Monday 12 March 2018
Feeling stressed? Take ten minutes to try one of the below activities and decrease your stress levels.
It’s a cliché for a reason: exercise really does prompt your body to release feel-good hormones like endorphins, which can help you to feel less stressed. Stress can also make you subconsciously tense your muscles, which exercise might help to release.
It doesn’t have to be a full workout: walk around the block, do 20 jumping jacks, go for a quick run or find a 10 minute yoga flow on YouTube to follow.
Stress can kick in when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of tasks that need to be done or deadlines that must be met. Writing a to-do list or time management strategy can help you focus on seeing each task through to completion.
Sit down and write out everything you need to get done and each step you’ll need to take to complete each task. Prioritise what must be done first and identify what can be left to a later time or what you might be able to assign to someone else. Be realistic about how much time it will take you to complete each task and build space into your schedule to reward yourself for getting the job done.
Stress and anxiety can affect how you breathe, which has flow-on effects on how your body and mind feels. Taking a few deep breaths can help slow your breathing and heart rate, relax your muscles and calm your mind.
Follow Anxiety Australia’s guide to slowing down anxious breathing, or head to xhalr.com, which has a visual breathing tool to help you easily calm your breath.
4. Take a time out
You’re not a toddler, but that doesn’t mean a time out doesn’t apply when you’re stressed.
Just like in children, stress can affect our emotions and how we behave, as well as our physical and mental health. Stress might make you become irritable or short tempered, easily upset or agitated.
When you start noticing that stress is affecting how you feel or behave, it might be time to step away and spend a few minutes just focusing on yourself. Do something you enjoy like reading a book or listening to music, or find a trusted friend or colleague that you can talk to about how you’re feeling.
Time outs don’t have to just be reactive: proactively build some ‘you time’ into your schedule each week, allowing yourself to do something enjoyable whilst looking after your health.
If you haven’t tried mindfulness, meditation or relaxation exercises yet, there’s no better time to start. Scientifically proven to help decrease and manage stress, and promote mental wellbeing, these tools are useful for when you’re experiencing stress and as prevention tools in times when you’re feeling well.
There are many programs, websites, books and apps to help you practise these exercises, including the free resources linked below.
Why you should decrease stress
While a little bit of stress is normal and can actually help you function more effectively during times of pressure, ongoing stress is not good for your physical or mental health. From causing headaches and sleep loss to affecting hormonal function, blood pressure and relationships, there are many reasons why experts are warning of the ill-effects the current ‘epidemic of stress’ is having on public health.
While it’s not a realistic goal to plan to dodge all stress, proactively doing the activities above can help you avoid unnecessary stress and handle stress better when it hits.
When you should get help
Ongoing stress affects your mental health and can be worth a trip to the doctor. You should see your GP if you’ve been feeling unwell or ‘not yourself’ for two weeks or more. Remember: you don’t need to wait for a crisis situation to seek help for mental health.
If you feel like the situation is an emergency or that your or someone else’s life is in danger, call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance.
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By Patrick Cohn
How Olympians Deal with Stress
Do you become so stressed out in training or before competition that you don’t enjoy competing and perform horribly? Do you feel you cannot do anything about your stress levels or believe that you are just a nervous athlete?
Stress has many sources for athletes. Some stress comes from the challenges in sport itself, and other stressors come from your personal life.
Common Stressors for Athletes Include:
- Personal relationships
- Interruption of training regimen
- Playing in adverse conditions
- Feeling expectations from others
- Critical game situations
- Opponents and team dynamics
- Lack of playing time
Stress Can Hurt Athletes in Many Ways, Such as:
- Slow down recovery from training and competing
- Deplete energy sources more quickly
- Inhibit fluidity of movement
- Build tension within muscles
- Hamper your ability to focus in a competition
- Create excessive worry
- Slow reaction times
- Interfere with decision-making
- Increase the chance of acute and overuse injuries
If you do not have a plan to manage stressors, your physical and mental well-being will be at risk, as well as top-level performance.
Holly Edmondston, Cyclist
Holly Edmondston, a New Zealand cyclist and 2020 Olympian, has worked through a lot of stress to achieve her Olympic dream.
The 24-year-old Edmondston’s Olympic journey has been challenging. Edmondston overcame a bad back injury in 2017, surgery in 2019, and the postponement of the 2020 Olympics due to the worldwide pandemic.
EDMONDSTON: “Stress is normal in sport. I was quite stressed because of my injuries. But now, I have managed to turn them around. Mental health was quite low, and now I’m doing a lot better. Some people might not consider stress as an injury, but 90 percent of the sport is mental.”
How was Edmondston able to deal with all the stress she was facing to make New Zealand’s 2020 Olympic team?
Edmondston and the New Zealand Olympic team sought the help of mental training professionals to learn how to navigate the increased pressure and stress of being Olympic athletes.
Edmondston: “We do group mental training and psychology sessions. It is important because being mentally strong is what gets you across the finish line.”
They learn stress management strategies. When you were born, you were not readily equipped with strategies to deal with the stressors of being an athlete. In fact, most stressors you learned to cope with as you progressed through life.
When you develop an array of stress management and relaxation strategies, you have more tools at your disposal and are better equipped to handle the various stressors that come your way throughout your athletic career.
Dealing with the Stress of Being an Athlete
Knowing your sources of stress is a starting step to coping with it later. What are three top stressors or triggers? What signs precede these stressors? Awareness of your mental push buttons is a good starting place.
Anticipate the stressors you might encounter in your sport. Think about how you might cope with each stressors. Have a plan. For example, how will you cope with an injury that sidelines you for one to two weeks?
This is where are trained mental game coach can help you–manage the stress you might encounter as a natural part of playing sports.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- Mental Skills to Manage Stress for Figure Skating
- How Stress Can Affect Sports Performance
- Pregame Stress and Anxiety: Athletes’ Mental Roadblock to Success
The Relaxed Athlete
With my step-by-step practical CD/Workbook program, you can quickly learn and immediately APPLY the key mental game strategies to overcome pregame anxiety and develop a pregame routine to enter the game with confidence.
I’ve developed my CD/workbook program to “package” myself
as your personal mental game coach using the same strategies
I teach to my one-on-one mental coaching students.
My system in The Confident Athlete CD/Workbook series is a ground-breaking program to help you overcome pregame jitters, performance anxiety, and a lack of pregame confidence.
I deliver this new program based on my readers feedback and comments from athletes who have already used The Confident Athlete programs with huge success! My new program walks you through, step-by-step, using a practical workbook. And the best part – you only need 15 minutes a day!
Become a Mental Coach
Learn Dr. Cohn’s entire system for doing mental coaching with his sports psychology certification.
Knowing how to manage stress can help you to be happier and healthier in the long run. Coping with stress is about trying to solve the problems that are within your control and learning to accept the things you can’t change. The next time you’re feeling stressed, ask yourself these four questions to help you decide on your next move.
1. What’s the issue?
It’s easier to manage stress once you know exactly what’s stressing you out. It could be one big thing that’s weighing on your shoulders, or lots of little things that have built up over time. If nothing obvious comes to mind, talk to someone you trust. A fresh pair of eyes and ears can help to shed light on the situation.
2. Can you do anything to change it?
Once you’ve pinned down what’s stressing you, it’s time to think about the problem realistically. Is there anything you can do to change the situation so that it causes you less stress?
3. If so, what?
If you have some level of control over the situation, you can try to use problem-solving skills to reduce the amount of stress it causes you. An example of something you have control over is an exam that’s coming up in a few weeks. One way of dealing with this is to write up a study schedule to keep you motivated and on track. Check out our step-by-step guide to problem-solving for more tips.
4. If not, what can you do to feel better about it?
If the situation is outside of your control, then trying to change it will only make you feel more stressed. An example of something you have little control over is finding out you’ve flunked an important exam. In this case, it’s better to try and change the things you do have control over, such as how you think about the situation, your self-talk, whether you talk to someone you trust and how you treat yourself while you’re stressed out. Being mindful will also help you to feel less stressed when a problem is outside of your control.
What if I’m still not coping?
If you’re still struggling to cope with stress, it’s a good idea to talk to a GP or a mental health professional about what’s going on. Learning how to handle stress can be a long and tough process. You’ve shown a lot of strength getting this far!
Illustrations by Sam Kalda
Stress is unavoidable in modern life, but it doesn’t have to get you down. Work, money and family all create daily stress, while bigger issues like the global pandemic and politics contribute to our underlying stress levels. But approach it the right way, and it won’t rule your life — it can even be good for you. Here are ways to deal with stress, reduce its harm and even use your daily stress to make you stronger.
Stress is inevitable; getting sick from it is not.
The Perception of Stress
While we know that stress is associated with health problems, plenty of people with high-stress lives are thriving. How is that possible? In 2012, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison published a seminal study looking at how 28,000 people perceived stress in their lives. People in the study answered these two questions:
- During the past 12 months, would you say that you experienced:
- A lot of stress
- A moderate amount of stress
- Relatively little stress
- Almost no stress at all
- How much effect has stress had on your health?
- A lot
- Hardly any
The researchers looked at death rates in the study group over nine years. The results are startling. The study found that having a lot of stress in your life was not linked with premature death. But having a lot of stress in your life and believing it was taking a toll on your health increased risk of premature death by 43 percent.
Changing your perception
With stress, the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. You can view stress as something that is wreaking havoc on your body (and it can) or as something that is giving you the strength and energy to overcome adversity. Here’s a quick way to think about these two very different views of stress. Read the statement, and then think about your own reaction to the biological changes that occur during times of stress.1. When I’m stressed, my body releases adrenaline and cortisol. My heart is beating faster. This means that:
- Common View: Stress is increasing my risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attack.
- Alternative View: My heart is working harder and my body is mobilizing its energy to get ready for this challenge.
2. When I’m stressed, my stress response is causing my breathing rate to increase. This means that:
- Common View: My fast breathing is a sign of anxiety. I worry about how stress is affecting my mental and physical health.
- Alternative View: I should take a deep breath. My faster breathing means more oxygen is getting to my brain so I can think more clearly.
3. When I’m stressed, my heart and circulatory system respond, causing my blood pressure to rise. This means that:
- Common View: I can feel my blood pressure rising. This can’t be good for my health.
- Alternative View: Circulatory changes are allowing more oxygen and nutrients to fuel my muscles. I’m feeling stronger and ready for the challenge ahead.
It’s probably clear to you that the alternative view is the better choice for thinking about stress. It may be hard to believe that such a small shift in thinking could make a difference, but that’s what when they paid 50 study subjects $25 each to take part in a lab experiment designed to induce stress. The test involves giving a talk in front of a group of unfriendly evaluators, followed by a tricky word test. (Researchers have consistently found that this formula of public speaking plus testing in front of a hostile crowd is incredibly uncomfortable and stress-inducing for the poor people who agree to take part in the study.)
Before the social stress test, one group was allowed to play video games; another was taught to simply ignore stressful feelings if they experienced them during the test. But a third group was given advice similar to the quiz above. They got a primer about the physical stress response and were told how a higher heart rate, faster breathing and internal jitters were all tools for making you strong during a stressful event. They were told how the body’s stress response evolved to help us succeed, and that the increased arousal symptoms of stress can aid your performance during times of stress. The bottom line of the lesson was this: In a tough situation, stress make you stronger.
