I found being able to control stress can be managed by taking action to handle it in healthy ways and avoiding unhealthy behaviors. With this in mind, I would like to share the following on how I manage to reduce stress and in most cases eliminate it:
I first found out how stress affected me. Stress affects everyone in many different ways as tolerance levels vary from person to person. The first step was to take a close look and compare my thoughts and behavior between the times when I was stressed and not stressed. Some things I looked for were feeling angry and irritable (perhaps out of control) or having a lack of concentration and unable to make decisions. This process allowed me to then quickly recognize when I was stressed and in turn take action to manage my stress.
Second, I looked for the causes of stress. I was looking for situations and events which were catalysts to causing emotions that lead me to feeling stressed. I reviewed my daily activities to see if I could find the source of the stress. The areas I paid close attention to were work, relationships with my family and my friends, health issues, and financial decisions. I also looked to see if the source of the stress occurred often or only periodically.
Then I reflected upon how I was dealing with stress. When I was stressed did I become silent and avoided people or did I scream and shout at others? Were there unhealthy behaviors like over eating or not eating at all? Did I take breaks and go out for walks or perform breathing exercises?
I found not being satisfied with how I was managing my stress (causing me more stress), and that I could certainly do better. I knew there were healthy and unhealthy actions I could take to manage and eliminate stress so my first step was to commit to a decision to focus on healthy methods for managing and eliminating my stress. Then I found the right healthy way to immediately reduce my stress as it happened in order to then calmly take the next step to eliminate the stress.
For example, for me, a healthy way to reduce stress as it happens is to close my eyes and slowly count to 5. By doing this the oncoming feeling of stress is disrupted, which in turn interrupts the oncoming habitual reaction, allowing me to then calmly take the next step to further reduce stress to the point of eliminating it.
After some practice, I found the key was to know ahead of time what the next healthy step was going to be. There were times when I would finish counting but did not know what to do afterward. Once I had decided on what to do after counting it was easier to perform the next step and not allow stress to gain any more headway.
Over time I have noticed I am taking better care of myself. I’m taking breaks from long hours in front of the computer more often, taking short walks two or three times a day. meditating twice a week, and engaging in regular exercise. In turn I’m getting enough sleep and find it natural to drink plenty of water (didn’t use to before) and eat right. Overall, I’ve enhanced my physical and mental health and as a result there are a lot less instances of me feeling stressed.
So no matter how stressful life gets, make time for yourself to know yourself. Then you can take the necessary steps toward reducing and eliminating stress from your life.