Self-Care Principle 10: Managing Stress

Stress is an inevitable part of the human experience, it is not something that can be eliminated but we can learn how to manage it better and how to become less affected by it. We can experience physical stress or mental stress or both types of stress together. Some stress is existing, it’s trauma we have. Some is given to ourselves. If we have grown up in a dysfunctional or chaotic environment we may experience a pattern of addiction to stress or to chaos. Stress can come from resistance or wanting a situation to be any different than how it is. Acceptance reduces stress. Stress can also be caused by living our lives to please other people, if we try to please everyone we will fail. When we work hard for something we don’t care about that is stressful, when we work hard for something we do care about it is a passion. There are different types of stress: Training stress; Confrontation/arguments stress; Work stress; Relationship stress; Diet stress; Situation reaction stress. Each type of stress causes the same bodily reactions. We all have different stress responses, we can be part of some or all at times.

‘Fight Response’= Self-preservation at all costs; Explosive temper and outburst; Controls others; A bully; Can’t hear other points of view; A pronounced sense of entitlement; Demands perfection from others; Dictatorial tendencies

‘Flight Response’= Obsessive and/or compulsive behaviour; Feelings of panic and anxiety; Over worrying; Workaholic; Can’t sit still or relax; Tries to micromanage situations and other people; Always on the go, busy doing things; Wants things to be perfect; Over achiever

‘Fawn Response’ = People pleasing; Scared to say what they really think; Talks about the other instead of themselves; Flatters others to avoid conflict; Angel of mercy; Over caring; Can’t stand up for self or say no; Easily exploited by others; Hugely concerned with social standing and acceptance and fitting in

‘Freeze Response’ = Spacing out; Feeling unreal; Hibernating; Isolates self from outside world; Disassociates; Brain fog; Difficulty making decisions; Achievement phobic; Wants to hide from the world

We can manage stress with prevention. Physical stress prevention principles: Self-care practices; Prioritising sleep and rest, daily movement, nutritious food, deep breathing, relaxing muscles, stretching, calming music and bathing. Mental Stress prevention principles: Self-care practices; Talk about it/ask for help, journal, plan/list, breakdown problems, build habits, positive self-talk, saying no, social media breaks, mindfulness and an acceptance that stress is normal and affects everyone.

Immediate physical Stress Relief: Do something that makes you feel good. Take a break, exercise, go for a walk without a phone, rest/sleep. Immediate mental Stress Relief: Meditation, time in nature, bathing; Digital detoxing (phone free/media free time), reading, creating, journaling. We can also choose to get curious. We can stop and ask ourselves: What is the source of this feeling?; How is this stress affecting me?; What can I control and what is out of my control?; Will anything change if I worry about it?; What boundaries do I need to set right now?; What do I need to do to de-stress? We can also write down ways we can manage or eliminate the source of stress or unhappiness. We can think of what we need right now (if we are over committing, need to set some boundaries etc). We can also start to identify the ‘why’ by monitoring when we start to feel overwhelmed, resentful or inattentive. We can also keep track of our triggers to identify a pattern, this will help get to the root of the problem. When we feel overwhelmed disconnecting from technology helps, feeling our feet and getting into nature helps. We can then take some action, if a worrying thought is a poison, action is the antidote to it. Whenever we feel stress we can pause and re-evaluate. We can take a break, our mental health is important. We can re-assess our goals and what is important to us then look at what we need to eliminate. As with most things prevention is preferable to cure, preventing stress through prioritising our self-care is both helpful and healthy. We can’t eliminate all stress but we can learn to manage it better, so we get back to feeling better, more quickly.

#stress #managingstress #preventionispreferabletocure


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