The group that learned to rethink the role of stress in their lives did far better on the test. They gave better speeches and were rated as more confident. They smiled more and had more-positive body language. And physiological indicators showed that their bodies were also managing the stress response better than those of test subjects who were taught to ignore stress or given no advice at all.
The Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal has been a champion of rethinking stress, noting that the right approach can make you smarter and stronger. Her TED talk on the subject, has been viewed 14 million times.
“What I learned from these studies, surveys and conversations truly changed the way I think about stress,” Dr. McGonigal wrote in her book “The best way to manage stress isn’t to reduce or avoid it, but rather to rethink and even embrace it.”
I love this time of year! But often, instead of Christmas being the happiest time of the year, it can become the most stressful time of the year.
This year looks a little different from the past years. You may have fewer functions to balance and more free time. But this year brought new challenges that introduced new stresses into our lives.
So whether you find yourself super stressed, slightly stressed, or you’re just looking to hone in on some more inner peace in your life. These new tools to help you with stress are sure to help!
My Guide On How To Deal With Stress
Meditate: There is a reason I bring up meditation on repeat. Meditation truly is one of the best ways to manage stress. Taking time to sit and only focus on your breathing is magical. It can help you put things into perspective and get some much-needed insight you may have been previously too busy to receive.
Put yourself in timeout: Sometimes, you need to remove yourself from a situation or take a deep breath and walk away. After taking some deep breaths, return to the situation. Sometimes I need to do this when I am dealing with my kiddos. I would rather take a minute and come back when I am in a place of responding, not reacting.
Eat Healthy: This time of year, it is easy to grab those sugar cookies that your neighbor dropped by and call it breakfast
Food is joyful, and cookies are a big part of the fun, so I am not saying don’t enjoy any goodies. That is madness!
What I am saying is feed your body the good stuff too! Your body needs real food, food rich in nutrition, and nutrients. You know what foods help your body to function at its best. Tune into that and make sure you are getting plenty of what your body needs.
Move Your Body: Our bodies like to move. They need to move. When we don’t move our bodies regularly, energy can get blocked and create issues. By moving your body every day, you can move the energy around your being. Moving your body every day helps to keep stress at bay. Listen to your body and how it likes to move. Whatever brings you the most joy, do that! Walking is a great way to exercise. Just because you are not “working out” like some skinny influencer thinks you should, does not mean you are not active. Listen and trust what your body has to say. It’ll tell you.
Supplements can also help manage stress. Here are a few of my favorites that I have studied.
Everyone deals with stress, and college students are no exception. In fact, going to college can present unique stressors that make it vitally important to recognize when your stress level is increasing, what the harmful effects of chronic stress are and techniques you can use to mitigate them. By recognizing the effects of stress and having coping mechanisms at the ready, it is possible to avoid college burnout.
Stress in College Students
In 2018, the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment report found that more than 45% of college students surveyed reported feeling more stress than average, and nearly 13% felt “tremendous stress.” (ACHA PDF source).
A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital researcher Dr. Cindy Liu found high stress rates among more than 67,000 students at more than 100 colleges and universities. Mental health diagnoses and risk of suicidal thoughts were reported by all students, especially those in racial, ethnic and gender minorities, according to the study published in the journal “Depression & Anxiety.”
“Some stressful events cannot be prevented and, in some cases, are completely normal. But for others, a plan should be in place for family, friends and colleges to provide support,” Liu said in a release from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Our study highlights an urgent need to help students reduce their experience of overwhelming levels of stress during college.”
Dr. Darleen Dempster, a licensed professional counselor and a faculty member of Southern New Hampshire University’s clinical mental health counseling program, said college students could face unique stressors ranging from difficulties managing their time and balancing relationships to determining a career path.
“College students are just like any other people, except that they have the added concerns of balancing academics on top of regular life,” Dempster said. She said as a college counselor, she would see students who were stressed over academic struggles, but also many high achieving students sacrificing sleep or social connections to succeed in the classroom.
What Can College Stress Lead To?
You feel stress because it is your body’s natural reaction to a threat – or perceived threat. According to the Mayo Clinic, a threat can cause your body to produce a surge of two hormones – cortisol and adrenaline, which increase your heart rate and blood pressure, among other effects. When the threat is over, those hormones return to normal levels. But what if you are always feeling those stressors?
“The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all your body’s processes,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
If the stress you are feeling is from worry about failing to achieve academically, for instance, your body’s hormonal response to a perceived threat is ineffective. “The problem in most situations for college students is that what they are perceiving as dangerous … is not actually a threat to them,” Dempster said. “It has been shown that operating with the body and mind on high alert over a long period of time is draining.”
There are dozens of ways stress can negatively impact your mental and physical health, as well as your behavior. Some of those symptoms include:
- Physical symptoms including headache, muscle pain, fatigue, and stomach and sleep problems.
- Mood symptoms including anxiety, irritability or anger, depression, lack of motivation and feeling overwhelmed.
- Behavioral symptoms including over- or under-eating, drug or alcohol abuse, social isolation and angry outbursts.
A complicating factor is the negative coping mechanisms some people turn to when stressed, Dempster said, including substance abuse, eating disorders and other addictive behaviors that further impact health.
How to Deal with College Stress
Experiencing the beginnings of college burnout doesn’t mean that you won’t be successful in your studies. The key to managing college stress as a student is similar to anyone else. There are specific steps you can take to be less stressed and feel better.
The National Institute of Mental Health recommends 5 initial strategies:
- Listen to Your Body – Be aware when you are showing signs of being stressed, such as difficulty sleeping, increased agitation or feeling depressed.
- Get Moving – Exercise can improve your mood and overall health and serve as an outlet for the stress you are feeling.
- Slow Down – Find a relaxing activity you enjoy, whether it’s meditation, mindful breathing exercises or a work-sponsored wellness program.
- Prioritize – If you’re feeling overwhelmed, determine what you must accomplish now and what has to wait. At the end of the day, try to emphasize tasks you have checked off your to-do list rather than what is left to do.
- Lean on Your Friends – Staying socially connected, especially with friends and family who are your support system, can help reduce stress. Getting involved in extracurricular activities can help you meet people and learn new things about what might be an unfamiliar environment. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Juggling all of the things that life throws at you, in addition to your coursework, means that time management strategies become critical in college. Dempster said it’s important to maintain a balance.
Going to college doesn’t mean all the things you used to do to be a healthy, balanced person become any less important. “A healthy balance throughout school requires adequate sleep, rest, exercise and nutrition,” she said. “Social connection is also important, both to provide support and also for healthy emotional development and a sense of fun. Life is not all work, after all.”
Even armed with all of the ways you can try to control your stress, there may be times that it is overwhelming. Thankfully there are many people and organizations you can reach out to for help.
A first step for students, Dempster said, is to reach out to family or friends about troublesome issues. You can also turn to a faculty member or any support services your school offers. “As a college counselor, I would often tell students to take advantage of those services that their tuition dollars are paying for,” Dempster said.
It’s possible that talking to a doctor or counselor will be able to help you develop coping techniques that reduce the stress you are under. The National Institute of Mental Health also has a comprehensive set of resources from emergency chat and text hotlines to advice on finding a healthcare provider.
Positivity, Dempster said, can be essential.
“One thing that I would often share with students who were working hard to manage stress or other mental health concerns is to look at the treatment of these issues as a step-by-step process,” she said. “Even if the only change that a person can make is small and incremental, that person is moving in the right direction. With this, over time, many small changes add up. This could eventually lead to a happier, healthier and more well-balanced life.”
Joe Cote is a staff writer at Southern New Hampshire University. Follow him on Twitter @JoeCo2323.
- A new study looks at stress management in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It finds that a commonly used strategy to manage stress might end up posing a risk to public health.
- We’re trained to use whatever tools we have to manage our stress, but it’s important to understand the implications, say the study’s authors.
“Keep Calm and Carry On” may not be the best mantra when it comes to managing stress in the context of COVID-19.
A new study by University of Toronto researchers finds that cognitive reappraisal, a common strategy used to manage the stress of a health threat, may end up creating a greater risk to public health during the pandemic.
Have you read?
- 3 important questions about stress
- How to deal with stress in the workplace
- Here’s how to cope with stress, according to the World Health Organization
To help manage stress, people often employ the coping strategy to lower fear and worry by re-interpreting the situation at hand.
“When you’re feeling stressed about your health, you may try to make yourself think about the situation in a way that helps you stay calm,” says Brett Ford, assistant professor in the department of psychology at U of T Scarborough and one of the study’s authors.
“But there appears to be a trade-off. Those who use coping strategies to deal with a health threat – in this case from COVID-19 – may end up jeopardizing health behaviours.”
While reappraisal can take many forms, in the context of COVID-19, it could mean thinking the pandemic isn’t a big deal – or that it’s a blip that will soon blow over.
“In many circumstances, reappraisal is a valuable tool to help with our mental health,” says Angela Smith, PhD student and lead author of the study. “However, the consequences of using it in the face of a pandemic may result in downplaying the vital importance of taking the necessary health precautions.”
In the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, Smith, Ford and their co-authors used data from two separate surveys taken over a period of three months beginning as the pandemic hit in February 2020. They found that people who successfully reduced fear in the face of COVID-19 were mentally healthier, but less likely to follow public health recommendations such as wearing a mask or social distancing.
“Fear motivates us to take actions that protect our physical health, which is really important during a pandemic – not only for individuals, but also from a community-health perspective,” Ford says.
Ford adds that we are trained to use whatever tools we have available to manage stress, but there’s also the need to understand the downstream consequences of using these tools, especially in the face of a community health threat like COVID-19.
What it also suggests is that health messages aimed at reducing fear, such as “Keep Calm and Carry On,” may actually backfire and promote fewer health behaviours.
“Seeking comfort during times of stress – when comfort is most needed – can pose a challenging dilemma when you need to also prioritize physical health,” says Ford, an expert on the health implications of how people think about and manage their emotions.
The research, which received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and a U of T COVID-19 Student Engagement award, did uncover possible alternatives to the drawbacks of using reappraisal to avoid fear. The researchers say that, in the face of COVID-19, people can use reappraisal to cultivate socially-oriented positive emotions such as love, gratitude, compassion or admiration.
“The emotions we feel when we’re feeling good about others, such as having gratitude towards frontline workers, actually provides emotional comfort without jeopardizing behaviours such as social distancing,” says Smith.
“We’re excited about these findings because there are forms of emotion regulation people can use to manage the stress of the pandemic that don’t come at the cost of these vital protective health behaviours.”
As for why these emotions are effective, Smith says it may come down to providing a source of connection to others who are in a tough situation.
“It is undeniable that people are experiencing worry and anxiety as part of this pandemic. We can’t subtract that negativity out of the situation, but we can add some positivity to it – some compassion, some gratitude,” she says.
“By doing this we protect both ourselves and our communities.”
