Because stress can be endured over a period of time without the individual truly becoming aware of it or by them simply accepting it as part of their lives, one of the most important aspects of stress management is to take those first positive steps towards making key changes as this will then create the strong foundations that are required to master stress control.
It’s important that progression is consistent throughout; they may be small steps individually but they are powerful ones nevertheless. The idea is to change any existing behaviours and to stress-proof new routines as much as possible, re-inventing both thought and actions going forward. This might sound difficult, but the most difficult aspect is always going to be identifying areas of change, after that, it is merely consolidating those lifestyle changes.
When life is muddled and very stressful, identifying the stress triggers that cause the problems will make changing them that much easier. Taking a pen and paper, write down all of the things that cause the most stress.
– No time to yourself
– Problems with the teenage son or daughter
– Money problems- more going out than coming in
– Feeling undervalued at home and at work
– Too much work
The list should be as comprehensive as possible and very honest. No-one else has to see the list and even those annoying little stressors should be captured because although on their own, they may just be a source of irritation, coupled with other factors, they can form powerful stress triggers that can cause much damage physically, healthily and emotionally.
Once the list is complete, it should be scrutinized with a sense of clarity to identify those areas where changes could be made. If necessary break the list down into a series of sub-sections and options such as:
– Feeling undervalued at home
– Having to do all of the housework as well as work full-time
– Main culprit Husband/Wife step-son
– Started happening when partner changed job and worked a lot more hours (pattern established).
– Open up communication to partner
– Discuss jointly with step son and work out parameters
– Stick to it.
By writing down everything that evokes a stress response i.e. churning feeling in the stomach, headaches, tears, anger, or irritability for example, the individual is able to really understand what is going on in their lives and why they feel the way they do. In addition, this clarification of stress triggers helps the individual to face any set of real problems and tangible problems can always be overcome.
Self doubts, irregular thought patterns and feelings of inadequacies or helplessness are more difficult to fight. Ascertain the true cause of those stressors and deal with them one by one.