Feeling Stressed? Learn How You Can Overcome Stress, is a follow on from Stressed? What Type of Stress Do You Suffer From? I highly recommend that you read that one first as it sets out the different types of stress.
This article looks at how you can overcome each of the different types of stress.
How To Overcome Stress
So, having read Stressed? What Type of Stress Do You Suffer From? You will know that there are four different types of stress which are:
- Time Stress
- Anticipatory Stress
- Situational Stress
- Encounter Stress
I’m sure that you can relate to at least one, if not more. Let’s now look at the different solutions to deal with each particular type of stress.
The fear of not having enough time to do things can really hold you back. But by looking at and following good time management techniques, you can learn to overcome stress.
Ok, so what are you looking to achieve? To get more things done in the time that you have available. Sadly, you cannot just wish for more time – you’re stuck with the same 24 hours in a day as everyone else.
But, once you understand stress as a time issue, you can work towards adopting some time management skills. Here are a few suggestions that you can try.
If you need some help in putting together an effective to-do list, have a look at my article To-Do Lists and How To Make Them Work For You. There are also a couple of book reviews that you might want to read To Do List Make-over and The To Do List Formula
Sometimes referred to as time blocking.
This is all about setting a specific amount of time aside in order to focus on one task. The Pomodoro Technique is one type of time chunking method. Read my article on How The Pomodoro Technique Can Help You Achieve More for further guidance.
Utilising your diary to best effect can help you keep on top of time issues. You can use your diary to set out ‘time chunking’ as mentioned above. But also to highlight visible reminders for deadlines. If you would like more guidance read my article Effective Diary Management
It is all very well having a long list of things to do. But if you want to maximise the amount of time you have, then you will need to set priorities. There are a number of tools that can help with this. One of the more popular is the Eisenhower Matrix. This system has four boxes. Its strength is getting you to consider what tasks are urgent/non-urgent/important and not important. You can find a short video and more information about this tool here https://www.eisenhower.me/eisenhower-matrix/
Have Clear goals and objectives
Knowing what you are doing and how you are aiming to achieve it is a great way to overcome stress. Without a sense of direction you will feel lost. Setting goals creates a clear target of what you want to achieve. It allows you to focus in on what you need to get done. As a result you are not distracted into doing other things which can take you away from your main purpose. Distractions are the biggest cause of time thief’s.
If you need any help with setting goals then read my article 10 Steps To Effective Goal Setting which will walk you through the process.
Learn To Say No
Not having enough time may be a result of taking on too much. In this situation learning to say no will help. If you are someone who always jumps in to help out it might be because you are a people pleaser and worry about what others think about you. Trust me. Saying no to things that are not essential to you means that you will have more time to focus on those things that are worthy of your time. Besides people do understand that you can’t do everything. Learning to say no in a polite but firm way could be your life saver.
Suffering from this form of stress means that you are worries about the future. To overcome stress in this category, the following will help you.
Imagine the future, but rather than focus on the things that could go wrong. Focus on things going right. Look at the benefits that you could obtain or the feelings that you will experience if things go well. Believing that you will get something out of a situation is very empowering
I am a great believer in meditation. Learning to breathe deeply and clear your mind of negative thoughts is liberating. My article on 5 Benefits of Meditating reveals how I went from a complete ‘stress-head’ as I called it to someone who is a lot calmer. It’s all in the breath you know!
This is the practice of being in the present moment. It’s not just a recent fad. It has its roots in Buddhism. Although it can involve meditation, it is also about taking account of your surroundings in the here and now.
Fear of failure
This is perhaps one of the biggest fears of all. Nobody likes to fail. But in the same way, none of us are perfect either. We all fail at something. The challenge is to consider that failing is not a failure but a learning experience. As one coach once said to me. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Taking away the fear can help you embrace opportunities and enhance your ability to grow.
If you understand stress as situational, then think about the types of situations that cause you stress. In the last post you will have learnt that conflict is a major factor in this category. As such it will be helpful to develop your skills in conflict management or becoming more assertive.
Left on its own conflict will fester. So learning how to deal with it is essential in order to overcome stress caused by it.
Conflict can be positive. It brings opposing or different views, or ways of doing things to the front.
Here is some guidance on dealing with conflict in order to overcome stress:
Separate The Person From The Situation
See the person and the situation as separate issues. Sometimes we see a problem as being a combination of the two. Separating it out and thinking of the issue as the problem can help drive an understanding with the other person.
State The Facts
Set out the facts without making it personal. What is it that is causing the issue? Stating your case in this way takes the emotion out of the encounter.
Listen first and talk second
You have two ears and one mouth and putting the emphasis on the listening can be helpful when trying to get to the root of what is going on. Or in the words of the late Stephen Covey ‘seek first to understand and then be understood’.
These are all valuable skills to learn. Don’t worry getting all of them right immediately. This is a work in progress. If you face a situation of conflict with the attitude that you want to resolve it for the benefit of all then conflict will be easier to manage. And you will overcome your stress as a result.
We can’t always avoid encounters that are stressful. But if you understand stress as an encounter one, then these techniques will help overcome stress.
Take a break
Taking some time out away from the situation is positive. It helps you to find a balance and makes you stronger to deal with things better. Having some quiet time is not to be underestimated.
Learning how to breathe deeply allows you to focus on your breath rather than the situation. It bring more oxygen into the body which in turn will energise you.
Try to understand where the other person is coming from. What is their motivation? Their thoughts on the issue and what is causing them stress. It will help you deal with them better.
If you struggle with the quantity of encounters, then knowing your limit will save you a lot of stress. For me, I know that too many events on the trot can drain me. So I now ensure that any meetings or appointments that I have, are spaced out. It means that I can really enjoy the encounter in the moment without the stress of thinking about it as an ongoing issue. This change in approach and mind-set has really helped me overcome stress.
In addition to the above tips, you can also create habits to overcome stress.
Habits To Help Deal with stress
The above solutions are solid foundations to dealing with the different type of stresses. In the meantime how about thinking about your habits and how they can help you overcome stress?
Look at your eating, sleeping and relaxation habits and consider how they can improve. Consider taking up an interest or hobby to provide an outlet from a stressful environment. Becoming more active is also a good way to release stress. Exercise is good for you.
Take a break
Getting completely away from the source of stress is a good thing. Sometimes distance can bring a new perspective. Have a change of scenery. Go somewhere different and experience new things. This can really help you to gain perspective and the strength to tackle what lies ahead.
Dealing with stress can be lonely. People tend to see the change in behaviour but will not necessarily understand what is causing it. Find support from friends and family or even someone from your peer group. You can use the support to talk things through or alternatively have them as an accountability partner if you are looking to make changes in your habits or behaviour. Let them know that you are wanting to create new habits to overcome stress. They can then act as your cheerleader and check on how you are doing.
If you consider stress as four distinct types, then in order to overcome stress you need to understand what that stress is. How it impacts you and then take the appropriate action that will help you overcome that particular stress.
There are also some more general self-care practices that you can adopt as a means of support and the best way for you to adopt this is to consider them in light of habits.
Consider how your lifestyle may be adding to your stress and look to make some positive changes. If need be, take a break. This will not necessarily make the stress disappear, but putting some distance between yourself and the stress can provide a different perspective. And finally, don’t feel that you have to suffer stress in silence, find some support either as someone to talk to or as an accountability partner.
Stress when you are in the middle of it can feel overwhelming. Hopefully you now have the tools you need to start taking action to overcome stress.