How to deal with stress
You’re stressed, I’m stressed, we’re all stressed. Welcome to the 21 st century! It might be hard to imagine a stress-free life, but there are ways you can deal with stress and minimise its effect on your life.
No matter what the source of your stress is, here are a few ways you can deal with it.
What happens when we get stressed?
When we’re stressed, our bodies react in various physiological ways. Your blood pressure rises, your heart beats faster and your blood sugar increases, which all contributes to our age-old ‘fight or flight’ response. This is designed to give us the best possible odds at surviving a run-in with, say, a lion.
But unless you’re a zookeeper in a zoo with unfortunately lax security around the lion enclosure, we don’t need this response half as much as we used to. Sadly, no one told our bodies this and so our stress reactions work overtime when we’re feeling overwhelmed with life, and because modern life can be so constant it makes it difficult for our bodies to slow down.
Tackling stress at its core
If you’re feeling stressed, it’s ok to go easy on yourself. It’s not a nice feeling and it’s one of those things that tends to just snowball. So take time to take a breather – have a cuppa, step back and take stock. In the short term, things like breathing exercises and doing something to take your mind off your triggers can help massively.
In the longer term, you need to objectively look at the biggest sources of stress in your life and figure out a way of taming the beast. If your workload is high, is there a way you can work smarter? If the kids are driving you up the wall, is there something you can do with them that lets them blow off steam (and will hopefully tire them out)?
Lifestyle changes to deal with stress better
Of course, even with the best will in the world, you’re probably still going to feel stressed at some points. But lifestyle changes can really help you to deal with it better – and it doesn’t involve uprooting your life to go and live in a monastery in peace.
Surprisingly, your diet can have a big effect on how your body deals with stress. You’re only human, so if indulging in your favourite foods feels like it helps temporarily relieve stress, then by all means indulge, but don’t make it a daily occurrence.
Your first response to feeling stressed might be to eat. We get it, there’s something very comforting about kicking back with Pizza Hut’s finest offerings, but in the long run, it’s not going to help your state of mind.
In fact, giving in to junk food binges is the exact opposite of helpful in the fight against stress.
Regular emotional eating like this won’t only have an impact on your waistline, but it will also make you more likely to experience the more unpleasant physical side effects of stress – bloating, gas and other digestive issues, which you really don’t want to deal with on top of everything else.
Eating a balanced diet is key to helping your body deal with the physiological impact of stress, helping to stabilise blood sugars and balance the release of stress-response hormones, so aim for eating your 5-a-day, don’t skip meals and load up on protein.
It can also be a good idea to cut down on caffeine if you find it makes you jittery, or if you experience slumps in energy throughout the day. Sure, coffee gives you an energy boost, but it’s short-lived, and that feeling of coffee giving you life is mostly in your head (sorry).
Support for dealing with stress
Feeling stressed as a reaction to daily life events is perfectly natural and you shouldn’t worry if you’re finding things difficult, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. There’s a global pandemic and life has changed completely for a lot of people.
For example, if you’re trying to juggle working from home with having kids at home too, and you’re struggling with stress, I mean duh, you don’t usually have to juggle your workload, be responsible for your kids’ education with no help and do it all from home, with nowhere to go and nothing to do to destress. Of course you’re stressed!
Having said that, if it’s ruining your enjoyment of things you usually enjoy and you’re in feeling on edge and in a constant state of anxiety, there’s no shame in reaching out for support. Talk to friends and family about how you’re feeling, remember to prioritise looking after number one and see your GP if it’s impacting your daily life.
Sep 24, 2017 · 6 min read
A friend called me recently out of nowhere and asked — “ Dude, how do you deal with stress while running a startup? I feel so stressed every day and want to know how do you handle it”.
We don’t talk that often, so I was surprised to receive a call from him and on top of that, was even surprised to hear that he wanted to talk about stress!
Quick background — he’s a first – time founder running a B2B company. He’s solving a good problem, has built a great product and technology, has raised some money, and has already got some marquee customers onboard.
But before jumping to answer his question, I probed him to give me more context — What does he mean by he is stressed? How exactly does he feel? What is the current state of his business because of which he’s feeling stressed?
His primary concern was — he was getting too anxious about the deals taking a lot longer to close. Some days things go well, and he’s close to closing a deal, and the next day it all goes south with lots of uncertainties and delays making him anxious. This anxiety was causing more problems as he was not able to focus well on other business priorities. In the end, he was not finding things were under his control.
With this additional context, it helped me understand his situation, but I also felt it wasn’t just about this one issue (“deals not closing faster”) at hand, but a more holistic approach to how he was running a startup.
Obviously, running a startup is hard. It’s a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs — and probably there are too many downs than ups. There is always something that doesn’t work as per your plan. There is always something that takes the twice amount of effort, cost and time than you intended.
So the first thing I told him was that he’s not alone. Most of the people who are running a startup are also in the same bucket. Everybody has to experience this rollercoaster ride.
The only advantage an experienced founder might have over a first-time founder is — how they handle ups and downs and deal with the stress in those situations.
Since I had thought about this for a while and had been practicing few principles in my day-to-day life quite actively, I shared my perspectives with him. After talking with him, I realized these principles are not only applicable for people who’re running a startup but for any working professional who is experiencing the same level of stress and anxiety at their work. I am sharing these principles with you so some of you might find it helpful.
There are many ways to deal with stress, but at a high level, I think about it in 2 ways –
1. Strategic guiding principles
2. Tactical tips
These are some of the core guiding principles about how I operate in life in general. These are more important than the tactical tips.
1. Have a long-term perspective
Most of the things I do in life have a long-term perspective. Any project I start, or a resolution I make, or a deal I sign, or advice I give to other people — always have a long-term objective or benefit associated with it. Very rarely I have optimized something for my short-term gain.
And since most of the things have a long-term perspective, naturally I have the right expectations set from the beginning — the timeline, the kind of outcome, or the effort required to achieve it.
And since my eyes are fixed on the long-term objectives, even if I get any setbacks in the short-term or failures on the way, it doesn’t demotivate me. While I do get disappointed when things don’t work out as per plan, it doesn’t stress me out much as I know I’m in this for a long haul.
2. Focus on your efforts
I’m a strong believer of I can only focus on my actions and efforts to achieve the desired outcome. But, unfortunately, as we know, the outcome will not be based on only my actions and efforts. There will be many other factors that are not in my control, which will play a role to determine the state of the outcome.
And if there are things that are not in my control, then why I should be stressed if the outcome doesn’t result in my favor?
As long as I’m completely honest with myself that I’ve given my best efforts, then I don’t worry and overthink about the outcome. I accept it as it is. But if I know that I fell short in my efforts, then I recognize it as my mistake and decide to focus on not repeating it next time.
3. It’s not critical, unless…
I firmly believe that we’ve been misusing the “critical” word a lot in the corporate world. Unless you’re dealing with someone’s life, it’s not truly critical. It could be important, and some of those things could be urgent, but still, it’s never critical unless someone’s life is at stake.
So next time you hear someone telling you a particular project or deal or deadline being critical, just hear it being “important” and give your best shot to respond it in your best capacity, but don’t stress out as if somebody’s life is in danger.
Now on the tactical front, there are a lot of great tips on how to reduce stress on a day to day basis on the internet. I follow below tactics — some of them quite regularly and some of them on a need basis –
1. Being disciplined
I don’t shy away from touting myself as a very disciplined guy. The more disciplined and organized I am, the more sanity I have in my day-to-day routine. That, in general, keeps my day-to-day stress level at quite low.
2. Writing things down
I typically find myself stressed when I’m thinking about too many ideas, planning for future, contemplating on past, etc. Writing down all those ideas and to-do tasks in whatever crude way help me clear up my mind.
3. Focusing on one thing at a time
I avoid multi-tasking. My experience is — trying to do more than one task at a time just adds more stress. And very rarely it’s necessary.
4. Spending time with kids
I have two daughters (5yrs and 1yr old), so spending time with them every day either in-house or outside in the park always helps me realize that there is more to life than just work.
I’ve been doing P90X-3 routine intermittently. But every time I do it regularly, it helps me to gain both mental and physical strength and confidence. If I can’t do proper exercise, then just a short walk in the neighborhood also helps to gather my thoughts.
I use guided meditation app to slow down myself a bit. I find instant benefits if I slow down my breathing, and focus on the present by scanning the body or on breathing. This helps me to reduce my anxiety.
7. Talking with my wife, family, and friends
In the end, just talking with my wife or close family members or friends about what I’m working on and what challenges I’m facing helps me crystallize my thoughts and sometimes gives me answers that I was looking.
I hope these strategic guiding principles and tactical tips will help you too dealing with your stressful situations.
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Stress is a normal human response, and we all deal with it in different ways. If youвЂ™re in an interview and the employer asks you how you handle stress, itвЂ™s because they know youвЂ™re going to deal with stress at some point in the workplace and they want to know how it will affect you.
How an employee handles stress is a pretty big indicator of how well they will work under pressure, and if youвЂ™re interviewing for a job where stress will be a regular occurrence, the employer needs to know youвЂ™ll be able to keep your cool even in a stressful situation.
Here are some dos and donвЂ™ts on answering the question вЂњHow do you handle stress?вЂќ
Dos and Don’ts
- Be honest, but also be positive.
- Think about the types of stress youвЂ™ll encounter at this job before you answer the question.
- DonвЂ™t answer in a way that will seem like you canвЂ™t handle the job.
- Do give specific ways that you manage your stress.
- DonвЂ™t pretend that you never encounter stress in your life.
- Do talk about what youвЂ™ve learned from working under pressure.
- Try to share a personal story or a specific example of a time when you were able to handle the stress around you.
- Focus on the triumphs youвЂ™ve had when dealing with stress. DonвЂ™t talk about a time when you fell apart because of all the stress you were under.
- If the job youвЂ™re interviewing for is extremely stressful, make sure you communicate that youвЂ™re used to dealing with stressful situations.
- Be prepared to answer any follow-up questions.
- DonвЂ™t focus on the emotions you felt when you were stressed.
Best Answers to вЂњHow Do You Handle Stress?вЂќ
1. вЂњI work well under pressure, and do my best to complete tasks on time even in stressful situations. When I find myself under a lot of pressure because of a deadline, I make a specific schedule for myself to help me get my work done, and having specific times for each task helps me manage it.вЂќ
The interviewer wants to know how stress will affect your work, and if youвЂ™re able to still work hard under pressure. Deadlines are a reality at every job, so sharing a specific way that you handle the stress of deadlines is a great way to answer this question. When youвЂ™re sharing a specific example, itвЂ™s also important that the stress wasnвЂ™t caused by you. ItвЂ™s okay to say you were under pressure because of a deadline, but donвЂ™t say you were stressed because you missed the deadline.
2. вЂњWhen IвЂ™m in a stressful situation, I try to focus on what I need to fix, instead of how IвЂ™m feeling. If IвЂ™m feeling stressed because of an issue with a client, I try to focus on what I can do specifically to fix the situation instead of thinking about how stressed I am.вЂќ
Stress can be overwhelming for many employees, and some let it get the best of them. When an employer asks you how you handle stress, they want to make sure that youвЂ™re not going to give in to your emotions when youвЂ™re in a stressful situation. This answer works because it shows that you choose to focus on the task at hand instead of getting angry or overwhelmed.
