How to Manage Stress

Stress. It is an inevitable feeling that we all experience. Whether it is through school, work, or family matters, stress always finds a way to pop up into our lives. I personally don’t believe that there is a way to “remove” stress but I do think that there are ways to go about managing it.

1.  Find the source

The first step to managing your stress is to figure out what is causing it. Take a moment and think. Is it a family issue? A school assignment? An important deadline that’s coming up? Personally I have found that my stress is almost always from having a lot of things on my plate and I feel like I won’t be able to put my full effort into accomplishing each one of these things. I only recently figured this out. Before I would notice my stress but I never acknowledged where it was coming from.

Discovering the source of your stress will give you some clarity and allow you to then move forward. It’s kind of like if you were trying to fix a car, (not that I have experience) in order to fix the vehicle, you need to know what parts aren’t working. Take some time to discover the main source of your stress and once you find it, you can take the necessary steps to manage it.

2.  Can you solve the problem?

A lot of times, the things we stress about aren’t even in our control. There is nothing that we could do that would fix or alter the matter at hand. However, we often forget about this.  That is why I think it is important to ask yourself, “Can I solve this problem?” or “Can I change the current situation?” When you ask yourself these questions, you will become aware of whether or not you actually have any control over the matter. If you don’t, then you need to take the proper steps to relax and move on.

For example let’s say you are feeling stressed about whether or not your flight will be on time. Well unless you are piloting that plane, you can’t control what time it’s going to land or take off, so you need to breathe and move on. I understand that you can’t just tell yourself to not be stressed or nervous but I personally found that when you realize, “I have no control over the situation,” you will take the pressure off of yourself and therefore, feel better.

On the other hand, there are some situations that you can control. For example, if you are stressed about finishing an essay, you have control over that. You are able to create a schedule and put in the work to get the assignment done. I think that we often forget about this as well. We forget that we have the power to make adjustments or push ourselves to sit down and work to get something done. Take some time to determine whether or not you have control or power in the situation.  If you do, then you must figure out the necessary steps to solve the problem. Doing this will help manage some of the stress because you will be “in charge” and able to formulate a plan that works best for you.

3.  Write your thoughts down

I understand that stress doesn’t always generate from a physical situation or problem. In fact I feel like most times it’s more of a “mental pile-up,” where a bunch of different things gather in our minds and weigh us down. Maybe they are conflicting thoughts or general nervous feelings that aren’t really tied to an actually situation but they float around our minds and make us feel overwhelmed.

When this is the case I recommend writing your thoughts down onto a piece of paper. Write everything down. This will be private so don’t hold back or hesitate. I think that putting thoughts onto a piece of paper really helps you find clarity thus relieving some stress.

4.  Talk out loud to someone close

It is very easy to isolate ourselves when the stress starts kicking in but I think that talking out loud to someone close is incredibly beneficial. Just like writing them down, speaking your thoughts aloud helps you discover where the stress lies and help you gain clarity. The person you are talking to can also then help you figure out the best course of action for moving forward.

Stress can’t be avoided and frankly I don’t think it can ever be 100% removed from our lives either. However, these steps will help you manage your stress and figure out why it’s in your life.  I personally think that the worst way to deal with stress is to simply ignore it. Doing this only allows it to build up and become more overwhelming. Take some time to try these steps when you are feeling stressed and ultimately decide what work’s best for you.

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