A few months ago, friends became aware of my changing mood swings and this got me wondering, was I was suffering depression? My heart goes out to those who do as I am aware how lonely a place that can be for you but something niggled me that this wasn’t it.
Having had a chat with my coach to assess my situation concerning work and what was happening around me, Stress appeared to be the main culprit. How stupid was I that I didn’t see it, after all, I see it in others and help them but I couldn’t see it in myself. Stress is different for everyone but here are a few signals to look out for and how to deal with them.
Some common signals: Social withdrawal/isolation. Excessive sleeping or insomnia. Feelings of being overwhelmed. Difficulty in concentrating. Heartburn, stomach pain, or nausea. Frequent headaches. And the one that got me… Irritability and angry episodes.
Recognise any of these traits in yourself or others? Don’t be too judgemental, stress could well be the cause.
As situations occur, we make unconscious conclusions pertaining to ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. We assess if it threatens our values, reputation, how it affects our time or even social standing. We look inwards as to how we can handle them and whether we have the means to deal them. Such as knowledge, time, emotional proficiencies!
Control levels then step in which determine how stressed we become regarding how well we can face the threat. This leads to how we work and deal with other people.
So how do we deal with it? Awareness is the first thing and then what to do with that awareness? Here are three approaches that can help according to your way of thinking.
Consider the way you perceive the situation. In coaching we say that you have control over how things make you feel and this is true… but it does take practice to look at things objectively and when stress is building, it can seem an impossible task. Look to explore:
- Thought awareness – looking within and becoming aware of how situations make you feel
- Positive mind-set – Create affirmations and seek the positives.
Take one situation, take action to change it!
- People –Take control and learn how to say ‘No’ when consistently being called upon to do things. Know what your boundaries or limitations are. Develop an assertive (not aggressive) disposition.
- Time Management –How do you manage what you do in the time you have! A major cause for stress. Create ‘Scheduled’ to-do lists. Turn off email notification warnings. Avoid multitasking.
- Environment – Cluttered work space, climate conditions, Uncomfortable working conditions, Poor lighting, and even noise pollution. Become aware of these and change what you can.
Unlike the other two, this area concentrates on building your own resilience where you are powerless to change the situation. See what may apply to you.
- Down Time – Get away from it all as this helps you break away from the situation to return with a fresh outlook. Get some exercise and enough sleep.
- Change management – we are creatures of habit and don’t always enjoy change. Learn how to accept or cope with change.
- Networks – We know of business networks but consider friends and family as a ‘support’ network. Look at other professions such as consultants as well as coaches to help you see the wood in that forest!
- Physical relaxation – We use an audio tool for self-meditation to relax the mind and body. There are techniques such as PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation) and even I’m about to take up Yoga!
This is just by means of an over-view. Each component is a topic in its own right and this article is really about helping you obtain some clarity as to what further avenues to explore.
Coaching to Success have helped many people to understand what is causing them stress, then create a programme to get over the obstacle, so we invite you to contact our author, Neil on 07761 187238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free initial conversation to discuss areas on how to reduce stress for you or those close to you.
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