3. вЂњItвЂ™s easy to get caught up in all the stress when those around you are panicking. If IвЂ™m working on a group project with my team and thereвЂ™s a lot of stress in the team, I try to help my teammates and see how theyвЂ™re doing with their stress levels. I find that checking in on those around me helps them relieve some of the stress, which ultimately makes me feel less stressed as well.вЂќ
When youвЂ™re feeling stressed, itвЂ™s not always because of a situation you caused, like missing a deadline. Sometimes when youвЂ™re in a stressful environment, you soak up the stress around you. An answer like this one lets the interviewer know that you not only handle your own stress well, but you can also handle the stress of your teammates.
4. вЂњI choose to handle stress by making sure I communicate clearly with those around me. For example, I was stressed about the expectations for a project my team and I were working on. Instead of reacting to the stress, I communicated with the project manager, and the clarity he gave took a lot of the pressure off of me.вЂќ
Communication is key to having a productive team, especially when that team is forced to work under pressure. Mentioning that communication is part of how you handle your stress lets the employer know youвЂ™re not going to stress about something until you have all the facts.
5. вЂњWhen IвЂ™m stressed about work, I tend to spend a lot of time exercising to relieve stress. Going to the gym or going for a run helps relieve some of the stress, and itвЂ™s a positive outlet where I can let some of the stress go without reacting with my emotions.вЂќ
When youвЂ™re answering the question вЂњhow do you handle stress,вЂќ itвЂ™s okay to share an example from your personal life. Even if you handle stress well while youвЂ™re at work, showing that you have a positive way of relieving stress in your personal life will make you stand out from other applicants.
6. вЂњStaying calm under pressure is one of my strengths. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I stop what IвЂ™m doing and take a deep breath. Pausing for a moment before I continue my work helps me put things in perspective.вЂќ
Even something as simple as taking a deep breath when youвЂ™re feeling stressed can make you seem like a well-rounded individual. The interviewer wants to know that youвЂ™re level-headed and that youвЂ™re not going to do anything rash when youвЂ™re working under pressure. Using an example like this one proves that youвЂ™re mindful enough to pause before reacting with your emotions.
7. вЂњStress is actually a motivator for me. I like to keep a strict schedule, and I enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. Instead of letting the stress get to me, I choose to use it as a motivator to do my best work and get things done in an efficient way.вЂќ
No employer wants to hear that you donвЂ™t have any stress in your life, because theyвЂ™ll know youвЂ™re not being honest. Every person experiences stress at some point, and for most people, itвЂ™s a part of their daily lives. If you want to show that you can handle the stress in your life in a positive way, talk about how it motivates you. Especially if youвЂ™re applying for a high-stress job, youвЂ™ll impress any employer by telling them that you use the stress in your life as a motivator to do better.
Some employees handle stress better than others, so itвЂ™s important for an employer to know whether the quality of your work will be affected when youвЂ™re stressed and if you already have systems in place to deal with the stress in your life. Although there are many ways you could answer this question, the interviewer wants to make sure that youвЂ™ve figured out how to manage your stress and not let it consume you.
Keith Miller has over 25 years of experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith’s work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.
What are the side effects of stress
Stress is detrimental to both your physical health and your mental well being. It impedes your ability to make rational decisions. Some people have such high-stress levels they can barely function on a day to day basis.
Stress has been linked to several diseases including cancer and heart disease. Too much can cause your heart to work overtime. It can make you gain weight, look older than you are, and cause a breakdown of your immune system making you more susceptible to things like colds and infections. It can also cause gastrointestinal problems. There isn’t enough Tums in the world to handle the stomach issues stress causes.
The American Institute of Stress (this is a real organization) states that:
- 77% of people regularly experience symptoms caused by stress including fatigue, headache, stomach upset, muscle tension, change in appetite, dizziness and a change in sex drive.
- 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress including irritability, anger, lack of energy and a feeling like they could cry.
I was shocked when I saw these numbers and how large the percentages are. This is a significant problem.
Now that you know the effects of stress on the body and mind lets look at ways to control it.
How to Deal with Stress
Determine what causes your stress
How can you begin to overcome stress if you can’t properly determine what is causing you to feel the way you do? What you’re thinking and how you’re feeling can also contribute to your level of stress. Does the fact that winter is coming (not in a Game Of Thrones way) and you still have your pool uncovered have you “on edge”? Maybe it’s not the pool freezing that is causing you to worry as much as the fact that you dragged your feet in getting the work done. You procrastinated again!
Recognize what causes your stress. How do you feel when it happens, how do you react and what do you do to shake yourself from the feeling? In order to help yourself, you need to recognize the cause and the feelings related to the cause. From there you can work on ways to prevent it.
Exercise can help many facets of life. Besides the obvious physical benefits, it can do wonders for your mental state. The rush of endorphins helps put you in a better state of mind almost instantly (once you get over the pain your muscles are experiencing). Along with exercise you also need better sleep and nutrition habits. If you don’t get enough sleep and eat poorly you can’t possibly be at the top of your game. You will be continually sluggish.
Try to cut down on booze, cigarettes, and coffee. Yes, I said coffee. Adding caffeine ( a stimulant) will only increase stress levels. Drink clear liquids like water. (not vodka, and don’t lie. You were thinking that!)
Manage your time better
Nothing contributes more to stress than poor time management skills. We all know a person who is perpetually late. Think about this person. Typically they are frazzled, always running around cluelessly, and constantly stressed. Why add to your anxiety level when you can easily improve your time management skills?
Something as simple as leaving earlier can illeviate the stress a person has of being late.
Communicate your feelings
Talking to someone you trust can help in so many ways. This person doesn’t have to be someone who is going to take your stress away. They just need to be a person you can speak freely to who will listen and lend support. Sometimes just the mere act of talking will alleviate stress. It allows you to discuss your feelings, explain why you are felling a certain way and talk through solutions.
Don’t be ashamed to speak to a professional counselor as well if you feel it necessary. Speaking to a psychologist or psychiatrist can work wonders for you. They can provide you with the necessary tools to help you when you’re feeling “out of sorts”.
Take control of the situation before it gets out of hand. Think of all the possible scenarios and outcomes and prepare yourself for them. Proactively working through solutions will make you more confident and thereby cut down stress levels.
It’s OK to say no if you have too much on your plate. You can’t do it all and expect to perform at a high level mentally and physically. Something has to give. Learn to say no when you feel it’s necessary but don’t use this as a crutch all the time.
Relax or meditate
Find your quick stress reliever
There will be times when you need to be able to find a quick way to relieve your stress, right on the spot! Sometimes it may be just a matter of taking a few deep breaths or listening to a piece of music or reciting some sort of “mantra” under your breath. Whatever it is, find it and remember it. There will be points in life when you will be called upon to use that quick stress reliever and you need to be ready.
Think of it as the bottom of the ninth inning, bases loaded in Game 7 of the World Series. Your team has a one-run lead, there are two outs and the phone rings in the bullpen for you to come in. How are you going to relieve the stress of this situation immediately? You can’t pick up the phone and call your mom or sibling to talk through it. You need to be ready!
Everyone reacts differently to stress. Some seem to thrive in these types of situations where others flounder. I’ve learned that the people who thrive have merely mastered how to deal with stress in their life. They manage it and don’t let it manage them.
How do you deal with stress? Comment below with actions that work for you.
Well, stress is the most common mental disorder that rises from tension and anxiety. Researches reveal that every second person whose age is above 15 suffers from stress. Stress has many harmful side effects and overeating is one of the most dangerous effects among them and one do not know how to deal with stress. It happens because stress doesn’t let our brain properly and we often get confused between things and end up having food way too more than what is actually required.
In this phase of stress, we often get carried forward to junk food and always crave food that is not healthy for us as we assume that eating would give a certain amount of relief from tension and anxiety. Here are some side effects of overeating due to stress:
Table of Contents
This is the most common problem that a person suffers if he/she tends to overeat. Anything which is more than what is required proves to be dangerous for our health, same goes with food so eating too much might call upon many health-related problems and obesity is the first one in the long list. You can also check How to improve Gut Health .
Cannot Control Food:
If you tend to overeat causing by stress then it would be very difficult for you to resist food. You would always want more no matter how much you are from inside. This thing might even get you embarrassed in front of people and you might also be a subject of a joke for many.
Stomach Related Issues
Overeating tends to get your upset stomach too often as our stomach cannot take too much food so it starts reacting and the result that you get is loose motion, stomach ache, and many more. Instead of eating unhealthy, you can have healthy substitutes such as green vegetables, seasonal fruits, nuts, and many other organic foods.
Overeating invites many health-related issues and heart problem is one of them. Overeating mainly involves junk food which contains a high amount of oil that is of course not really good for our health and this increases the bad cholesterol level in the body leading to many heart-related problems that are hard to deal with.
High Blood Sugar:
Diabetes is another deadly disease that overeating often leads to. Food has its own sugar and carbohydrate which converts into calories and results in high blood sugar. The amount of insulin production also decreases so controlling blood sugar levels in this situation is quite difficult.
Overeating weakens our digestive system which results in acidity and many other problems. It might even make me feel like vomiting, loose motion, constipation, bloated feeling, etc.
How to Deal With Stress?
There are many ways of dealing with stress. Before going into any treatment it is very important to know about the cause of stress. If the reason is clear enough then the solution is easily found. Getting enough sleep is one of the most effective ways to fight against stress. Healthy eating is the other most effective way just nest to enough sleeping. Apart from this, you can do yoga as well as meditation to calm your soul and mind.
These were a few of the side effects that overeating caused by stress can bring in your life. Some of the solutions to get rid of stress is also discuss above. So know you know eating too much is not going to help you anyway in any matter. Better to be in limit and eating healthy is also a must. Thank you for visiting Healthclubfinder . Be healthy and be happy.
This post contains several options for discussing and dealing with stress.
- 10 questions for discussion that can be used in conversation classes or to practice English on your own or with a conversation partner
- A video for discussion by Arirang News about Korean children’s academic stress (학업 스트레스 최고지만 스스) followed by 3 questions for discussion
- A video with tips by BBC Brainsmart with 3 discussion questions
- 16 tips and tools and a link to an article with more tips and tools
- A link to time management tools by Francesco Cirillo, creator of the Pomodoro Technique
- Link to Is Stress Good for You? vocabulary lesson by Shayna at Espresso English
What is stress?
Everyone has stress in their lives at some point or another. Some people have more than others. People deal with stress in different ways. Some ways are more beneficial than others. For some, talking with friends or family members is helpful. For others, writing in a diary provides insight and clarity when times are difficult.
Many times, our attitude and thoughts about stress can determine how much it affects us. If we try to avoid it and hide from it, we often make whatever problem is causing it worse.
Procrastination can be helpful in small doses, but as a way of life, it can lead to more stress.
By facing our problems and dealing with them in a productive and healthy way, we can decrease our stress and start living more stress-free lives.
