Stress is an unavoidable factor of life. Feeling overwhelmed by a job, personal demands or illness leads to physical stress. Loss of employment, death of a loved one or a traumatic experience causes emotional stress. The success to coping with stress begins with knowing your personal tolerance level for dealing with stressful situations. It culminates with learning to accept or change stressful situations when possible.
Change What You Can
“…the courage to change the things I can…” Look at what is causing you to feel stressed. Is it job-related or too many demands placed upon you? Learn to take on one task at a time. Make a list, prioritize and complete one urgent task. Then move on to the next task. Be realistic. If you feel overwhelmed, learn to say no. No one is perfect, so do not expect perfection from yourself.
Accept What You Cannot Change
“…the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...” Aim for a healthy acceptance of that which cannot be changed such as the loss of a loved one or the diagnosis of cancer. Embrace the stress factor and overpower it. If you allow the stress factor to embrace you, it will overpower you.
Use your imagination to visualize strategies for coping with a stressful situation, either at work or within your family network. Mentally play out scenarios in advance of how you might manage a stressful situation most effectively.
Take Good Care of Yourself
Adapt a healthy lifestyle that includes a well balance diet of nutritious foods. Get plenty of sleep each day. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Strive for a balance between work and recreation. Indulge in a hobby or activity that brings you pleasure.
When faced with a stressful situation, step away and allow yourself a few minutes of quiet reflection. Meditating for even five to ten minutes provides a quick sense of calm. Incorporating meditation into your daily life makes your mind calm and peaceful. With a peaceful mind, a person is better able to deal with stressful circumstances.
Share Your Feelings
Do not try to cope with stress alone. Share how you are feeling with someone you trust.