It may seem that there is nothing you can do about your stress level. The bills will not stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day for all of your jobs, and your career or family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have more control than you think. In fact, the simple realization that you are in control of your life is the foundation of stress management.
Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment and how you deal with problems.
The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation and fun – plus the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head-on.
Identify the sources of stress in your life
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. It's not as easy as it sounds. Your true sources of stress are not always obvious and it is all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Sure, you may know that you are constantly worried about work deadlines. But maybe it was the delay you, rather than the demands of the actual work, which leads to stressful deadlines.
To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitudes, and reasons:
• Did you explain away stress as temporary ( "I just have a million things going on right now") although you can not remember the last time you took a breath?
• Do you define stress as an integral part of the work or home life ( "Things are always crazy here") or as part of your personality ( "I have a lot of nervous energy, that's it").
• Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.