Pursuit of happiness, personal fulfillment, seeking serenity, are endless challenges that see their accomplishment hampered by a major enemy: stress.
Defined as the body’s reaction to constraints and pressures he undergoes in his social environment, stress is for many a daily reality. Madeleine Ferron, the Canadian novelist who died in 2010, reminded us that even “men are practicing stress as if it were a sport.”
Personal and professional issues, administrative or financial worries, the causes of stress are many and influence our personality deeply.
However, there are simple actions that can prevent its happening or at least limit its impact on our psychology. A brief overview of pieces of advice made in Personal Success to overcome stress:
1. Stress management, based on communication
Whether it is in your workplace or outside, your life is invariably made of interactions and social exchanges. Stress often arises because we ignore what the others expect of us.
By fearing to be an idiot or a person lacking social skills, we tend to take initiatives that arise from our personal perception of the role assigned to us by the rest of society.
This is how errors leading to conflicts or misunderstandings can emerge. To avoid this sort of situation, which could have disastrous consequences, you will have to dare to ask questions and clearly take the advantage of direct communication.
You cannot read the minds of your audience. Do not hesitate to ask clearly, what people expect from you. This does not challenge your ability to understand or your intelligence, on the contrary.
It is a concrete proof of your will to social integration and of respect for your role towards your environment.
The first advice to fight against stress is very simple: do not assume, ask!
2. Fighting stress by limiting delays
I leave my house with 5 minutes delay, well it does not matter. The bus closes its doors right in front of my nose, and the next one will come in 15 minutes. Noooooooo! I will have to run to catch a subway.
The quay is crowded. Two trains go by; I am still trying to jostle to get closer to where the doors will open. 30 minutes delay. My boss will disembowel me… Drops of sweat, heart beats at fast pace…
That was me when I was 20, and I am sure many of you will also recognize themselves through this anecdote.
Yet, nothing would have prevented me from going out 10 minutes earlier to catch the bus and to travel safely and even take my coffee when arriving at the office. The stress promotes negative feelings and increases your irritability.
Our following advice to fight stress: always plan 10 to 20 extra minutes for your journey time.
It will not shake your schedule, and it will allow you to start the day on a much better note.
3. Fighting stress by organizing the day ahead
If some people need only 2 minutes, watch in hand, to choose their outfit of the day, this is far from being the case of all. “But no honey, I am not talking about you, see… !”.
They must find something that goes with their mood, match it with a pair of shoes, jewelry, makeup … (well obviously I am talking more about women, although I have nothing against men who wear makeup).
This daily ritual takes time, and we like to change our minds at the last moment. To avoid getting unnecessarily delayed, why not get out your clothes for the next day before going to bed?
This leaves you even time to try them, compare, think about the rest of the outfit, in short to manage stress before waking up. The other positive characteristic of this method lies in limiting oversights of last minute.
4. Stress management by adopting Feng Shui
Having a tidy apartment (or house), changing now and then the furniture arrangement also helps fighting stress. A place where you cannot feel yourself in harmony and relax drains your energy and promotes behaviors going against your desire for fulfillment.
The secret of enjoying a healthy environment allowing to have an appeased mind is simply to define a precise place for each object and to respect this logic. Every moved object should instantly return to where it is supposed to be, after use.
This logic applies to all parts of your dwelling place. Thus, immediately after eating, you will wash the dishes and put back your cookware and cutlery where you took them, not to let the disorder and chaos gradually take place.
5. Stress management by organizing your workspace
Whether you work in an office, from home, in a kitchen or a store, always keep your personal space tidy and sober. Thus, you can limit lost time finding what you need and the number of distractions that can cause you to lose your concentration.
Your workspace should only be dedicated to your professional activity. Do not leave laying around anything that you would not need to work.
However, nothing prevents you from putting in it motivating elements as, a photography of your family or your partner, a quote where you find inspiration and pull energy.
6. Stress management by doing one thing at a time
Although some pride themselves on being able to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, the effectiveness of such logic is to reconsider. Impossible indeed to keep an optimal concentration of multiple objectives, which significantly increases the risk of error.
Each task, even a small one, must be completed before moving to the next. Not only your focus will be improved, but you can rely on the satisfaction provided by these achievements to give you a boost before answering a new imperative, and that will allow you to manage stress more effectively.
The fact of breaking down your work into various separate processes enables you to relativize the importance of this latter, making it psychologically more reachable and less painful.
It is a good way to fight stress due to the obligation of result that you set.
7. Stress management with a pencil and a piece of paper
If like me, once in the evening, you think back to what happened in your day, and the ideas and reflections fuse in your mind, I advise you to have always a notepad and pencil near you.
It is often when I go to bed, just before falling asleep, that inspiration arises. Blog posts ideas arrive, the headlines for my introductions multiply, and if I do not take care of them down, they disappear in the morning, which puts me off.
Again, this phenomenon is a stress factor. Our brain will not always be active in the way we would like, or when we would like. Sometimes you have to listen to it, to reduce anxiety related to the fact of forgetting your brilliant ideas, which, unfortunately, reveal itself where the context requires otherwise.
8. Stress management by relativizing your personal troubles
When you meet a difficulty, whatever the area it affect, we tend to let it take control of our emotions to the point of failing to consider the solution to solve it. The effect on our psychology is immediate, and all our focus is on that obstacle that appear to us as insurmountable.
Is this the case? Certainly not. Do we tend to dramatize? Obviously. Start by objectively analyzing the situation. Your problem does affect your whole personality or is it linked to a well-defined compartment of your existence? Your trouble makes you the most miserable person in the world?
Objectivity is always difficult to achieve when our feelings are involved in our reasoning. Being aware, is already winning a battle and helping your stress management.
So the next time you face an obstacle, see this as an opportunity to take another path before thinking that it inevitably limit your progress.
9. Stress management by respecting your schedule
The professional field is one of the most significant stress factors. That is why it is vital to separate this side of your life from your personal life. You need to establish real limits in your approach to your schedule.
The weekend should only be devoted to relaxation, to hobbies and to the opportunity to recharge your batteries. If you start to bring files to home, doing unpaid overtime or make business phone calls during your rest time, you will not achieve psychological balance, yet, so important for you to flourish in your daily life and fight stress.
In the case of home workers, this limit is very fine. Hence the importance to pay attention. I have, for example, a daily alarm to signal to me the beginning and end of my work day.
Feel free to take breaks. Contrary to what your manager may believe, break times, provided you do not abuse it, is not counterproductive. They are used to evacuate pressure associated with the work in progress and find the motivation and energy by changing the ideas for several minutes. It is a potent weapon to fight stress
When back from your break, you can see the progress of your work under a new angle and correct errors that you might have missed. It is recommended to take ten minutes per hour to devote yourself to something entirely different in order not to lose your focus on your final project.
While most of the above tips comes from simple common sense, their application is something that in the facts, few people comply. Stress, commonly called the “disease of the twenty-first century”, is a real cause of psychological instability and slows down your progress both personally and professionally.
Seeking to limit its impact on your regular way of life, even with gestures that seem so simple, must be a priority if you want to grow with confidence and to get a step closer to happiness. The choice is in your hands!