Traditionally, stress management and personal development were put in different boxes; you either attended a course in stress management or a series of counselling/psychotherapy sessions. Today a lot more is understood about the relationship between the two: like chicken and egg, they go together, you can’t separate them.
Effective stress management involves more than learning a set of self-soothing or awareness techniques and looks at what lies behind the habitual thinking and behavioural patterns that trigger stress. Sound personal development processes take into account the root causes of stress and seek to provide support in understanding and addressing them.
Top Ten Tips
To help you manage stress better and gently work on yourself at the same time.
- Learn to be kinder to yourself – the harder you are on yourself, the less confident and more stressed you’ll be.
- Self-soothe and reassure yourself rather than ignore or dismiss feelings of anxiety.
- When you feel overwhelmed, rather than driving yourself on, give yourself a breathing space to let things settle. Recognise these feelings serve a purpose.
- When it’s difficult to see things clearly, take a break and step back from the situation. Allow time for things to ‘process’ in your subconscious mind.
- Resist taking responsibility for other people’s unhappiness/problems. You can be there for someone without taking on their pain.
- Start setting healthy boundaries with yourself and others – being clear about what works and doesn’t work for you will save you a lot of stress.
- Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t have. Putting energy into what’s good in your life is likely to bring more positive things your way. Dwelling on what’s not right in your life will just make you miserable.
- Acknowledge emotions and allow them to be there – suppressing emotions causes tension and can lead to depression.
- Appreciate and value yourself more often – the stronger your sense of self-esteem, the less easily you’ll be knocked off course when faced with challenging situations.
- Practise good sleep hygiene: resist taking work to bed with you. Establish a nightly ritual of putting the stuff of the day down before you get into bed.