10 Questions for Discussing Stress
- What is stress?
- What are some examples of things that are stressful in life?
- How can stress be both positive and negative?
- What causes you the most stress?
- What are some ways people deal with stress?
- How do you usually cope with stress?
- What are some unhealthy ways that people try to relieve stress?
- What are some complications of stress?
- What are the healthiest ways to handle stress?
- What is your favorite way to de-stress?
Academic Stress in Korea
Watch the YouTube video “Korean children’s academic stress levels among world’s highest” by Arirang News. After watchin the video, discuss the three questions below.
- What is your level of academic stress?
- Which is more stressful: high school or university? Why?
- If you could change the Korean education system, how would you change it?
BBC Brainsmart Video
Pre-read the questions below. Watch the YouTube video “Managing Stress – Brainsmart” by the BBC. Discuss the questions below.
- What is the purpose of stress and how has it changed in the 21st century?
- What 7 tips does the BBC give for managing stress? Can you think of additional tips?
- Which tips would you like to try?
16 Tips and Tools for Dealing with Stress
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take deep breaths.
- Identify the causes.
- Avoid unnecessary stress and learn to say no.
- Take control by taking steps to deal with whatever is causing you stress.
- Remember to take breaks. Make time for fun and relaxation.
- Talk to someone.
- Spend time in nature.
- Spend time with a pet.
- Try meditation. Even five minutes a day can be beneficial.
- Write in a diary.
- Keep a gratitude journal.
- Create opportunities for laughter.
For more tips and tools check out this article on stress management.
Time Management Tools
Read books like Wait: The Art and Science of Delay
Espresso English Lesson:
For a free English lesson, check out Is Stress Good for You by Shayna at Espresso English. The information there is free, but if you decide to purchase one of Shayna’s courses or e-books, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products and services that I trust and wish I had created myself.
Shayna’s lesson includes a reading, 12 vocabulary words, and a quiz to test yourself on the meaning of the 12 words.
How do you manage stress? Share any tips or tricks you have in the comment section below!
Ready for a new topic? Check out ESL Conversation Topic: Creativity next.
Last reviewed on 6 December 2021
Surveys by King’s College London/Ipsos MORI, the Royal Society for Public Health, the British Red Cross and other organisations have shown how COVID-19 has caused anxiety, loneliness, depression, sleep problems and other mental health concerns.
It may seem obvious but one of the ways that COVID-19 has affected people is by increasing stress. Whilst stress is a perfectly normal, even healthy, reaction in the body and mind to some type of threat (it prepares you for ‘fight or flight’), when facing ongoing threats and challenges, it becomes something quite different.
There are also different types of stress. When you prepare for an important exam or meeting, the stress is short-term and reaches an end point. Compare that with being stuck in a traffic jam and not knowing why – you feel frustrated, trapped and unsure when you’ll get to your destination.
While you were at home more than usual during lockdown, that feeling of being restricted or trapped might have been very hard to bear and reminded you just how much we take our freedoms for granted. Many other worries might have mushroomed and completely filled your mind.
We sometimes say that someone has ‘lost their mind’ and, in some ways, they may have, if it is invaded by worries about things they can’t possibly control. Keeping all of your concerns about coronavirus (e.g. about your family’s health and how your finances might be affected) under control over the last 18 months might have been exhausting and, at some point, you might have started to drown in them. But that will get you nowhere.
Even now, you might feel stressed because of COVID-19. Perhaps you’ve had to change your working patterns or travel plans because of the new variant or you’re anxious about whether it’s safe to socialise over the festive season. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce these kinds of stresses.
Focus on what you can do
Dr Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap, suggests there is something simple that you can do: “. the single most useful thing anyone can do in any type of crisis – Corona-related or otherwise – is to: focus on what’s in your control.”
When we focus on something that we can do, which has some sort of end, we feel more effective and less trapped – even if it doesn’t always go right. Studies from Sweden on what helps people recover from stress and burnout suggest that being helped to sleep better and feel more effective is what makes the therapy work.
So, if you’re stuck in a situation that is stressful, whether at home or work, make sure you focus on the small things you can do that make a difference. That might be doing some chores, cooking some delicious food, building a playlist or doing something nice for someone else. Acts of kindness and generosity will help you as much as the person you are kind to.
The really important thing is to not measure the size of what you do; it is completing the activity that will give you some feeling of achievement. When you focus on that, it is really powerful. A study of those fleeing war zones and persecution found that this activity of focusing on some part of their life where they had control gave them hope and helped them to cope better, even though they may have lost their homes and members of their family.
Watch this short YouTube video by Dr Russ Harris about how to face COVID-19.
Don’t drown in worries
On Good Thinking, free apps like Be Mindful and My Possible Self can help guide you in this process. If you feel so overwhelmed that it’s hard to focus, you might find our cognitive fitness and mental resilience app MyCognition useful. After assessing how your brain is working (e.g. how good your attention and memory are) then playing the personalised video game, AquaSnap, you can improve your key ability to concentrate, solve problems, make good decisions, self-control and perform effectively.
The better you can focus on what you can control, the more clearly you can take in that not everything is out of control. If there are tough things to face or sort out, you’ll be in better shape to take on those challenges. And you’ll be in a stronger position to support your family, friends and wider community over the coming weeks and months.
As Dr Harris says, you can’t control coronavirus itself or how your government responds. You can’t even control how you feel about the current situation. So, step away from the bigger picture for a moment and make a note of something you can do, a behaviour that you can be in control of. It might just throw you a line and rescue you from drowning in worries.
Use the Good Thinking self-assessment tool to determine how stressed you are and get access to useful apps and other resources.
Check out Good Thinking’s advice about how to deal with the uncertainty of COVID-19 and how to connect with nature to boost your wellbeing. You can also listen to our podcasts with Professor Neil Greenberg (stress and trauma), Janet Wingrove (mindfulness) and Tracey Taylor (OCD). You might also like to watch our video mini-series in which members of the Speakers Collective talk about how they dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inside: A therapist’s favorite strategies to cope with stress in safe and healthy ways, with stress management techniques for children, teens and families.
Over the last several years, I’ve noticed an increase in stress in my clients. When I talk with other professionals – counselors, educators, psychologists, etc. – they’ve seen it as well. A recent study even suggests that teens now are more stressed than teens who lived during the Great Depression. Let’s explore some definitions of stress, then talk about coping skills to handle it.
Stress: physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension. Sometimes stress happens in response to a particular event or experience, like a big exam is coming up, or getting a detention at school. This is called acute stress. But sometimes stress occurs over a long time and isn’t resolved quickly, like stressing about getting into the right college, GPAs, and family finances (yes, even for kids). This is known as chronic stress.
Stress can be a little bit tricky to define because what is stressful to one person is not stressful at all to another. Different people react in different ways to the variety of stressors they experience. I’ve seen times when stress helps kids focus and study, and be ready to tackle a big exam or give an excellent performance on the field or the stage. On the other hand, I’ve also seen when stress is debilitating and makes it hard to accomplish things, tackle a to-do list, or get started on homework. Just like coping skills, what causes stress, and what would be considered the “right” amount of stress changes depending on the person.
People tend to think about stress only in a negative way, but I don’t think that’s accurate. For example, when we make new friends, or graduate, or move, or get a new job, these are generally considered positive, exciting life events. But truthfully, they can be stressful too. Sometimes these more positive stressful situations are referred to as eustress.
Mindset plays a part too. There’s a theory in psychology called “self-fulfilling prophecy.” If you think it’s going to be terrible, it probably will be terrible. But, if you think it’s going to be okay, it’s more likely that it’s going to be okay. Your expectations and mindset about stress and the stressful situations you experience matters. If you think of yourself as resilient and capable, that impacts how you handle the pressure, how you tackle the situation, and how you move forward.
In general, my goal is to help kids and teens identify what they find stressful, make a plan for help manage that stress safely and healthily, and then have them accomplish what they want to do. Below are some ideas to help:
I always start talking with kids about taking deep breaths. Why? Let’s talk a little bit about some automatic systems in the human body.
When kids (or adults for that matter) are calm, their bodies are in “rest and digest” mode. Their breathing is normal, their muscles are relaxed, and their heart rate is average. It’s how they would be when they’re watching a show and relaxing.
Now, in particular, it can be a very stressful time due to the knock-on effects of COVID-19. You may be dealing with the loss of income, need to work from home and look after the kids around the clock! Dealing with the stress that this current crisis has brought along can be very difficult and cause a great deal of uncertainty and change. This includes major changes to normal daily lives such as living at home more. Your normal schedule may have changed significantly.
With the above in mind, you may be looking for some helpful tips to deal with the current situation. Below are 7 tips to deal with stress at home. In my own experience, I have found these specific tips to be very helpful.
1. Take Care of Yourself First
You cannot take care of others well if you are not self-caring for starters. Particularly if you’re looking after your family or the elderly, there is a lot of added pressure right now.
The catch-22 is you may feel like you shouldn’t spend any time on yourself. But, there is a danger in this line of thought. Not taking some time out for yourself can often be to the detriment not just to yourself but also others. For example, in my own experience, I was so run-down recently that I could not think straight. I made work mistakes that cost my team a great deal of time. I felt guilty spending time on myself to rest. But, you need to do the things that keep you both physically and mentally healthy. Having this balance means you will be able to deal with stress while being more productive with your time.
2. Stick to a Routine and Set Goals
Most of us are in the unfamiliar position of being stuck at home a lot of the time. Having a routine provides some much needed stability and helps with productivity. Sure, there will be interruptions to this schedule, but stick to this routine as much as possible.
It is just as important to set goals for yourself, whether they belong or short-term, small or large. Currently, for example, one of my goals has been to simply stick to my routine. I have also learnt to say no more! I also set myself small daily goals to achieve for example certain work tasks for the day.
In his book Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert says a wandering mind is not a happy mind. Over 45% of our lives are spent thinking about multiple tasks. A planned life leads to increased happiness. Goal setting is important to set attainable goals. Setting action plans also helps. Chunking down larger goals into achievable bite-sized pieces will help you focus.
3. Communicate Consistently
Large changes to most people’s lives means communication is a real key. For example, at work you may not be familiar with working from home. You need to go back through a normalization stage with work colleagues. This will determine how you will work together. Schedule in weekly reviews with key colleagues to determine how things are tracking. This will enable you both to share your thoughts and any issues from both sides, ultimately allowing you to deal with stress.
Encourage similar open dialogue at home whether its with your kids or partner. This will iron out any issues and ensure everyone feels heard. You will also likely find that this will help you get on the same page with others.
4. Eat Healthy at Home
If you are in the habit of eating out try not to order in too often. Consider preparing healthy meals with family members. This can be a great way to bond while away from all the technology that dominates our lives. Try to have everyone engaged with different tasks they can be responsible for. This simple exercise can reinforce the values of teamwork and togetherness. Healthy meals will help keep energy and immune systems up. If needed visit diet advice and health websites to obtain good ideas.
