Living the Dream. Dealing with Stress
Stress affects us all in different ways. Before an exam, some people have to go to the toilet all the time, whilst others don’t go for days! A great scholar once said that it ‘does not matter whether you pass or fail….until you fail!’ (I think it was Homer Simpson.)
A little stress is good. It increases the levels of hormones flooding through the body and this improves thinking performance. Too much of it is bad. In the animal world we talk about the ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response’. But there is a point where stress levels increase beyond the body’s ability to deal with it and performance drops quickly and people face ‘burnout’.
So how can we be strong and be able to overcome all the negative aspects of stress?
One of our courses for individuals and groups is that of ‘Stress Management’
Over the day we cover many issues:
- Understand the effects of stress (physical, emotional and psychological)
- Recognise the signs and symptoms of stress
- Psychological responses to stress.
- However the bulk of our time is spent on the techniques and strategies to deal with:
- Challenges of life and work
- Developing a positive self-image
- Challenging negative thoughts, behaviours and attitudes
- Applying practical mindfulness and relaxation techniques and motivational skills to remain positive
Brian Dyson, former CEO of Coca Cola, talks about us juggling 5 different balls at once! I’ve adapted this analogy. One ball is labelled relationships and family, one health and well-being, another spirituality, one marked work, and the final one ‘me’. Four are made out of crystal, and if dropped will shatter. Only one is made out of rubber and bounces back, the work ball. That’s not the way it should be! So what are you juggling?
Relaxation and the Mind. Have you ever noticed how it sometimes seems like your brain won’t switch off? Also, your ‘inner voice’ is constantly nagging, criticising you and you can’t get relax. You can use a combination on modern psychological techniques and relaxation methods to improve your general feelings of happiness and motivation.
Tips on dealing with stress
If you are under stress, stop what you are doing and apply any of the following:
Stop worrying about the future, think about today. You can influence the future, but stop worrying about things you have no control over.
Ask yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? It may not be so bad.
Remind yourself that you are hurting your body. Take ten minutes out.
Do not let the trivia get to you. It is trivia!
Laugh at yourself. Make decisions and act on them. Share your fears and tears with someone close to you.
Return to the sources of stress and act on them
Cut back on the caffeine
Listen to music
Watch the diet
Practise a range of relaxation exercises including mindfulness techniques, visualisation and deep breathing exercise.
Remember that it is easier to overcome the symptoms of stress with a ‘healthy body and a healthy mind.
Listen to the Relaxation CD
*Adapted from the fantastic work, ‘The Motivation Method’ by Matt Ferguson