Stressbusting Tips

  • Exercise. Exercise releases neurotransmitters which are thought to help our emotions by balancing our moods therefore exercise can help relieve stress. Exercise is a great relaxant, helping you to vent the frustrations of a bad day in a positive way and can make you feel generally better about yourself.
  • Learn to say no. Are you the kind of person who can never say no? What this usually means is you end up over committed, juggling to finish all the tasks you have promised and feeling less in control which can lead to stress. If you are a person who tends to take on multiple tasks then you will find people ask you to do things more often - they know you won't say no and you won't let them down! Look at the things you are agreeing to do and only take on more if you genuinely have the time and energy to complete the task.
  • Relax! We live in a fast paced world where we are constantly on the go. When was the last time you just took a couple of hours out for yourself to read a book, go for a walk or just sit and be? If you struggle to relax consider tools such as yoga, other forms of exercise or relaxation CD's.
  • Friends and family. Don't forget you have people to turn to who really want to help you - friends and family. Often they can be the key to reducing your stress levels as they are able to bear some of the weight for you. Don't expect them to be psychic - tell them you are struggling and need some help.
  • Avoid crutches. The following things do not help stress: food, drugs, and alcohol. Leaning on a crutch is only a temporary salve and the stress will still be there when the effects wear off, often leaving you with more problems. Try to find other solutions such as exercise or new interests. If you are concerned that you may be developing a dependence problem then it is best to seek help. Go to your GP or find a coach or counsellor to discuss other coping mechanisms.
  • Keep things in perspective. Keeping things in proportion is directly related to your stress levels. So what if your neighbour parks over your drive? So what if you drop the shopping? Don't let yourself get upset over minor matters - as the saying goes 'don't sweat the small stuff'. Reserve your upset for the times that really justify it.
  • Time management. A favourite phrase of stressed people is 'if only I had the time'. Look at where you are wasting time and find an alternative way to spend that time. Do you spend 3 hours in front of the telly every night? How about swapping that for a swim and a nice meal with your partner? Small changes in how you spend your time can make a huge difference. A good way to start this is to sit down with a diary and think about exactly how you spend each day - then you can begin to choose how to use your time most effectively.
  • Be realistic. Stress is an inevitable part of life and some level of stress is actually important to help us function - it keeps us on our toes and able to deal with a crisis, should it arise. Most people don't live in a nirvana of stress free living.

Accept that some stress is normal. It may be that events in your daily life cause you to feel life is getting out of hand and if so, it is useful to look at what causes the problems and what can be changed to bring things under control. Change what you can control and accept that the rest is just life!

If you feel your levels of stress are getting beyond your control then do seek further help either from your GP, local counsellor or from the International Stress Management Association