Coping With Stress
What Is Stressing You?
We are all subject to some stress in life. This is true if we are a child in school or an adult in a care home. It is part of our existence. A little stress can be an OK thing but a lot is bad for you.
How can you best manage stress so that it does not negatively impact your life?
Identify Your Stress
One key in learning to cope with your stress is to learn to identify what it is that is stressing you.
Some of the main causes of stress may seem obvious to you: Debt, Work, Family.
But that’s actually very vague. There are many people who have debt and are not stressed by it. There are many people who work but love their jobs. There are many people who have families but do not get stressed by them. So, it helps to be more specific. What exactly at work is stressful, which part of the workday? What specific behaviour by family members gets you feeling stress out?
‘what stresses one person may not be as stressful to the next person’
It is also important to note that what stresses one person may not be as stressful to the next person. You are an individual and your stress is unique. So, you can’t rely on others to easily identify your causes of stress. You need to take some time and actually think about it.
Once you know exactly what it is that stresses you out in different aspects of your life you can then start to create coping strategies and plans to reduce your exposure to these sources of stress.
When it comes to identifying things that are causing you stress, here are a few small tips to help you:
Become Very Aware of It – Take Note
Some people find it helpful to actually keep a written (or digital) record of when they feel most stressed. This enables them to later go back and see what it was that tipped the scales from “manageable” to “Stressful”.
Try to Think the Best of Other People’s Motives
More often than not it is people who stress us out. The question is: Is the person doing it on purpose or not? They may be accidentally or incidentally stressing us out and not have bad motives at heart. In many cases explaining to such a person why this causes you stress could help them to avoid this behaviour or change what they are doing. But first, you have to figure out why they are acting like they are?
Look for the Best in a Tough Situation
Are you facing a long wait at a doctor’s office? Do you have a long commute ahead? These situations could offer you the opportunity to catch up on some work emails or even to relax and enjoy reading a book. Try to find a positive side to situations that might otherwise stress you out.
Be a Big Picture Person
While something is stressing you out right now (immediately) consider if this is going to be a source of stress tomorrow, next week or next year? Try to figure out if the situation you face (which is causing your stress) is just a short term irritant or will it be a long term issue that requires a lot of your emotional energy. This can help you put things in perspective and may help reduce stress over the “little things”…or at least contextualise it.
For more information about this topic, be sure to read this month’s issue of Debtfree Magazine (out soon) as we take an in-depth look at dealing with stress, including debt stress.