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Ten tips for managing stress

by Brian Potts

1. Get to know your self. Acknowledge your likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Where would you like to go with your life? What are your values and ideals? How does your body tell you when you are stressed or tired? How do you behave when stressed?

2. Take control of your life. Look at your lifestyle and see what you need to change, to become more true to yourself. Are there any obstacles to these changes? How might you overcome them? Do you need to be more assertive?

3. Manage your commitments. Tackle one thing at a time - Don't try to do too much at once. Don't try to be perfect. Do essential tasks and prioritise the others. Make a commitment to your health.

4. Recharge your energy. Balance work with leisure. Indulge in your pleasures. Preserve some personal time for yourself. Have some fun! Don't be too competitive. Fix any sleep problems by developing a regular routine, relaxing and avoiding evening stimulants.

5. Take time for relaxation. Slow down when you can, and avoid sustained pressure. Make time for activities you enjoy. Retreat to a state of total mental and physical rest for a few minutes daily. If you need alcohol, nicotine or other drugs to help you relax you will become dependant upon them. If this has already occurred you will need to learn natural relaxation skills to enable you to withdraw from these.

6. Develop your relationships. Recognise love and friendliness from others, and reciprocate with honesty & openness. Make the first move to be friendly. Make an effort to listen, and check that you have understood correctly. Share your worries - Talk with friends, professional counsellors, support groups or relatives about what is bothering you.

7. Avoid aggression. Learn assertive skills. Debate your case appropriately and constructively. Communicate your needs. Compromise where you can without losing your direction. Recognize that it is not your fault if someone doesn't listen, is disrespectful of you, or seeks conflict with you in other ways.

8. Develop your skills. If you face difficulties in your work, domestic or social life, rise to the challenge by seeking study or training.

9. Keep fit. (Always build up your exercise gradually & check with your GP first if you think you are unfit.) Physical activity releases muscle tension, improves circulation and reduces blood pressure. It improves confidence, and some activities have social benefits too. Occasional vigorous activity de-fuses anger, and produces a pleasant after-glow, but do not over-indulge in this.

10. Watch your diet - Caffeine aggravates the stress reaction. Remember it is in many drinks including some so-called health drinks, and some common headache remedies. Sugar and fats reduce your ability to cope with stress. Don't skip meals. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and foods high in protein but low in fat will help to optimize your health. Drink lots of water. Avoid refined foods and excessive alcohol.

(c) Copyright Brian Potts NORFOLK STRESS CLINIC, Norwich, U.K.

About the author:

I am a Psychiatric Nurse-Therapist with over 20 years experience. I was involved in establishing some of the first Stress Counseling Clinics in Family Doctor's Surgeries in Britain. Over the years I have developed my skills in counseling and coaching people with every kind of health and relationship problem. I have seen stress become the current epidemic of the developed world, responsible for most of the lost productivity and much of the relationship breakdown that is now the great embarrassment of our society. I have come to realize that EVERY illness is aggravated, and many are entirely caused, by stress.

I have written some general advice for people to follow in a bid to maintain their heads above the water. It is mostly common sense, but we all need to review our performance from time to time. Further help is available via my website at http://www.online-stress-clinic.co.uk

Tags: Wisdom and Life Skills



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