10 Key Ways to Manage Stress

1. Control and influence

So much of our time is spent worrying over things, but when we put our worries into perspective we can start to see it’s just not worth the stress.

Use the Circle of Control and Influence to rationalize what we can do something about, and what we cannot.  It is never worth worrying about things you cannot change.

2. Build Resilience

Eat well, drink enough water, exercise, treat yourself kindly, connect with nature, laugh, have fun, meet friends. Enjoy planning and doing these things as part of your routine so that you are building resilience on an ongoing basis.

3. Triggers

Work out what potential stress ‘triggers’ may be and do what you can to them.

4. Positivity

Recent research also shows that it is our attitude to stress that can be the biggest problem for us.  If we expect to be stressed by an event, then the chances are we will be stressed.

If you can consider something to be an exciting adventure rather than a stressful experience, that little shift can make a difference.

5. Saying “No”

William Ury, the author of “The Power of a Positive No”, explains that by saying “no” we are actually saying “yes” to something more important to us.  For example, when we say “no” to doing extra work, we are actually saying “yes” to spending a glorious work-free weekend with our family.

6. Stress Buddy

Find yourself a stress buddy and agree to look out for each other.  And this means recognizing stress in each other.

Between you, create a little quiz and share the results, the questions could be:
What are the triggers for most of my stress?
How do I usually react to stress?

7. Breathing

Our breath, when we are stressed, is quite different from calm breathing.  Our stressed breath is high up in our lungs, it’s fast, and we don’t take large amounts of oxygen in.  In fact, we can take as little as just 25% of our lung capacity in, when we breathe like this.

Instead, try calm breathing.  Imagine you have a balloon inside your belly, just by your belly button.  Now when you breathe, hold a hand over your belly and a hand over your upper chest/ribcage.  Aim to breathe so that you are only moving the lower hand – the hand over your belly.

8. Feel Grounded

Take a few moments to feel your feet on the floor, or to really feel whatever our fingers are touching. Ask yourself what it feels like on your skin, what is the temperature, the texture, etc.  Become super-curious about what you are connected with.  Take the attention away from the triggers.

9. Manage Workload

Deciding exactly what needs to be done and how urgent each task is can simplify the overall task.

10. Choices

Avoid the normal things we do when stressed, if you can (these are alcohol, smoking, cakes/pastries/chocolate or caffeine). But if you can’t avoid these things, then enjoy them.  Don’t beat yourself up and make yourself even more stressed!

Ury, William. (2007). The Power of A Positive No. New York: Bantam Books, 2007. Print.