There are many things we can do to bring about quick stress relief, but it takes more than a few deep breaths, yoga poses or glasses of wine to stop being triggered and stressed by past or ongoing issues and create lasting change.
As a child I would always feel nervous when I was near the dentist’s office – even when I wasn’t going for an appointment. And the chances are that there are a few things in your life that trigger stressful reactions too, whether major issues or smaller ones such as the tone of someone’s voice or an uncomfortable thought or memory that floats across your mind.
Here’s a Five Step Approach to Reduce Your Stress.
- Recognize that you are stressed. Ask yourself this simple question:
What percentage of the average day do I feel stressed? 0-40%: 50-100%. If your answer is 50-100% there is a chance that stress could be affecting your health and happiness.
Instead of accepting the status quo (that’s just how life is), choose to take action to improve your life.
- Identify areas of major stress (e.g. health of yourself or a loved one, financial problems) as well as small niggling stresses (need to lose a few pounds in weight, not getting enough sleep). You may find it helpful to write them down in two columns.
- Choose a major stress that is causing worry or draining your energy and search your mind for one small action you could take that might reduce the pressure just a little (getting professional advice, researching information). Something easy and manageable that won’t cause a major upheaval to implement.
Then choose a niggling stress and come up with a simple action you could take consistently to reduce that “niggle” (an apple instead of a cake or getting to bed half an hour earlier).
- Create a foolproof plan of action to reduce major and niggling stress. Imagine yourself following the plan 24/7. Identify any possible tricky moments (there are bound to be some) and have strategies to stay on track. Include encouraging self-talk to add to your days, as well as rewards at different stages along the way.
- Begin! If you stray from the path every now and then, notice what’s happened and get back on track.
To maintain new, fragile stress-reducing habits we need to be diligent in times of added stress to avoid slipping back and staying there. But it’s worth the effort.
Be gentle and patient with yourself.
PS It can be challenging making changes that last, specially when we’re feeling stressed out. If you’d like support, I’d love to help you. Just get in touch CLICK THIS LINK.