Stress is sadly a very prominent factor in today's ever-connected society. People get stressed due a variety of reasons: work and school tasks, social life and the pressures and expectations that come with it, conflicting ambitions, and even struggles with setting personal goals or expectations. Regardless of what the reason is, stress is by no means fun. It can lead to a lot of other problems in the future.
First, let me say that I am a very anxious person. I guess I care a lot about my place in society and as a result, I am very driven by school and extracurricular activities. I am also incredibly ambitious and as much as I am glad I am, it does lead to much of the stress. I am the type of individual who constantly finds myself trying to hide stress behind layers of commitments and responsibilities. Despite this, I am continuously attempting to perpetuate the endless cycle of self restriction and obsessive self-discipline.
Before I continue, I would like to let you know that I am in no way an expect on stress management, and I know there is a lot I still need to learn. However, I want to share how I currently manage my stress through a practical general and systematic methodology.
By doing this, you can find the best solution. It might seem simple, but once in a while you are so overwhelmed you don't even know where to start. I am a firm believer in writing it down. Not only does this organize your chain of thought, but it also makes sure you are aware of how many things you are stressing about. Sometimes, I realize the number of reasons behind my breakdowns are actually not that many and can be countable with my own hands.
There are two main questions I like to ask myself:
1. How long is this going to affect?
Say, you are stressing over an exam. Determining the date of the exam, knowing how long you have to prepare for it, and realizing after you take it that it will be finally over can help calm down your nerves.
2. Can I fix this?
This example is better used with big tasks and personal relationships. It is easy to answer yet hard to process. Sometimes we can't fix situations and yet, they keep creating a negative chain of thought.
By understanding the duration of what we stressing about and if we can intervene, we are becoming more aware of ourselves. What is truly important is to be practical about it. Try to avoid the anxious loop of self-doubt and spiraling conclusions. If you want to approach the stress and help yourself, you may have to step away from your emotions for a while to reassess the situation through a logical and analytical perspective.
Some people like to step back by having self-care day. By putting attention to your own body not only are you distracting yourself, but you may feel energized and rewarded. Extra points if you exercise and produce that mood boosting endorphins. Others like to turn toward interactive things: eating out with friends, having a game night, walking your dog, and the like. Summatively, this is important not only to replenish and reward your body but also to unwind your mind chatter. Through this step, you might find it easier to be practical about the situation.
Of course, this depends on the situation. I personally like to write down a rough draft for a general plan to feel motivated and try to fix my situation. If the situation is one that you can't fix, you have to learn the concept of acceptance. This, for me, is the toughest root of stress; it nourishes self-doubt and negative chatter that seems to extend infinitely. Regardless, you have to accept by the end of the day that you can't fix it - that you are doing your best and that there are limitations to your own abilities.
Sometimes, it is a matter of being positive, manifesting your best self, and simply waiting for it to pass. It may sound horrible but in any worst-case scenario, it is the only thing you can do.
Emotional support matters! Photo courtesy of energepic.com
In reality, sometimes the best way to de-stress yourself is understanding that it is okay to be stressed. Sounds paradoxical, right? It is important to be stressed once in a while because that means you care for the thing you are stressing yourself out for. As long as you learn your own personal way of processing and taking actions to help, stress is definitely manageable. Of course, you should never get into a habit of justifying stress; however, you need to accept the reality of society and your place in it.
Don't be so hard on yourself. Remember that sometimes you have to put yourself first, step back and reassess the situation. By determining causation and duration you may find a practical solution. Yet, there is no reason at all to do it alone. Remember you always have people around you that love you and may be able to help you make life choices. (Plus, there is always Google at your disposal for 24 hours a day.)
Hopefully, this methodology may help you look at stress from a different perspective.
⚡ Related Articles