Ex. If you have a chat to your boss who tells you there will have to be people made redundant at work due to financial issues in the near future and the emotion of fear arises in your body, then continuing thinking and acting on (entertaining) this emotion will make you feel worried. In that situation I would stop and just feel the emotion until it has passed. Following that; instead of repeating the incident and feeling worried you can think about what to do to prevent it from happening.

3. Breathe

Breathing through your nose will help the nervous system to calm down more than when you breathe through the mouth. The box breathing has helped me many times; Breath in, hold, breath out and hold again for the same amount of time. Ex. Breathe in for 3 seconds, hold it for 3 seconds, breathe out for 3 seconds and then hold it again for 3 seconds. Take 2-5 minutes to do this a couple of times throughout the day and you will feel a difference instantly.

4. Put things into perspective

Whenever you’re facing a situation that makes you stressed/nervous/anxious ask yourself; What’s the worst thing that can happen? Is this a life-threatening situation? If it won’t kill you in one way or another, it is probably not something you need or want to stress about. Things like speaking in front of people is not a life-threatening situation (even though most of the people probably would feel like it going into it! A few nerves could of course be good in this situation but maybe not feeling totally stressed out). Nor is being late to a meeting or a restaurant booking, you simply apologize and plan better next time. 

5. Act out of your good heart

Get comfortable with that not everyone in this world will take the things you say the right way. I experienced this last year and wow what a good lesson I learnt. I could sense the energy from a friend of mine and she was not in a good mood and I instantly started thinking of things I said and did, as if it was something that I had done. Without talking about it we went on with our day and after repeating in my head; what did I do to make her upset, I realized that whatever it might’ve been, it came from my heart. I never intend to hurt anyone with my words or acts and this time was not an exception so I changed my mindset and got over it. This realization was a great relief and step in the right direction for me. I now feel comfortable with my best efforts. Later on I found out that she was just having a bad day and it had nothing to do with me.

The thing is that if you are doing your very best to be a good person and all your actions comes from the heart then if those actions are not taken the right way at least you’ve done what you can. I don’t think you should be ashamed of your best efforts, rather think that you learn for next time.

These are a few strategies I’ve learnt the last few years and they’ve become staples in my stress management cup board!

What strategies do you have?