They say there's more than one way to skin a cat. The same goes for when you're trying to deal with stress.
You can either deal with the stress in your life and improve your situation, or live with it and end up tearing your hair out. Or worse still, suffer the physical and mental consequences.
Coping with life and all it throws at you, and carrying those problems that may or may not belong to you can scratch away the joy and happiness that you yearn for.
They say that stress is all in the mind, so, what's bugging you anyway?
There are several ways to manage stress, and eventually remove it from your life. So this stress management plan is divided into a seven-day course to make it easy on you.
Day 1. Acknowledge stress is good
Make stress your friend! Based on the body's natural “fight or flight” response, that burst of energy will enhance your performance at the right moment. Have you ever seen a top sportsperson totally relaxed before a big competition? Use stress wisely to push yourself a little bit harder when it counts most.
Day 2. Learn to avoid stress sneezers
Stressed people sneeze stress germs indiscriminately and before you know it, you are infected too!
Protect yourself by recognizing stress in others and limiting your contact with them. Or if you've got the inclination, play stress doctor and teach them how to better manage themselves.
Day 3. Learn from the best
When people around are losing their head, who keeps calm? What are they doing differently? What is their attitude? What language do they use? Are they trained and experienced?
Figure it out from afar or sit them down for a chat. Learn from the best stress managers and copy what they do.
Day 4. Practice socially acceptable deep breathing
You can trick your body into relaxing by using deep breathing. Breathe in slowly for a count of 7 then breathe out for a count of 11. As you breathe out, murmur or think to yourself “calm”. Repeat the 7-11 breathing until your heart rate slows down, your sweaty palms dry off and things start to feel more normal.
Enrolling in a yoga or meditation class can do wonders for teaching you how to calm yourself in times of high stress.
Day 5. Give stressful thoughts the red light
It is possible to tangle yourself up in a stress knot all by yourself: “If this happens, then that might happen and then we're all up the creek!” Most of these things never happen, so why waste all that energy worrying needlessly?
Remember the old saying, “There's no point in worrying about things you have no control over.”
Give stress thought-trains the red light and stop them in their tracks. Okay so something may go wrong – how likely is that, and what can you do to prevent it?
Day 6. Understand and acknowledge your trigger points and hot spots
Presentations, interviews, meetings, giving difficult feedback, tight deadlines. Does your heart rate crank up just thinking about those issues?
Make your own list of stress trigger points or hot spots. Be specific. Is it only presentations to a certain audience that get you worked up? Does one project cause more stress than another? Did you drink too much coffee?
Knowing what causes you stress is powerful information, because you can take action to make it less stressful. Do you need to learn some new skills? Do you need extra resources? Do you need to switch to decaf?
Day 7. Burn the candle at one end
Lack of sleep, poor diet and no exercise wreaks havoc on our body and mind. Kind of obvious, but worth mentioning as it's often ignored as a stress management technique. Listen to your mother and don't burn the candle at both ends!
So having stress can be a total drag, but that should not hinder us from finding the inner peace of mind we all crave. And if all else fails, book a trip to the Bahamas!
For ways to reduce stress, to truly let go of the core feelings, beliefs and fears which keep you from creating the abundant life you want and the person you want to be, check out the Sedona Method. It will help you find emotional and spiritual freedom.[Editor's Comment: I found the most effective stress management technique was to quit my job and be my own boss. Of course, if you quit your job too early – before you have a reliable, alternative income stream in place – you're likely to end up with more stress, not less.]