How to deal with stress?
If you are wondering how to deal with stress then you came to the perfect place. In the beginning, I have to mention that information in this post is written from my own perspective and only from my personal experience. I hope that some of the solutions that worked for me may also work for you. However, it is always best to seek professional help as everyone is different and what works for one person does not necessarily mean it will work for another.
The first step that I have made in order to have better control over the stress level was to identify the source that is/was causing stress in my life. I know this may sound straightforward, but in real life, it is more complicated than it sounds. Of course, it is easier if major stressors have occurred such as changing a job, moving or going through a divorce. However, pinpointing the sources of chronic stress can be more complicated.
As I am a student I knew that the main source of my stress was assignments, so I had to find a solution that works best for me in order to overcome stress. Each year my assignments were getting more complicated and difficult. Whenever I had a new assignment to do on a topic which I was not familiar with I was always getting anxious, nervous and very stressed. Of course, everyone has different symptoms of stress, but this is what I have experienced. Many times when I felt stressed I was getting angry over little things and the more I was thinking about what was required to complete my assignment the more confused I was.
4 A’s of stress management
When handling predictable stressors such as assignments the only solution for me was either change the situation (of course on this occasion I was unable to do this) or change my reaction. Can you guess what I did? I took control and followed the rule of 4 A’s which helped me to manage my stress.
- The first A stands for Avoid and in order to avoid a lot of stress during my studies, I have analysed my responsibilities and daily tasks and prepared a to-do-list.
- The second A stands for Alter so I have started expressing my feelings instead of bottling them up. If something was bothering me I was trying to communicate with others about my concerns in a respectful way.
- The third A means to Adapt which helped me to change my expectations of perfectionism and attitude. I have adjusted my standards to more reasonable for myself and learnt to be ok with “good enough”.
- The last A stands for Accept so I have started to accept the uncontrollable and looked for opportunities in all the challenges I had to face.
One of the best solutions that helped me to overcome stress was having some time just for myself, having a long bath or talking to others about my problems and feelings. Usually, I have talked about those with my partner or my wonderful mum. However, some people may not have a partner or mum next to them so after some research – talking to a friend, counsellor, doctor or even pastor should also help. I personally prefer talking with my family rather than strangers as this makes me more comfortable. However, on some occasions, it is easier for me to speak to a stranger about my problems so make sure you do what you think is best for you.
I hope that this post has given you some ideas on how to deal with stress, but remember what has worked for me may not work for you so it is still best to seek professional help.
If you wish to read more of my posts from the Thoughts category I really recommend my previous post What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – does it really?