Learn to accept what you cannot change. As mentioned last time, this is a skill I use countless times each week. I find myself sharing this strategy more and more as I meet people suffering with their stress and anxiety.
Avoid self-medication. Self-medicating might seem like a good idea, but it causes a tremendous dependency and extreme damage. There are actually healthy ways to affect the brain and body – exercise, sports, healthy eating and joining a competitive team. Chemicals, including alcohol, can increase stress in many forms. Over the years I have seen clients find inner strength by enhancing self-esteem without the temporary high of drugs and alcohol.
Adequate rest. If one does not get enough sleep, one becomes moody, which in turn, affects performance.
Balance work and recreation. Just as adequate rest is essential for stress control, so too is rewarding your hard work with activities you enjoy.
Do something for others. This is one of the most powerful skills any of us can use. Not only will you help another, you will feel good about yourself. The flip side is understanding that there are some people you can’t help. Those in the therapy field who do not realize this will become very stressed out, lose confidence in their ability and begin doubting their own skills and profession.
Give in once in a while. Relax and stop taking everything so seriously. Choose your battles wisely. Anyone who needs to fight about everything obviously has low self-esteem.
One at a time. This essence of feeling stressed is too many expectations. Learn to put things in perspective and do what you can, when you can. Set priorities and check off chores as you accomplish them – then praise and reward yourself.
Stress and anxiety often lead to a sense of powerlessness, depression and anger. I have learned that as the client realizes the connection between these feeling, they can also learn to be empowered. As my clients often hear me say, “Knowledge (understanding) leads to empowerment over the ills that seem to control us.”