Deadlines, piles of laundry, interviews, traumas, and teenagers - what do they all have in common? Stress.
Stress is your body’s way of protecting you. When you begin to feel any kind of demand, danger, or threat, (whether it's real or not), your body responds with the ‘stress response’, similar to the “flight or fight” response.
Good vs Bad Stress
Stress can help you rise to meet challenges. It helps you stay on your toes during a presentation, gives you that extra burst of energy to score the winning goal, and drives you to fold that last load of laundry when you’d rather plop down on the couch.
But there comes a certain point when stress stops being helpful and instead becomes harmful to your body and mental state.
Listen to Yourself
What stresses you out depends on your perception of it. Some people get excited about flying, while someone who doesn’t like to fly may be stressed for weeks before they travel.
How well you deal with stress can be affected by many factors:
Your support network. Having someone to lean on when you’re stressed out can go a long way. Building a strong network of friends and/or family can prevent succumbing to stress.
Your sense of control. Self-confidence and your perspective on life can have a huge effect on your stress tolerance. If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, it’s easier to take stress in stride.
Your attitude and outlook. If you’re generally hopeful and optimistic, you’ll be less vulnerable to stress. Embrace challenges, have a strong sense of humour, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.
Your ability to deal with your emotions. Having the ability to deal with your emotions can actually increase your tolerance to stress. Figure out ways to calm and soothe yourself when you feel triggered, angry, sad, or upset in any way.
Your knowledge and preparation. You wouldn’t go into a client meeting without preparing for it, would you? If you know you are going into a stressful situation, prepare yourself by learning everything you can so you can expect a realistic experience and outcome.
How to Prevent Stress
The most important thing in stress prevention is recognising what is stressing you out. These situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors or triggers. And this doesn’t always have to be negative events; anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful. Such as a wedding, a new baby, or buying a new house.
It doesn’t always come from an external factor either, stress can be generated internally when we worry too much over something that could possibly happen, from a pessimistic attitude, or when we continually use negative self-talk.
How to Control Stress Once you have identified that you are stressed out and why you will want to find ways to help handle those stressful situations.
If having to clean the entire house on your day off every week is preventing you from having any leisure time, try to fit a cleaning service into your budget. If ironing shirts is keeping you up, drop them at the cleaners on your way to work.
If you are having trouble concentrating on your work because of loud noise in the office, consider buying a pair of earplugs.
If you are feeling lonely or embarrassed about your stress levels, don’t harbour it. Find a loved one to talk to or even a professional. There is nothing shameful about recognising that something is holding you back and saying you want help.
If you’re having trouble pointing out your triggers, or are not sure how to control them, don’t be afraid to speak up. You’ll be amazed how far simply talking to someone can take you. Would you like to keep this to yourself? Read here how our specialist therapists can help you overcome your stress from the convenience and privacy of your home.