Over half a million people suffer from stress at work and 12.5 million lost working days a year as a result. This stress won’t just stay in the workplace but will also affect home life and relationships too.
We all experience stress at various moments in our life and some levels of stress can be helpful and move us forward. What if it becomes more habitual and starts affecting your quality of life?
The next time you feel stressed out take these steps to help you understand what is going on for you
- Take a step back and look at what happened.
When something stressful has happened and some time after you still feel worked up, take a step back, and look at what happened. I don’t mean to look at the situation that caused you stress but at what happened for you? How did you respond? Did your heart start beating faster, did you notice your shoulders getting tight. Maybe you felt threatened or scared. Your head may have gone blank, you were not able to think anymore. Or your mind started racing and many thoughts came up and you are still over-thinking.
Look at your response to the situation on all levels; physically, emotionally and mentally.
Remember that stress happens IN YOU.
- Take time to Reflect
What does it mean when you say I am stressed? What does it mean when you say it is too much? What is too much? Notice when you say to yourself that you are stressed. What is happening for you in those moments physically, emotionally and mentally?
Is your reaction to the situation a habitual reaction? Are there common patterns that you notice?
Taking time to reflect gives you more space. When you feel more space, you can breathe more easily and relax a little more and you may notice the tension in your body lessening. This helps you to become more grounded and calmer inside and more able to respond appropriately.
- Restore your energy
How do you look after yourself and restore your energy? Eating and sleeping well, taking time out to relax in nature or with others, exercise, a hobby, having a purpose and a sense of belonging all can help to ground you and make you feel stronger. When you feel grounded, stress has less of a hold on you. You can more easily take a step back and notice what is happening, rather than react habitually.
The first two steps help you to get to know your responses better and gives you breathing space. With regular practice, over time you will be able to notice your reactions whilst you are in a stressful situation without having to react. Step three helps you to resource yourself well to stay grounded and helps build emotional resilience.
If stress is overwhelming you, or there are situations in your life that are difficult to cope with on your own, let me know. I offer a free 20 minute phone consultation for you to see if I can help you.