If you find you have more time than usual consider upskilling. Time at home is an excellent opportunity to pursue that course you’ve been meaning to do or read that book. This will help enable you to learn a new skill or develop an existing one. If you are not sure what to learn, consider how your job or business is affected by recent events. Determine what kind of skills are most useful. Talk to work colleagues and clients to get their thoughts and ideas. Make the most of the current time at home as it provides an excellent opportunity to learn.
6. Use Video Technology
Use technology as a social enabler. It may not be as good as meeting in person, but stay connected with friends and family over video calls. This will give you a boost. During your time at home, it may be easy to think you’ll catch up with these people in person later on. But keeping in touch as regular to usual will provide a sense of normality. It will also ensure you engage in socialization outside of your immediate household. The video call software Zoom is free to use and easy to set up.
7. Think Positively
There are likely many things you may be missing from the days before isolation. This is normal. Try not to dwell on these but instead think of what you can do now and think of the positives. For example, being at home more means this is a great opportunity to spend more time with your household. Reconnect with family members you may have not had much time with. Build stronger relationships.
If you are with your partner, cook up a storm, light some candles and have some dinner dates. If you feel like it, get dressed up for the date even though it is at home! Like most things in life, your attitude will determine the enjoyment of events. It is much more productive to be engaging in the activities we enjoy and will bring us closer to our goals!
I have utilized the above tips in my current situation at home. You may be well-served to do the same upon reading them. I found it has also been an excellent exercise to review these with my partner from time to time.
A lot of uncertainty has come about from the current crisis. But, there is a lot we can do to ensure we live productive and happy lives which will help reduce stress.
Simon Choi is a mental health advocate and small business founder. He founded Standout Bands which supports Beyond Blue and allows him to write for his mental health blog, Healthy Minds. Simon is particularly passionate about supporting those experiencing depression. Currently, Simon is supporting those struggling as a result of COVID-19 related mental health issues.
If you or someone you love is showing signs of distress beyond occasional academic stress, they may be at risk for a mental health disorder like depression. Our compassionate team of experts provides mental health support for individuals and families. Contact us for a consultation.
Academic stress is at an all-time high for students from elementary school through college. From curriculum-based pressures like studying for exams, completing homework, and writing reports, to overwhelm and burnout from overloaded schedules and diverse and often unmet learning needs, students are buckling under the weight of high academic expectations combined with fast-paced lifestyles.
If you are a student feeling the pressure, or if you are the parent or friend of a student who is showing signs of academic stress, here are 10 tips from student Hailey Fuchs to help ease the pressure and find more school/life balance:
10 Academic Stress Management Tips
1. Make To Do Lists
To do lists can take a seemingly insurmountable pile of obligations much more manageable by helping prioritize and lay out exactly what needs to be done. Outline the set of tasks that you have to complete. Once you can visualize what you have to do, you won’t be daunted by your assignments.
2. Budget Your Time
Plan out your day, minute-by-minute. With a clear view of your schedule, you will feel more in control which will allow you to approach your tasks calmly and confidently.
3. Create a Rewards System
Giving yourself incentives to complete daunting academic tasks can help when the going gets tough. Set up a system of rewards so that you can look forward to finishing a set of tasks. For instance, give yourself a Hershey Kiss once you read 10 pages of your textbook. This little boost of endorphins will give you the encouragement to keep working.
4. Ask For Help and Move On
When you find yourself stressing over a seemingly impossible problem, text a friend or email a teacher. Then move on to other tasks. Don’t spend hours focusing on this problem, however significant it may seem to be at the time. Wasted time will slow you down, and you will be emotionally drained when preparing to shift your focus to your other remaining tasks.
5. Take Breaks to Breathe
Mindfulness is an immense help when experiencing overwhelm and academic stress. Finding a way to calm yourself physically will help relief mental stress simultaneously. Go online and find some breathing exercises. Whenever you find yourself worrying, put your pens and pencils down and breathe. Try closing your eyes while breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Moments like these are necessary to recharge.
6. Eat Healthy
While you may be tempted to reach for that slice of pizza, putting the right foods in your body will boost your energy and thereby give you the stamina you need to get your work done. Foods with high fat and sugar contents can make you feel sluggish and unmotivated to complete your tasks. Focus on fruits, veggies, and other high-fiber foods for sustained energy, and combine protein with carbohydrates to avoid a ‘crash’.
7. Get More Restful Sleep, Especially If You Can’t Get More Hours of Sleep
Obviously, you won’t be able to focus or work your best without a good night’s sleep. While I understand that sometimes sleep is the first thing to go when school work is piled high, there are a few tips to make the most of those precious hours of slumber. First, don’t do your work on your bed; it will lead to an association between your bed and your work, which will make it harder for you to fall asleep. Do the homework that does not require screen time last. Exposure to screens before bed has been proven to decrease quality of sleep. If you find yourself worrying while you are trying to snooze, try clenching each muscle in your body one-by-one, starting with your feet, until you clench your entire body. Then release. This relief will make your body feel de-stressed and will allow you to fall asleep faster.
Experts say that everyone needs at least a half hour of exercise each day. Not only does exercise help you with restful sleep but exercise also boosts endorphins, which, in turn, make you more happy and less anxious.
9. Set Aside Days to Relax
Just like a good night of sleep, you need a day of fun to recharge from a week of school. Set aside time to spend Friday or Saturday with friends or family. Do not focus on anything relating to work or school during these times. It can be tempting to work all the time, especially if academic stress is at a peak, but you will work more efficiently and effectively with breaks to rest and socialize as opposed to burning yourself out.
10. Seek Help If Necessary
If you find that academic stress has consumed your life, talk to a teacher, guidance counselor, parent, or another trusted adult. While a certain amount of anxiety is normal, no one should worry alone, and prolonged academic stress can lead to mental health struggles like anxiety and depression.
Getting Help With Academic Stress Management
Academic stress can affect everyone in the family. If you or a loved one is suffering with stress due to academic overwhelm and other school-related challenges, O’Connor Professional Group provides in-home and remote educational support services as well as private mental health support for students and their families. Contact us online or call 617.910.3940 for more information and to schedule a consultation with a member of our caring team.
Stress is a part of our life. At the university, we are faced with many situations that are accompanied by stress. Just being in class can be stressful for some of us.
Chronic stress can sabotage your health, including acne, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, headaches, muscle tension, difficulty concentration, fatigue, and irritability.
Here are some tips on how you can deal with stress.
Accept that stress is part of life
When stressful situations arise, you should devote your efforts to doing what you can to move forward.
- Choose the right affirmations by using believable phrases. For example, instead of “I will be a successful person” say to yourself “I will try my best until I succeed”. Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome the self-destructive nature of the mind. They can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When you repeat them often and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes.
- Learn how to accept compliments. When someone is complimenting you, they are sharing how what you did impacted them. It does not matter if you agree or disagree with what they are saying, just relate to it as a gift and accept it. Say thank you for the compliments.
- Don’t criticize yourself. When you criticize yourself, your self-esteem becomes even lower. Negative self-criticisms affect your health. You should never insult yourself, even if you think it is true since calling yourself out in this way won’t accomplish anything beneficial.
- Don’t compare yourself with others. Build your own life: define your skills and develop them, make your own plans. Especially, don’t compare yourself with bloggers, you never know what their life looks like in reality.
- If you are nervous about speaking in class, note down a couple of questions or responses to questions you could contribute. Try to make just one contribution in class as a starting point. When you have spoken once, you may find it easier to speak in front of the class in the future. If it is possible, write an email to the professor with your questions, after that it may be also become easier to ask questions during class.
Increase your subject knowledge
- Read your module handbook and any module information available at the start of the semester and revisit it throughout.
- Read and refer to your marking criteria and any other information given when preparing for assessments. Consider carefully what your tutors are looking for in that particular assessment.
- Read any essential texts that you have been set. Texts on your reading lists will be important in giving you a foundation to build your knowledge.
- Look up unfamiliar terms in dictionaries or subject-specific dictionaries.
- Plan and organize your study sessions. Remember to set a realistic goal before any study sessions. An unachievable goal will demotivate you and an unspecific one will make your work unfocussed. If you have a clearly defined goal, you will also be able to review whether you achieved it at the end of your study session.
- Make a note of your questions during a lecture.
- Actively engage in classes: take notes, work in small groups, answer tutor’s questions, and summarise your understanding of the class.
Review and reflect:
- Watch any recorded lectures again to ensure you have not missed anything.
- Allow yourself sufficient time for reflection. Learning is a difficult process, and you will not understand everything straight away.
- Reflect on the feedback from your assessments.
- Actively reflect on how your new knowledge compares with what you already know.
Take care of your physical health
You will not be able to combat stress if you are worn out and running on empty:
- Exercise – You don’t need to visit the gym every day. There are a lot of free videos on YouTube with exercises that you can do at home.
- Sleep well – Just plain being awake creates toxic in your brain. During sleep, your brain cells shrink, and fluid can flow past these cells and wash the toxins out. Also, during sleep, your brain tidies up ideas and concepts you’re thinking about and learning. It erases the less important parts of memories and strengthens areas that you need.
- Maintain a diet – Your diet should contain a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need to combat stress. Also, it is important to understand if you have emotional eating. Emotional eating is using food to make yourself feel better – to fill emotional needs rather than your stomach. And don’t eat certain foods as a reward for work done. Eat because you are hungry.
Balance social activity
You should maintain a healthy social life even when you are stressed and reserve time to be alone with your thoughts. Don’t check social media as soon as you wake up. Schedule a social media detox day every week or every 2 weeks. Talk with people more, than chat with. Talk with people more, than chat through messages. Talking in person or by video, you express more feelings. All of these can help to take care of your mental health.
Find time to relax
Plan some days off, find activities, and don’t study these days. If you will study every single day without relaxing, you will burn out. Also, it is also ok to spend time laying on a bed and watching movies. You don’t always need to do special activities.
Never think about failure
Do not imagine in advance that you did not have time to prepare or that you failed a test or exam. Plan your time with planners or to-do lists so that you will have time to do everything and during the test, you will think only about assignments.
Don’t be mad at yourself for failures and don’t give up
Analyze the situation, determine why this happened and how it can be avoided in the future. After all stressful situations, do an analysis to know how to reduce stress.
Talk with your friends and relatives
Talk about your university life with other people, describe your feelings and worries. Maybe your friend experienced the same difficulties as you and this person will be able to help you or at least will understand you. If you have difficulties with finding friends, you can find people to talk to in different communities. For example, study communities on discord have channels where you can ask for help.
you would like to read more study advice, go to their Instagram page @labstudyinside.
When the world feels like it’s a little too much to bear, everyone has their own methods for dealing with the stress. Some prefer alone time, while others find nothing less relaxing than quiet. Getting active is absolutely necessary for some, but others hear the couch calling their name even more loudly in times of stress. And then there are the moments, of course, when it’s hard to say what will solve your freak-out. At times like that, I suggest looking to the stars, because basing the best way to deal with stress on your zodiac sign could be key in helping you nail down the best self-care routine for yourself possible.
Even if you’re an astrology hater, I’m pretty sure you’ll be open to the suggestions I’m about offer. After all, don’t we need all the help we can get when it comes to stress relief? And hey, if there’s anyone who knows me better than I know myself, it’s probably Cafe Astrology.
