Dealing With Stress:
Every morning I follow the same routine. I wake up, drink my coffee and put on the morning news. It’s a ritual, I have grown to despise. Every morning, I feel brief moments of panic and anxiety. Just turning on the news makes my heart race; my head spin and my stomach feel sour. I tried to make the decision that I would no longer watch the news but between the traffic, weather and just knowing how my IRA is doing I always get stuck watching the news. After talking with many others, I have realized that most of us feel the same. It doesn’t matter where we live, what age our kids are, if we are stay at home moms or work outside the house, we all feel the pressure.
The typical question I get as a Therapist/life coach is how can I handle all this fear and anxiety? What happens if I stay stressed out? I can’t change circumstances but hopefully this column will help you deal with stress/anxiety more effectively.
Coping with Stress and Anxiety:
1.) Be honest with yourself – what is causing you stress? Confront the issues.
What type of stress do you have?
Is it Physiological – illness, pain, lack of proper nutrition, exercise, poor sleeping habits, excessive drinking, smoking, etc?
Psychological – Frustration, conflict, feeling overwhelmed, going thru transitional times, loss, etc
Is it school problems – test anxiety, stress at work, financial, and/or relationship?
Once you know where the stress is coming from- you can find solutions to deal with the stress.
2.) Be realistic on what you can change and what you can’t. What can you take control of in your life right now? Control is a positive step to regaining your power. Once you take action, you gain control and you will start feeling better. Set realistic goals and priorities. Remember, we can only control ourselves and our reactions.
3.) Learn to listen to your body to know when you’re too stressed out and hitting the “burnout Stage”. We receive these signs to let us know something is not right and that we need to make changes.
Physical signs of Stress and Anxiety: Stomach problems, headaches, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, low immune system – catch frequent colds, flu, panic attack symptoms – chest pains, racing heart, hot and cold flashes, dizziness, nauseous, problems catching your breath, hyperventilating even fainting.
Psychological signs: Change in appetite, sleeping patterns, loneliness, loss of focus and concentration, mood swings, irritability, little or no patience and lack of desire for socializing and hobbies.
Burnout – a state of physical, emotional, spiritual and mental exhaustion.
4.) Stop trying to be perfect – ask for help, have a support system. Find ways to simplify your life. Be proud of your accomplishments.
5.) Be kind to yourself. Self-care. What have you done for yourself lately? Learn to relax and take breaks. Even if it’s only 10-15 minutes a day. Learn that caring for yourself is every bit as important as caring for others.
6.) Learn to trust your instincts. You know yourself the best and you are usually right. Trust yourself.
7.) Stop negative thoughts – monitor your self. Write down all your negative thoughts, next to your negative thoughts write down the rational, positive thoughts. Practice changing your thoughts from negative to positive. Then praise yourself/reward yourself every time you change a negative thought for a positive thought.
8.) If you feel your anxiety/stress is more then you can handle or you have chronic anxiety and/or panic attacks. There are the options of: Counseling and support groups