You’ve learned about stress and how to recognize what creates stress for you. Now try some of these strategies for calming your stress.
Organize Your Time
A cluttered schedule that doesn’t take care of the important things in your life in a timely way will definitely lead to more stress. Try these things to help organize your time.
- Prioritize your tasks into “essential,” “important,” and “trivial.”
- Follow that order for completing tasks and take one thing at a time.
- Schedule some free time for yourself, too.
- Learn more strategies through the “Manage Your Time” tutorial.
Reducing stress can start with a change in personal attitude and habits. Try these things to help calm your stressful feelings.
- Recognize where stress strikes you first (e.g. neck tension, headache, low motivation.) The earlier you identify signals of stress, the easier it is to change your behavior and stop its progression.
- Learn to be satisfied with less than perfect performance. If a problem is beyond your control now, let it go for the time being.
- Take care of your body. Eat well, sleep enough, exercise regularly, and breathe. Eliminate pseudo-solutions that impair your health such as sleep aids, energy drinks, alcohol, cigarettes, and vaping.
- Change your internal language. Instead of saying, “I have to…,” say “I choose to…” Emotionally support yourself the way you would a close friend.
Express Your Stress
There are many ways to express your frustration, stress, and anger. Hiding your feelings is often more stressful in the long run than talking about it, especially when you express yourself effectively. Try these techniques for expressing stress.
- Recognize short-term solutions such as shouting, “venting,” or crying for what they are – short-term. Use them as needed but don’t grow dependent on them.
- Keep a journal. Observe when you are stressed, the causes, your responses, and the outcome. Make some observations about which techniques are most helpful.
- Share your concern with someone – a friend, a family member, or a counselor. Be open to feedback about what to do.
- Don’t wait for the “right time” to deal with interpersonal problems. Take steps to deal with things as soon as possible.
- Communicate assertively and directly with others about conflicts that arise. Be factual and use “I messages” to describe how you’re feeling.
Plan for the Long Term
Anticipating and preparing for stress and stressful situations is part of getting to know yourself and is necessary for a healthful life.
- Develop preventative, long-term strategies for dealing with stress (e.g.., nutrition, relaxation, regular exercise) and immediate, responsive techniques (e.g., assertiveness training) to deal with events and episodes that come up in the short term.
- Don’t wait for the time “when you can relax.” That time may never come. Learn to relax now.