If the stress relief strategy suggested for your sign doesn’t seem 100 percent spot-on, I urge you to give it a try, anyway. What’s the harm in experimenting? Every little bit of angst you can work out will make you a much happier you, so while you’re at it, you might want to try all of these ideas, regardless of when you were born.
It’s been pretty well-documented that getting a little artistic and working with your hands is a great way to relieve stress вЂ” and since you probably already have some creative tendencies, Aquarius, you might as well tap into them and cut back on your anxieties while you’re at it! We can’t all be Bob Ross (wouldn’t it be a perfect world if we could?), but the least we can do is try.
Pisces are typically on the sensitive, intuitive, dreamy side, so if this is your sign, you might find that putting your thoughts on paper is a great way to work through your feelings and make sense of the craziness in your head. You may even end up with a great short story while you’re at it.
Energetic, independent, trailblazing (please excuse the pun that’s just around the corner) Aries will do well to hit the actual trail if they’re feeling a little stressy. Don’t live near any mountains or hiking paths? Find a hilly part of your neighborhood, or hit the gym and crank up the incline on your trusty treadmill. Being active is key.
Taurus, if you find that physically working out your aggression is one of the only ways for you to effectively neutralize your stress, I’m not exactly surprised. If my research is correct (and I’d pretty much trust Cafe Astrology with anything), you, my friend, are a physical, stubborn, somewhat intense person вЂ” which is totally cool, as long as you can figure out how to channel it properly. Consider taking a boxing class or testing out the punching bag at the gym next time you’re feeling like the world is too much for you to handle.
Just like the twins that symbolize your star sign, you might have two different personalities (I’m sure both of them are great, but you just may be a little unpredictable. The thing you’ll want to avoid in the midst of stress is saying or doing something you’ll regret. Opt to take some time alone so you can work things out for yourself вЂ” and your second personality вЂ” before you lose your cool.
You’re pretty quiet, Cancer, and you may even have a tendency to be defensive when you get upset. It’s probably best for you take some time to be alone when you’re stressed, but I’d suggest tuning in to your favorite podcast or playlist so you don’t stew too much in your own thoughts.
King of the jungle or hostess with the mostess? Leos are great at welcoming people into their homes and at being generally social. Inviting a few of your favorite people over might be the perfect distraction from whatever is bringing you down. Venting to friends, watching a movie, and snacking on cocktail weenies вЂ” can you think of a better way to decompress?
For analytical, reserved Virgos, a crossword puzzle is the ideal solution to stressful times вЂ” and as a Virgo myself, I can totally vouch for this strategy! Crossword puzzles (or any other word or logic game) give you something else to focus on, and by the time you finish it вЂ” which you will, duh вЂ” you’ll be able to tackle whatever’s bugging you a lot more effectively.
If life is just a little too much for you to handle lately, Libra, call up a friend and make a coffee date. You’re probably pretty social, and you feel better being around people. You also prefer when things shake out in a way that feels fair, so talking with a close pal one-on-one will make it easier for you to figure out how to achieve the kind of balance that will ease your stress in a difficult situation.
Making awesome slime isn’t just for kids (although kids do look really cool doing it in their YouTube videos). Working on a hands-on project like this is a great stress-reliever for anyone, but especially Scorpios, who are often resourceful, focused, and passionate. Any craft or DIY undertaking will do the trick!
Restless, adventurous Sagittarius, take your stress to the streets with a nice, long run. Strap on those sneakers and work out your worries in an intense sweat session.
While retail therapy can be dangerous for many of us (aka, me), Capricorns can be trusted with this kind of stress relief, thanks to their conservative and disciplined personalities. Treating yourself to something вЂ” even if it’s just a candle or your favorite cookie вЂ” will take the edge off your concerns, and you probably wont’ be tempted to overdo it.
How to deal with stress is different for individuals. It can be closer to fantasy if there is a way to have no stress at all for the rest of our lives. Therefore, we should wisely manage the stressors in our lives to maintain the right stress level and find its balance.
Coping strategy is the stress-management strategy that concentrates on controlling negative emotional responses to a stressful situation.
Even though people react to stress in various ways, coping mechanisms may be classified into three groups. There are problem-focused, emotion-focused coping, and seeking social support.
This article will first find out about problem-focused coping techniques and seeking social support coping strategies.
Problem-focused coping techniques aim to face and directly manage the situation’s demands or modify the situation to make it less stressful. Following are the five techniques how to deal with stress in problem-focused ways.
- Active coping / problem-solving: A person directly puts it into action to manage a stressful situation.
e.g., Studying for a test. Create a timetable and write down the plans.
- Planning: Developing ideas to deal with the stressor. Purely doing with thoughts.
e.g., Try to prioritize a couple of tasks up next in your mind and stay focused on one thing at a time.
- Suppression of competing activities: Put other problems on hold until the primary or current stressor has eased.
e.g., There will be a wedding ceremony a couple months later, and you are preparing a wedding ceremony. It’s a significant life event that can be stressful sometimes due to a lot to prepare. Reducing the time of other activities and investing the majority of the time for the wedding.
- Exercising restraint: Waiting for the right time to act effectively. Not taking action too soon.
e.g., Trying to come up with an idea and try solving the problem right away. However, a good idea is not coming, so it’s giving you a lot of stress. Sometimes take a step back from the problem and take some time to relax and think can solve the problem.
- Confrontation with assertiveness: Having an argument with assertive behavior. Assertive behavior is that having the ability to articulate one’s demands, wants, and expectations while yet respecting the rights of others.
Confrontation is unavoidable in your area of work. When you practice approaching assertively, it becomes a lot simpler. It is challenging to get the desired outcomes when you behave in non-assertive and aggressive ways.
e.g., The situations that have to talk about work at the company. Instead of “You’ve done a bad job again,” say, “This report is lacking critical information.”
Seeking social support
When you’re stressed, you may rely on people for help and emotional support.
- Instrumental social support: Seeking tangible and/or physical help or assistance is instrumental support. It can be requesting help, information, or guidance from the social network. Seeking financial support is included.
e.g., You are injured and asked your roommate to cook a meal for you to eat.
- Emotional social support: Looking for sympathy, understanding, or emotional help and support.
e.g., A guy with a terminal illness could decide to reach out to a terminally sick support group.
Problem-focused coping is helpful, mainly when there is a realistic chance of managing stressful situations. But, there are certain circumstances we can’t control, and problem-focused coping may end up doing more harm than good in those instances.
Trying to alter the circumstance is not always the most excellent method to cope with a stressor, even though the findings show that most people prefer problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping, on the other hand, maybe the most effective method. Since, while the circumstance cannot be altered, emotional responses that are difficult to accept may be regulated or minimized with emotion-focused coping strategies.
Therefore, we will find out about the emotion-focused coping techniques in the upcoming article. And have more understanding of how to deal with stress.
We all face challenges in our lives that cause stress. One of the best ways to cope with stress is to build your resilience. Resilience helps us to get through the tough times in a positive way, and helps us bounce back from difficult times.
Healthy and supportive relationships help build your resilience. Having people who you trust, like family and friends, who listen to your thoughts, feelings, and ideas and provide you with support is important. It can take time to build relationships, so finding activities you enjoy doing with your family and friends is a great way to strengthen those relationships.
This can include:
- Going for walks or hikes
- Playing sports
- Preparing meals
- Playing board games
- Playing music
Working Tthrough Stress in a Positive Way
One of the best things you can learn when you are facing a challenge is how to make a positive out of a negative. Your mindset is your biggest tool. Being a positive thinker helps you move past a challenge easily. A positive thinker:
- Knows life is not perfect;
- Is realistic, but confident they can find an answer to their problem;
- Is able to handle a setback, not feel overwhelmed by it, but ready to try something new.
Let’s say you didn’t make a sports team at school. If you are a negative thinker, you may say something like: “that coach hates me! That’s why I didn’t make the team.” If you are a positive thinker, you may say something like: “you know, I didn’t make the team this time but, I am going to practice and try again next season. If it doesn’t work out, then I gave it my best and I can always try another sport I like.” It is the same challenge for both of them but, the positive thinker is hopeful and has a plan to try again.
Remember, feelings are normal, and not feeling awesome all the time is okay. You may feel angry, anxious, frustrated, or sad when you face a challenge. Here are some ideas to help cope with your feelings:
- Get together with family and friends to talk;
- Talk to a health professional;
- Listen to music and breathe deeply;
- Get out and be active, such as going for a run; and
- Eat well, stay away from junk food.
Lastly, making a plan helps you find ideas that work for you and guides the type of supports you need to put your plan into action. Here are some questions to ask yourself and examples of ideas:
- What helped me cope last time I had a challenge?
Last time I had a challenge, eating well, being active, and sleeping well helped me. I also accepted that I cannot always do things perfectly, and was thankful for the good things in my life.
- Where do I go to get help?
I could ask my family and my friends for help. If you need more support, check out these services.
- What new thing can I try to help me overcome my challenge?
I will practice deep breathing and mindfulness for 5 to 10 minutes a day.
How to deal with stress at work?
How to deal with stress at work? : The answer of this question is explained here in this article. We all have work and at some point, we all have felt stress due to work related pressure. This pressure is due to high competition in the present world. You can face stress even when you love the job you do.
We may experience this pressure for a short time to meet some deadlines or fulfill a challenging obligation. When this stress continues for longer time, it may be harmful for both physical and emotional health. Nowadays, long stress is too common. According to some survey, Americans sited work as the major source of stress.
There can be many reasons for stress like low salary, high workload, few opportunities, less challenging etc. We can never stop this type of pressure but can always take steps to avoid stress and deal with it.
How to deal with stress at work?
The list of some ways to deal with stress at work is described below:
1. Know your stress
Keep a diary with you for one or two weeks and write down by identifying the situations where you feel most stress and how you respond to it. Try recording your thoughts, feelings and information about the environment. Notice the circumstances involved and people around you, the surroundings and how you reacted to it.
Taking notes can help you find the way you deal with the stress and how you react to it.
2. Try good responses
Many of us take fast food and alcohol to minimize and fight the stress. Instead of this, we can make healthy choices when we feel any tension. Exercise is great stress-buster. Doing yoga for 15 minutes can be an excellent choice to calm your mind but any form of physical activity is beneficial. When you are stressed out, do something you like which can be your hobbies and favorite activities. Spending time with your family or playing games can be some great options. Take a good sleep for effective stress-management.
3. Make Boundaries
In today’s digital world, it is easy to feel stress to be available for 24 hours a day. This can be avoided by establishing some work-life boundaries for yourself. That might mean making a rule to not check your emails when you are at home in the evening or not answering phone calls during dinner. Although you can have your own preferences when it comes to you to how much you blend your work with your home life. Making some clear boundaries can reduce the work-life conflicts and stress will go away.
4. Recharge yourselves
We can avoid the negative effects of this work related stress by giving our mind time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recharging process involves stopping your work or thinking about it for small periods of time regularly. Again it totally depends on your preferences for work. By this type of recharging, your mind will be give its efficiency the next time you do work.
