by Dorothy Wehunt
Have you ever thought that you would not have any stress if you did not have so much to do? You have thought if only I did not have so many interruptions. Or if others would do for themselves, I could finish my task on time. Or do you believe that there is not enough time in the day. Most people have felt or do feel this way at one time or another. So why not manage stress successfully with the following proven strategies.
Our thoughts about a situation determine whether we perceive it as stressful or not. Thus, they choose our reaction. Thus, we need to take control of our thoughts. When we can do something, for example manage stress, we look for ways to do it.
Many people spend energy and time trying to find ways to get other people to change to manage their stress. However, we do not have control over others. Other people only change when the change benefits them and they are ready to change. They do not change for our reasons.
Practice awareness to manage stress.
We need to be aware of our thoughts and associated feelings. It is our thoughts that help us to identify our stressors. For example, a person might feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or irritable. The intensity of the feelings associated with one’s thoughts and words show one’s level of stress. Annoyed has less intensity than anger.
Our thoughts and words state that we need to notice the tension in our body and our breathing. We notice any symptoms we experience such as sweaty palms, headaches, or heart pumping. How long we hold these thoughts and feelings reflect the level of stress we experience. How long it takes us to change our state to function do also. Our awareness of our thoughts and symptoms let us know when to act to manage stress. It shows us what thoughts we need to choose to manage our stress.
Replace thoughts and manage stress.
Replacing inaccurate thoughts with more realistic thoughts keep situations in perspective. For example, say, “Fifty percent of the time I don’t lose my thought when I am interrupted.” It is more realistic than, “I always lose my thought when I am interrupted.”
It is our thoughts that help us to take charge of our lives. They direct our decisions and actions. Thus, whether we choose to act to manage our stress depends on the thoughts we hold. If we don’t choose to manage our stress, it will take control of us and take over our life.
The thoughts we hold about our previous successes help us to set realistic goals. Setting attainable goals helps us to be in control. We are more confident about our strengths and the results. We are less anxious and stressed.
Thinking about what we can do rather than thinking that there is not enough time in the day leads us to be proactive. We focus on what we want to do. One person may focus on his tasks by what worries him the most to get it out of the way for the day to flow. Another person may focus on his “to do list” according to what he feels is easier to do. To do so makes him feel more productive and confident. And another person may feel he has completed or accomplished more if he does what is difficult. Or a person may do what he feels is most vital to his success.
Prioritize to control stress.
Doing things in priority or one thing at a time helps us to avoid over commitment. It helps reduce chaos in meeting our needs and wants, and thus brings order to our lives. People who try to do everything underestimate the amount of time it takes. Of course, saying “NO” prevents over commitment.
Manage problems to be in charge.
If we can manage or solve a problem, we are more likely to confront it rather than avoid it. Of course, it is important to know what the real problem is.
When we notice how our thoughts affect our emotions, we know what words to choose to manage our emotions. When we know we can manage our emotions, not become angry, lose our temper, cry, etc., we are in control. We are confident.
Choosing our thoughts can help us to adapt to a situation. Suppose a person has planned a day outdoors on vacation. It rains. He decides to play games with others who want to play games rather than complain about the rain.
If we want to be in control of our stress, and thus our life, each of us needs to take control of our thoughts. When we do, we can choose thoughts that lead us to make the decision to take the needed action. Each of us has the power to choose. And we can choose our thoughts. Then, does stress become a choice?
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