Stop Contributing To Your Stress

Some people have certain personality traits that help them overcome stress such as optimism, a tendency to take action and a sense of humor. You can develop these traits.

Have you ever wondered how to stop contributing to your stress? Here are tips to better manage your stress.

Accept what you cannot change. Be optimistic.

Many of us worry about things we cannot control. For instance, imagine your company has just purchased new software that you don’t know how to use. Worrying increases your stress. Instead, ask your supervisor about a training you can take or a coworker for help who knows how to use the system. When you can’t change a situation, try thinking: “I’ll laugh about this someday.” “Maybe some good will come from this.” “What can I learn from this?” By focusing on the positive, you can discover solutions to the problems and feel less stressed.

Practice positive self-talk.

Every time you hear a negative message in your mind, say something positive to replace it. For example, instead of saying, “I’ll never be good at making speeches”, try saying “I’ll just keep practicing and do my best. No one expects me to be perfect.”

Here are a few tips for reducing stress.

  • Get up on time so you aren’t rushed.

  • Minimize interruptions especially when you need to concentrate

  • Ask for help when you need it. Ask your kids to help with chores or ask a colleague for help on a project at work.

  • Get organized so you can find things quickly.

  • Remind yourself of your accomplishments rather than concentrating on what isn't done

  • Designate a time and place to do your work and leave it there.

  • Plan ahead by determining when a task must be finished and how much time it will take. Overestimate how long it will take to finish a job such as a report for work or term paper especially if you haven’t done it before.

  • Break big jobs down into small chunks as they will seem more manageable. You will also feel a sense of accomplishment as you finish each part.

  • Take breaks periodically because you will work more efficiently when you return to a project.

  • Look for ways to be more efficient such as cooking several meals at once and refrigerating them for the week ahead.

  • Determine your priorities and spend your time on the most important activities. For example, spending time with your family may be more important than a spotless home.

  • Group similar tasks and do them at the same time. For example, make all your phone calls at once or pay bills at the same time.

Include yourself in your schedule and make time for free time.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by all you have to do, you may be sacrificing free time. Free time doesn’t mean fill the space with something. Sometimes, we need days to be lazy and to do absolutely nothing. Along with scheduling work, make time to exercise, take a bubble bath, binge watch shows on Netflix, read, spend

time with family and friends, etc.

Learn to say no.

Saying no to another household chore, social event or activity will prevent burn-out and resentment. Don’t feel guilty when you say no. It’s not always easy, but with practice you can learn.

Take a look at how you are spending your time.

Write down the activity and how long you spend on it. For example, you may spend 45 minutes to and from work. And you may spend two hours cleaning your home and washing dishes. Ask yourself, “Are there tasks that could be delegated?” “Are you getting enough time for your favorite activities?” “Could you have done anything more efficiently?” “Do you see any problem areas?” Try changing your schedule so that it is more realistic, gives you free time and reduces stress.

This piece was originally was originally written and inspired by the self-care handbook on stress management.

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