Don’t waste your vacation and take time to relax and unwind. When you ae not in the position to take vacation, just switch off the mobile and laptop and do some non-work activities.
5. Relax properly
We all should learn how to relax. There are some techniques to relax like meditation, deep breathing exercise and mindfulness which is a state where you actively observe present experiences and thoughts without judging them at all. These techniques can let your stress melt away. Start by taking a few minutes to focus on these techniques and doing yoga. The skill of being able to focus on a single activity without any distraction will get better by days and will help you in many aspects of life,
6. Talk to supervisor
We know that employee well-being is greatly related to productivity of the company, so your boss has an incentive to create a work environment that promotes productivity of workers there.
You can start with having a conversation with your supervisor. Talk to him in a professional way and don’t list the complaints. You can rather tell him the ways for effective management of stress points you have identified, so that all can perform best of their jobs.
This plan can look like more self-directed but you have to take some steps to make changes in your workspace to make it less-stressful and comfortable.
7. Take support
We can all always take support from anyone. Friends, parents etc are always present for us in our hard time. Accepting help from them can help you relieve stress and be happy. You can always make a group of colleagues going through same situation and share your worries helping stress to go away.
If you still feel too stressed after this, you should consult a psychologist who can help you better stress management and change unhealthy behavior.
8. Stay away from conflict
Interpersonal conflicts in workplace takes a toll on your physical and emotional health and as conflict with co-workers is difficult to escape, it is good to avoid it.
This means that not involving in any type of gossiping, making too many personal opinions about sensitive issues and try to steer clear from colorful office humor. Try to avoid those people who don’t work well with other people. If you are involved in any conflict, deal with it professionally.
9. Stop multitasking
Earlier multitasking was considered a skill as it’s a good way to maximize one’s time and get more work done. Then people realized that when they are doing something in their phone and doing other calculations at the same time, their speed and accuracy is reduced. There comes different kind of feeling while multitasking and splitting focus that doesn’t work for many people and they start taking stress. Thus avoid multitasking.
10. Control perfectionism
If you are a high achiever, it can make you feel good about yourself and excel at work. But being a perfectionist on the other hand can drive you and people around you a little nuts. Especially in this busy, high competitive and fast-paced jobs , you may not be able to do everything perfectly. But we can always give our best and congratulating yourself is a good strategy to avoid stress.
You results will be improved and you will be much-less stressed at the work. This were some of the best ways you can practice to avoid and remove stress related to your work. I hope now you have got understood that how to deal with stress at work.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Keyes explains what stress is, the key signs and symptoms, and outlines five strategies for managing stressful situations.
What is stress?
Stress is to be in a state of mental or emotional pressure resulting from perceived demands. Day to day we experience many demanding circumstances which our bodies can treat as ‘threats’ (e.g. excess workloads and taking care of our family). Our bodies are hard-wired to react to stress to protect us against threats from predators. When we experience a threat, our brain’s hypothalamus sets off an ‘alarm system’ in the body – the fight, flight or freeze response.
This response releases hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate and blood pressure and boosts energy. Cortisol increases glucose in the bloodstream which enhances your brain’s use of glucose and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol also reduces the immune, digestive and reproductive systems. Once the threat has passed hormone levels go back to normal and the body goes back to usual. However, if stressors continue and you feel threatened still, the stress response continues. We are built to handle short-lived stress but we are not built to handle chronic stress in this way.
Are there different types of stress?
There are three different kinds of stress that psychologists have identified:
- Acute stress – is caused by the daily pressures and demands that we all experience. This tends to last for a short time. Sometimes the stress is felt after the event as emotional distress or physical discomfort.
- Episodic stress – stops/starts in ‘episodes’ and is often due to demands and unrealistic goals. Found in ‘Type A’ personalities who tend to be more competitive and demanding. Repeated stress episodes can lead to depression/anxiety/worry which in the long-term can lead to Coronary Heart Disease.
- Chronic stress – prolonged tension from internal or external stressors, causing health problems and a suppressed immune system. These are stressors that you cannot have a break from, such as significant caring responsibilities or a career with repeated exposure to trauma.
How can I tell if I am stressed?
Whilst we all experience stress differently, you might notice several of the following:
- Physical signs – frequent headaches, difficulty sleeping, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, sore muscles, nausea or upset stomach, diarrhoea or constipation, a general sense of fatigue, loss of sex drive, frequent colds.
- Cognitive signs – trouble concentrating, memory difficulties, poor judgement, worry, anxious thoughts, confusion, indecisiveness and loss of sense of humour.
- Emotional signs – feeling agitated and unable to relax, feeling overwhelmed, feeling unhappy/depressed/moody, feeling irritable and short-tempered.
- Behaviour change – eating more or less than usual, sleeping too much/too little, using alcohol/cigarettes/drugs more than usual, habits such as nail-biting or skin picking.
What can trigger stress?
There are infinite potential triggers and we all have different tolerances for how much stress we can manage, so the perception of pressure is key. Stressors can be external ones (psychological such as experiencing a traumatic event, social such as a separation, or environmental such as a house move) or internal ones (such as an illness). Sometimes the sheer number of demands compared to perceived ability to cope can trigger stress. How we react is influenced partly by genetics, as we can have an over or underactive stress response, and by life experiences of trauma, neglect and abuse.
5 strategies for managing stressful situations
Experiencing stress is part of life and sometimes we cannot change the situation, but we can learn to identify what stresses us and manage their impact. Find new ways to cope so you do not rely on unhelpful methods such as drinking alcohol, overeating, and smoking.
1. Identify triggers
Write a list of all the sources of stress in your life right now and rate them out of 10. Prioritise the things that need to be done first and consider if you can avoid any unnecessary stress delegating to others, dropping tasks that aren’t really necessary, and learning not to take on additional tasks. Break any tasks that seem overwhelming into smaller chunks.
2. Consider lifestyle
Ensure you are eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise (to run off excess stress hormones and help you sleep better), and getting plenty of sleep.
3. Create a balanced schedule
Set aside allocated time for the activities and people that bring you joy and fun, by learning to say no to demands that create additional stress in your life.
4. Develop daily relaxation practice
Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or walking. Even a few minutes a day can help reduce the physical symptoms of stress.
5. Alter expectations to stressors that cannot be changed
Practice gratitude and reframing how you see the problem. Adjust your standards if you are a perfectionist. Ask yourself if this will matter in a month or year from now. Acceptance of things that are out of your control can mean you are free to focus on the things you can control.
Help with long-term stress
If stressors are unavoidable and ongoing, you may learn helpful ways of coping through:
- A clinical psychologist may help you make changes using acceptance and commitment therapy or practising mindfulness.
- Invest in a Biofeedback kit. This is a non-drug treatment in which, with the use of electrical sensors, you can learn to control subtle bodily processes including muscle tension, blood pressure and heart rate.
- Certain supplements have evidence for reducing feelings of stress, such as ashwagandha.
Burnout as the result of workplace stress carries significant implications for employers
If people are meeting the criteria for burnout, organizations may be neglecting their legislated duty to ensure psychologically safe workplaces. (Alliance/Adobe Stock)
When I began working in disaster and emergency management, there was a funny anecdote suggesting the job was 98 per cent paperwork and two per cent adrenalin.
Looking around at my office environment, I failed to see much adrenalin. To make sense of this, I researched some major disasters and discovered that when they strike, emergency managers transition to working in emergency co-ordination centres. These nerve centres often look like something out of the movies, with people staring intently at their computers while large screens everywhere display critical information.
During the devastating Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016, which destroyed entire subdivisions and caused more than $1 billion in damage, I finally understood the “two per cent adrenalin” aspect of our work. For months, the work was non-stop and around the clock. Soon, I noticed the initial state of exhilaration was replaced by a state of exhaustion.
At that time, I was reminded of the 2004 book, When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress, written by Canadian physician Gabor Mate, that outlines the four most stressful stimuli: Lack of information, uncertainty, lack of control and conflict. I observed that during a disaster, all of these factors are present in droves.
In a disaster, critical decisions must be made with incomplete or contradictory information. Lack of control and uncertainty emerge when navigating policies, guidelines and laws. There’s often conflict with resource allocation and conflicting priorities.
Other notable factors include atypical working hours, extremes of activity and a sedentary work environment. While some features are unique to our profession, I’m under no illusion that we’re alone in our experiences. Many other professions and positions face similar challenges.
Exhaustion follows exhilaration
While short-term workplace stress is to be expected, the problem emerges with long-term sustained stress.
As Hungarian scientist Hans Selye described in 1950 in his seminal general adaptation syndrome about workplace stress, after sustaining a period of exhilaration, stressed employees eventually reach the exhaustion phase and can no longer sustain additional pressure. Today in my clinical psychology practice, my clients who work in various fields tell me about exhaustion, irritability, impatience, trouble concentrating and taking in new information and feeling under-appreciated at work, with some even contemplating quitting their jobs.
In 2019, the World Health Organization identified a syndrome it labelled “burnout” resulting from chronic workplace stress. Now people who report feeling depleted of energy or exhausted, mentally distanced from or cynical about their jobs and experiencing problems getting their work done can be diagnosed with a workplace injury.
Burnout as the result of workplace stress carries significant implications for employers. Canadian occupational health and safety standards require employers to protect the physical and mental health of their workers. If people are meeting the criteria for burnout, organizations may be neglecting their legislated duty to ensure psychologically safe workplaces.
Preventing, mitigating stress
The good news is something can be done. While it will require genuine organizational commitment, prevention and mitigation are key. But to get at the heart of the problem, we must first ask if employers are even tracking psychological safety in the workplace.
Of those that do, most merely encourage staff to exercise more, meditate, sleep better and eat a more balanced diet. This is, quite simply, passing the buck onto an already depleted workforce and does nothing to address the core of the problem. The answer is not to recommend Band-Aid solutions, suggesting employees try even harder in their downtime to compensate for organizational neglect.
For meaningful change, organizations must first implement clear policies reflecting their commitment to workplace mental health and psychological safety, and appoint a wellness champion and leaders who model these values.
The next step is identifying workplace hazards through employee engagement surveys, workplace risk assessments, incident investigations, exit interviews and disability claim data if available. Identifying controls to prevent psychological harm is also necessary.
Respectful workplace policies
Once hazards have been identified, prevention and mitigation measures must follow. Organizations must define and train employees on their duties and responsibilities, monitor workload, consider flexible work arrangements, clearly communicate priorities and ensure respectful workplace policies are understood and that managers who defy them are held accountable.
Organizations must address environmental risks by encouraging movement, breaks and getting sunlight. Finally, documenting and reporting hazards as a measure for ongoing program development is necessary because it helps inform company policy as part of holistic continuous improvement efforts.
Throughout the entire cycle, I remind organizational leaders to remain present to support staff through the execution of all tasks — and of the value in fostering happy and engaged teams.
Research shows that the highest performing workplace teams have one thing in common: psychological safety. When people feel safe, they are engaged and committed to their work, and this builds organizational resilience. Employers who manage to get ahead of the burnout curve will gain a distinct advantage over other organizations.
Kristen Deuzeman is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton. Deuzeman does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.