5 Tips To Cope With Stress
Unfortunately, stress is an inevitable and ongoing problem that happens in everyone's life. It is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as it can affect people in a very negative way. Therefore, it is important to learn how to identify stress symptoms and cope with it. On the Savvy Psychologist podcast, host Dr. Ellen Hendriksen offers some different tips on how to deal with stress, whether the source is from work life, home life, both, or something else altogether.
The first tip she shares is known as "54321". When you are overwhelmed by pressure, it is important to immediately remove yourself from stressor for a moment. The "54321" method stimulates different senses of perception as a distraction to alleviate stress. Name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. By focusing on these 5 senses, it distracts you from the immense feeling of stress, and it also helps to clear your head so you can return feeling calmer.
The second tip is to clear your surroundings. If at work, and there’s a deadline getting closer and closer, you may feel like your work will never actually end; your table is full of papers or notes and it looks very disorganized. Working in an environment like that is not encouraging because a messy table subconsciously gives you a message that your progress is as bad as your messy table. Therefore, whenever you feel stressed, take a few minutes to clear your surroundings and organize the table. This not only acts as a bit of a distraction but can help you feel better about your progress, thus alleviating some stress.
The third tip is to prioritize your schedule. The overwhelming pressure sometimes can be attributed to unorganized schedules. You feel the stress on your shoulders because the hectic schedules give you an impression that you have an immense amount of work to do in a little amount of time, when in fact, if you take some time to plan and prioritize your work, it may not look as bad as it does. Doing this also gives you a clear goal as to what you need to achieve and how much time it will take. Utilize computer/phone calendars or a paper planner if you prefer that, and colour-code tasks for better organization.
The fourth stress tip from Dr. Hendriksen is to think of the next tiny step. As mentioned in the third tip, it is important to prioritize and organize your schedule. However, thinking about how the volume of work needed to be done can be stressful. Therefore, instead of focusing on the big picture, think of the next tiny step. Set a tiny goal for yourself. For example, if you’re writing a thousand word report, set a goal for yourself of reaching a hundred words to start. This tiny goal may look inefficient and insignificant at first, but as more tiny goals are achieved, more work is done and the progress will start to become visible. By thinking of the next tiny step, it allows you to move forward and feel good about your achievements without worrying too much about the big picture.
The fifth and final tip is to not multitask. A lot of people believe that the highest efficient outcome can be achieved by multitasking because it seems like performing many tasks at the same time is more efficient. However, it is actually shown to be inefficient and ineffective. There’s a reason why people are encouraged to not text and drive. People cannot easily focus on multiple things, and that could lead to horrible accidents. The same principle applies in many aspects of life. Therefore, next time you are working, try not to watch TV or listen to music or answer emails at the same time. By putting more focus on finishing your single task at hand, you will spend less time flipping between tasks and worrying about all of them at once.
While it may not be easy or realistic to completely remove the stressful elements from your life, it is vital that you know how to best deal with stress so you can better thrive in any situation life finds you in. Stress can take a physical toll on the body, leading to unhealthy habits and a negative attitude. Managing stress is doable and hopefully, these five tips can help you.