Do you know someone who is always stressed out?
That person might be worrying about something at any given time; as one worry is resolved they move on to the next thing that they can be stressed about. Not going to lie, I was once like that, the path to become a psychologist is stressful and full of uncertainties. However, while I might worry occasionally, I rarely feel stressed anymore if not at all. In this article, I will go through 10 tips or things that you can implement right now in order to stop stressing.
- Determine what you can control.
Don’t we all wish we could have a say in every outcome in life? Unfortunately, that’s not how reality works. The first step to relieve stress is to accept the uncontrollable. Instead of focusing on the things that are out of your control (eg tomorrow’s weather, interview result, your crush’s response, etc), focus on the things you have control over. Instead of trying to control others, control your own effort and attitude.
- Identify your fears and negative thoughts.
Are you a pessimist? Not saying that’s completely wrong, I, myself live by the rule of plan for the worst, hope for the best. However, don’t put all your energy into PLANNING for the worst, it’s also important to HOPE for the best. Be aware of your thoughts whenever you are stressing out. What are you thinking? Maybe you thought that there’s so much work that you have to do, you will never be able to finish them. Is that true? Have you thought about that before but was able to complete all the task in the end? Usually, people overestimate the worst scenario but underestimate their capability to cope with the scenario.
- Are you ruminating or problem-solving?
Replaying yesterday’s conversations in your head and dwelling on the outcomes isn’t helpful. However, learning from your experience and solve problems are helpful. While it might be difficult in the beginning, try to focus your thoughts on what you could learn from the past to prevent future problems and increase your chances of success in the future.
Exercise is one of the most talked about methods to reduce stress. It is interesting because somehow putting physical stress on your body relieves you from mental stress. Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones and releases endorphins. Therefore, people who exercise regularly tends to have lower stress and anxiety. Exercise also promotes sleep and self-confidence, both of which are crucial for our mental wellbeing.
- Write it down!
Do you often find yourself trying to recall a whole list of duties that you have to do? We only have limited memory, limited will power. As the day goes by, it takes more effort for us to recall the same amount of information when compared to the beginning of the day. One way to not stress about all the things that you have to do is to write everything down. That way you could free up some of your thinking space.
- Learn to say “No”.
As we said before, not everything is within our control. However, some are. Learn to know your limit and uphold your own personal boundaries. Stop saying “I have no choice but to say “yes”, there is always a choice to say “No” in most cases. Being able to say “No” allow you to not be overwhelmed with unnecessary burdens. Consequentially, reduce your stress level.
Now, this might be a hard pill to swallow. Stay on top of your responsibilities and duties and stop procrastinating. While it might feel good in the moment to procrastinate, it causes a lot more stress down the track. When you procrastinate, your responsibilities stacks up which causes stress, which then affects your wellbeing and sleep quality. Write down all the things you need to do, sort them out by priority, push yourself to complete something each day.
- Do the next right thing.
Often times, we won’t know how things play out in the future. The only thing we could control is choosing the next step we take. Know what your values are, and live according to your values. When you are living according to your values, there is less to stress about, because it does not matter how things end, you have nothing to regret up.
- Learn relaxation techniques.
Learn basic relaxation techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxing. Relaxation techniques are useful when you find yourself in an acute stress situation.
It takes nutrients and glucose for your brain to work in optimal conditions. Do you find yourself getting agitated easier when you are hungry? Food is basically fuel for our brain. In order to have a healthy mind, you need to eat. Sometimes stress might inhibit your desire to eat, but either way, discipline yourself to eat, otherwise it becomes a vicious cycle. Where, more stress leads to less food leads to more stress, etc.
Author: Christopher Lee, B Psych Science (Hons); Masters of Psych (Clinical); MAPS
Christopher Lee is a Brisbane psychologist with a keen interest in helping teenagers and young adults with trauma, behavioural and relational issues. In addition to speaking English, Cantonese and Mandarin fluently, Christopher uses evidence-based therapy techniques such as CBT, ACT, EFT, and DBT.
To make an appointment with Christopher Lee try Online Booking. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology Loganholme on (07) 3067 9129 or Vision Psychology Wishart on (07) 3088 5422.
- Elkin, A. (2013). Stress management for dummies (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons.
- Hughes, J. S., Gourley, M. K., Madson, L., & Blanc, K. L. (2011). Stress and Coping Activity: Reframing Negative Thoughts. Teaching of Psychology, 38(1), 36–39. Doi:10.1177/0098628310390852