If you do, please realize that your stress is eating away your physical and mental health, putting strain on your relationships, and generally spoiling your life.
Stress and anxiety have become facts of life for the modern society. There are different types of stress:
- Routine stress related to daily responsibilities and pressure / anxiety at work or at home.
- Stress arising from losing a job, illness, death of a dear one, divorce, or any other sudden negative change.
- Traumatic stress caused by events such as war, natural disasters or accidents.
Stress very often is expressed as physical illnesses such as digestive problems, headaches, depression, anger and irritability. People who have chronic anxiety and stress are more vulnerable to viral infections such as flu.
The economic cost of stress is enormous. In the United Kingdom alone, according to the latest data from a Labour Force Survey, 9.9 million workdays are lost because of stress and stress-related illnesses.
Is stress unavoidable? Is there life on earth possible without stress?
Good news. It is.
If you follow the steps given below, you can get rid of your stress. This is no magic bullet. It demands a lot from you. First of all, there is one condition. You have to DECIDE to get rid of your stress. You should have the WILL to get rid of your stress. If you have it, if you decide, you can get rid of it by following the steps below.
Identify the external reason for your stress. Be by yourself and analyze your thoughts.
What exactly is the cause of your stress?
Is it health problems?
Is it family issues?
- Change your thinking
You have identified the external reason. You think that is the cause of your stress.
The external reason is not the cause of your stress. Your stress is caused by how you think about the external reason.
Your illness, or accident, is not causing you stress. It is how you think about your illness or accident, that is causing you stress.
So, what you have to do right away is change the way you think. Start thinking positive. Believe that good things will happen. Believe that for every misfortune that has happened to you there are hundreds of blessings that have come your way. Above all, believe that you can win over your negative feelings and anxiety.
There are stress factors that you can never change, like the death of a dear one. Even then, you can lead a stress-free life if you change the way you think about those stress factors.
Once you have identified the external reason for your stress, do some research.
For example, imagine that you or anyone dear to you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and that you have severe anxiety about it. What you have to do is to learn as much as possible about breast cancer, causes, treatment options and everything else that is available. Use the internet, read up, ask around.
To take another example, imagine that you have just lost your job, and are under severe stress because of that. Instead of staying in your bedroom depressed, get out and do your research. What options do you have? What skill is in demand now? What should you do to cope with losing your job? Find out. Learn.
Choose your options.
Your external reason, such as an illness or the loss of job is like a disaster that has just happened. You have already armed yourself with knowledge about possible options, through your research.
Now you have to draw out an action plan, based on the options you have selected as the best for yourself.
For a person affected by breast cancer, the plan might include medical treatment, changes in life style and diet. It may include more.
For a person who has lost a job, the options could be, trying for new jobs in a different place or different industry, and acquiring new skills, simultaneously. You have to decide on a plan, armed with the knowledge you have gained through research.
Write down your plan.
- Be specific
Get down to specifics. If your general plan is ‘change diet’, now you have to write down what exactly you are going to eat from now on. Plan your food intake each day, for each meal. At what times will you eat? What will you eat at each time? Where will you get that food from?
All these decisions, remember, should be backed by your research, which you should have done before this step.
Write the specifics of your plan down, on big manila cards. Paste it where you will see it often, maybe the dining room or the kitchen wall.
If your plan is to look for jobs in other industries, or in some other place, and at the same time acquiring new skills, then plan the specifics. Which other industries will you look for? Which specific organizations/companies will you apply to? What skill do you want to acquire? What should you do to acquire that skill?
Plan specifically, down to the last detail.
- Follow your plan
You have a plan down to the last detail. Make sure you have written down your plan on big manila cards using different colour marker pens. Display it prominently so that you cannot ignore it.
Now, you have to follow your plan. Each and every detail of it. How do you make sure that you will follow your plan? How do you MOTIVATE yourself?
- Inform family and friends about your plan. They will ask you every now and then how your plan is going, which will help you stick to it.
- Exercise your will power. When your plan involves difficult things to do, your will power is important. Remember that ‘if there is a will, there is a way’.
- If you are tech-savvy, employ online apps that will help you stick to the schedule.
- When you have accomplished something in your plan, cross it out on the manila card, and write ‘ACCOMPLISHED’ against it. It will give you a sense of achievement and a tremendous psychological boost.
- After each milestone in your plan is achieved, celebrate. Take your family out, or call friends home. Make sure you reward yourself.
If you follow these steps to the end, you will definitely win over your stress agents. All it takes is some motivation, and will power.
Image courtesy: equipherlife.com