There’s good stress and bad stress.
A deadline, for example, can be motivating if you are prepared, have all the research done and you are enjoying writing an article.
When a deadline is bad for us though is when it is looming, you are short of time, the research for the article is incomplete and the phone goes to say you’ve forgotten your appointment with the dentist! You feel your heart racing, your breathing is shallow, you feel unwell.
The deadline is the same. What causes the problems though is how you have managed the situation.
Try these tips: (Is #5 the best?)
Try these tips for managing stress:
- Learn to relax. This is not easily accomplished when you feel stretched to breaking point but it is the most important action you can take to counteract stress. Relaxation quietensthe busy mind, decreases blood pressure and breathing rate, and generally increases a sense of well-being.Try Dr. Lamont’s ‘calming technique’. Close your eyes and ‘see’ yourself take a step back. Inhale deeply, and as you slowly exhale say to yourself ‘Calm mind’. Visualize your mind calming and emptying itself of all the busy thoughts. Take another deep breath, and as you slowly exhale, say to yourself “Relaxed body”, feeling the tension leave your body and running out through your hands and feet.
- Think positively. How you think makes all the difference to whether you will become chronically stressed or not. Harvard University students were taught that the stress they felt before an exam would actually improve performance. What do you think happened? Yes, compared to students who were not taught stress would help them, the ‘stress’ group achieved consistently higher scores both in the mock and real examinations. Changing the way you look at situations helps you manage stress and build brain resilience.
- Stay connected to other people. When you are overburdened, personal contacts seem to be the first thing that falls off your over-burdened plate. Make time for friends and family. They can be the best buffer between you and stress. Social engagement is a vital factor in physical and mental health, and for brain and memory to function well.
- Go out for a walk. Exercise releases endorphins – the feel good hormones – into the brain. Countless research studies have shown that exercise counteracts the effects of stress and, as a bonus, boosts memory. Exercise also promotes sound sleep, reduces the likelihood of depression, and boosts well-being.
- Take control of the situation. Being in stressful situations can leave you feeling powerless. Look at the situation from every angle and see if there is anything you can change. If necessary, enlist help. Taking control builds confidence so that you can handle anything that comes your way.
- Enjoy humour. Enjoying a good laugh lowers the cortisol and adrenaline levels resulting from stress. Studies have found that even thinking about something funny has a positive effect reducing stress.
You can’t always change the stressful situations in which you find yourself, but you can learn to manage it.