3 Simple Tips To Better Manage Stress

3 Simple Tips To Better Manage Stress
There’s something really frustrating about hearing we need to “stress less”. It almost seems to increase stress levels because suddenly there’s one more thing we need to worry about. A much more effective and realistic piece of advice is how to better “manage stress”, because let’s face it, we can’t always control what happens to us (e.g., a global pandemic!).
Better managing stress involves a two-pronged approach; proactive strategies that help to mitigate stress before it happens, and reactive strategies (otherwise known as coping mechanisms) to help us deal with the stress when or after it occurs.
Read on to find out our three simple tips to better manage stress.
Tip 1 – Have at least one mindfulness technique you engage in daily
When we’re stressed, we’re usually overthinking and the majority of our energy is going to our head, not our bodies. By reconnecting the mind with the body, we are cultivating mindfulness and bringing our attention back to the present, rather than worrying about the past or stressing about the future. A simple mindfulness exercise like 3-3-3 breathing can help to calm our thoughts and slow a racing mind.
Close your eyes. Breath in for 3 seconds through your nose, hold the breath for 3 seconds, and exhale out your mouth for 3 seconds. Repeat at least three times.
Tip 2 – Check in regularly with yourself
Checking in with our emotions regularly and identifying how we’re feeling can aid emotional regulation and keep us calm during tense situations.
Keep a mood journal and write down how you’re feeling on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being extremely calm, and 10 indicating severe anxiety. Do this at least three times per day; in the morning, at lunch, and at night, and see if you can identify any patterns with your emotions. Are there particular situations, environments or people that trigger you emotionally?
Tip 3 – Write out your stressors in the Circle of Influence
The Circle of Influence and Control by Stephen Covey assists us to visualise our concerns, or all the things we’re stressing about in a three-circle diagram. It does this by categorising tasks or thoughts into three areas; things we can control, things we can influence, and things we are concerned about but don’t have control over. By focusing our efforts on the things we can control and influence (the two inner circles), we’re more likely to engage in productive tasks that have an effect on our reality, rather than putting energy into things we have no control over (e.g. the weather).
Get a large piece of poster paper. Draw a large circle in the centre of the paper, a medium circle within the large circle, and a third small circle within the medium circle. Now write down everything you have direct control over (e.g. your actions, communication style, tasks you can complete) in the small circle, things you have influence over in the medium sized circle (e.g. your reaction to others, interpersonal relationships, your home environment), and things you don’t have control over in the large circle (e.g. the economy, past mistakes, traffic… etc).
Put the poster up somewhere you can see regularly and choose to focus on the things in the two inner circles while accepting the events/people/situations you have no control over.
For more information on the Circle of Influence and Control, visit https://www.thecareerpsychologist.com/resource/the-covey-circles-of-influence/
Information sourced from The Wellness Workshop: https://www.thewellnessworkshop.com.au/
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