How to avoid stress

February 6, 2012 · No Comments

Spending time on holiday with loved ones and new found friends is the most common way to unwind from the stress of everyday life. Rather than escaping from stress the best way to cope is to try and learn how to avoid it all together. Here are a few tips on how this can be done...

Positive Thinking
Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. It's not easy and will take considerable practice. How you think can have a profound effect on your emotional and physical well-being. People who maintain a positive attitude and practice positive thinking experience less stress than those who are pessimistic and negative. When failure occurs always look for the upside. The next time a challenge presents itself or something doesn't go your way, look at it as a learning opportunity.

Be realistic
Don't expect people, or anything else, to live by your rules. Dealing with unmet expectations is a huge source of stress. Make sure you set realistic expectations for others and make sure they understand them. Expecting people to fulfil your unspoken expectations is a sure fire way to get a dose of unwanted stress. Also, don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control, including the behaviour of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control. When things do go wrong, and they will, learn when to pick your battles. Unless something is really important to you, it is often best just to let it go.

Get organised
Become a "do it now" person and drop the "I'll do it tomorrow" attitude. A great way to achieve this is to create a “to do” list. Writing down everything you need to do in a prioritized sequence is a huge stress reducer. When you are doing exactly what you should be doing and following your plan you will feel more relaxed. Plus, by writing things down it will free your mind because you don’t need to keep remembering once it's on the list. By practicing good time management the minutes you save on a daily basis will often add up to hours each week, allowing you more time for yourself. "By failing to prepare you're preparing to fail" is a good quote you should remind yourself of occasionally. Planning ahead for important appointments and arriving early is a great way to avoid stress - no one likes being late for an important meeting.

Don't push yourself to hard
In both your work and your personal life try not to take on more than you can reasonably handle. Learn when to say "No". It is always good to push yourself but stop striving for perfection. We should always do our best and push for excellence but we need to know when something is good enough - otherwise you will never be satisfied.

Be grateful
Take time to reflect on the things you appreciate in your life. Think about those that are less fortunate than you and try to remember the things you may be taking for granted. This will help you keep things in perspective and remind you of what makes you happy.

Stay healthy
It is well known that physical activity plays a key role in reducing the effects of stress on the body. Exercise should form part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. A good night's sleep will also rest your mind and body. You will experience more stress when tired than you would when wide awake and full of energy.

Don't worry about the little things
So much stress comes from getting worked up over little things - the queue at the shop, the car driving slowly in front of you, etc. Learning to let these insignificant little things go will greatly reduce your overall stress levels.

Express yourself
Don't bottle things up! "A problem shared is a problem halved" is a saying worth remembering. When issues arise don't ignore them. Instead address them early before they escalate into something more serious. If someone or something is troubling you then communicate your concerns, respectfully. In sensitive situations learn to respond rather than react, the first response that enters your head is not always the best one. Remember to pause, think and consider the best way to respond to avoid a heated situation getting out of control.

Give yourself time
Set aside time each day to rest, relax or whatever you do to recharge your batteries. Try to devise several enjoyable activities that fill these blocks of free time, whether you have a spare 5 minutes or 5 hours.

Learn to forgive
Accepting that we live in an imperfect world and that everyone make mistakes will go a long way in reducing your stress levels. Anger and resentment can only be released by forgiving those who have hurt you.

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