We all experience stress at some point in our lives. Sometimes stress is the result of events in our lives that you have little or no control over, such as being made redundant from a job or the death of a loved one. This type of stress is unavoidable. In this type of situation, it is important to adjust your expectations for yourself, spend time engaging in self-care activities, exercise and seek support from family, friends or a mental health professional.
The other type of stress that you may experience is what I call “avoidable” stress because there are things within your control that you can to do reduce your stress levels.
“Avoidable stress” is often caused by things such:
- Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself
- Over scheduling
- Not differentiating between urgent and non-urgent tasks
- People pleasing (please click here to view short YouTube video)
- Passive communication style
- Negative thinking patterns and beliefs regarding your ability to handle difficult situations
Some strategies for managing stress include:
- Prioritise self-care, especially when you are busy (please click here to view short YouTube video)
- Regular exercise – even a brisk 10 minute walk can reduce stress levels
- Remember not everything is equally urgent or important (please click here to view short YouTube video)
- Avoid using highly emotive statements such as “this is a disaster”, reserve these terms for major life threatening events. Instead you could say, “this situation is frustrating/upsetting/stressful”.
- Use coping statements – such as “this situation is stressful but I am going to get through it. I am going to cope by exercising, taking time out from the problem and seeking support from people who care about me”
- Keep a journal or diary to express your thoughts and feelings rather than “bottling” things up
- Do something fun e.g. dance around the lounge room to an upbeat song, jump on the trampoline with your children or watch a comedy
- Have a massage or a relaxing bath
- Outsource tasks that are time consuming but don’t require your personal attention e.g. cleaning or lawn moving.
- Use slow breathing exercises or mindfulness exercises to reduce physical symptoms of stress (there are many free apps you can download)
- Ask for help from someone you trust
- See a Psychologist to look at whether you have developed some unhelpful thinking patterns which may be increasing your stress and reducing your coping skills
If you are in the Penrith or Katoomba area and would like to see one of the Psychologists from Associated Psychology Practice for a stress management consultation, you can book online by clicking the Book Now button above or calling (02) 4722-3137 during business hours.