stress relief pointers
- think really seriously about and talk with others, to identify the causes of the stress and take steps to remove, reduce them or remove yourself (the stressed person) from the situation that causes the stress.
- Understand the type(s) of stressors affecting you (or the stressed person), and the contributors to the stress susceptibility – knowing what you’re dealing with is essential to developing the stress management approach.
- improve diet – group B vitamins and magnesium are important, but potentially so are all the other vitamins and minerals: a balanced healthy diet is essential. Assess the current diet and identify where improvements should be made and commit to those improvements.
- reduce toxin intake – obviously tobacco, alcohol especially – they might seem to provide temporary relief but they are working against the balance of the body and contributing to stress susceptibility, and therefore increasing stress itself.
- take more exercise – generally, and at times when feeling very stressed – exercise burns up adrenaline and produces helpful chemicals and positive feelings.
- stressed people must try to be detached, step back, look from the outside at the issues that cause the stress.
- don’t try to control things that are uncontrollable – instead adjust response, adapt.
- share worries – talk to someone else – off-load, loneliness is a big ally of stress, so sharing the burden is essential.
- increase self-awareness of personal moods and feelings – anticipate and take steps to avoid stress build-up before it becomes more serious.
- explore and use relaxation methods – they do work if given a chance – yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis, massage, a breath of fresh air, anything that works and can be done in the particular situation.
- seek out modern computer aids – including free downloads and desktop add-ons – for averting stresses specifically caused by sitting for long uninterrupted periods at a computer screen work-station, for example related to breathing, posture, seating, eye-strain, and RSI (repetitive strain injury).
Note also that managing stress does not cure medical problems. Relieving stress can alleviate and speed recovery from certain illnesses, particularly those caused by stress, (which depending on circumstances can disappear when the stress is relieved); i.e., relieving stress is not a substitute for conventional treatments of illness, disease and injury.
Importantly, if the stress is causing serious health effects the sufferer must consult a doctor. Do not imagine that things will improve by soldiering on, or hoping that the sufferer will somehow become more resilient; things can and probably will get worse.
For less serious forms of stress, simply identify the cause(s) of stress, then to commit/agree to removing the cause(s). If appropriate this may involve removing the person from the situation that is causing the stress. Counselling may be necessary to identify the cause(s), particularly if the sufferer has any tendency to deny or ignore the stress problem.
Acceptance, cognisance and commitment on the part of the stressed person are essential. No-one can begin to manage their stress if they are still feeling acutely stressed – they’ll still be in ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is why a manager accused of causing stress though bullying or harassment must never be expected to resolve the problem. The situation must be handled by someone who will not perpetuate the stressful influence.
Removing the stressor(s) or the person from the stressful situation is only part of the solution; look also at the factors which affect stress susceptibility: where possible try to improve the factors that could be contributing to stress vulnerability. This particularly and frequently involves diet and exercise.
The two simplest ways to reduce stress susceptibility, and in many situations alleviate stress itself (although not removing the direct causes of stress itself) are available to everyone, cost nothing, and are guaranteed to produce virtually immediate improvements. They are diet and exercise.