With stress being such an integral part of our lives, it's important to know how we can bust it. Guest contributor Wambui shares her tips on how to bust stress and reclaim balance in your life.
We all experience stress. Unfortunately, unmanaged stress can affect your health, relationships and work performance. Some stressors are unavoidable and will affect most of us at some point during our lives. Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series gives a perfect equation – Event +Response = Outcome. It is how we choose to respond to an event that determines the outcome. Identifying your most significant stressors is the best way to start to manage personal stress.
Here are 8 stress busters to help you reclaim balance:
1. Set Realistic Goals
Write down your objectives and goals in all areas of your life – self, family, friends and work. Being realistic about what you can achieve will reduce stress.
2. Learn to Say No
We all like to feel like we are part of a team and that we are helpful, and therefore some people have a difficult time saying no. When a friend or co-worker asks for help and you know you have too many plates to juggle already, say «no» politely. Be honest, clear and assertive in your reply. The first step is to acknowledge what is being said – it can go like this - «I realize that this is important to you and under normal circumstances I would love to help you (then say why) - however I have my own deadline to meet.» Then offer a constructive suggestion – like this one «Why don’t you ask Julie, she might be willing to help you?» (Of course do not send her to Julie every time otherwise she might resent you.) By using this strategy you communicate effectively with no distress to yourself.
3. Organizing and Prioritizing
Take 15 minutes every evening to organize your work for the next day in order of priority, deadlines, and importance. Stephen Covey, author of the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, points «if you do not plan you will manage your life by crisis.» Sort through your papers and put them in order of importance – very urgent, urgent and not urgent.
4. Use a Planner
A well maintained planner will help reduce the worry and anxiety of wondering if you will remember all your appointments.
Whether it is at home with domestic chores or at work, delegating reduces demands, avoiding stress. When you delegate at work, make sure you choose a person who is best suited for the job. Assure them that you will be available if they need your help. Delegating gives someone else an experience they may need for their career advancement.
6. Smiling, Laughing and Developing a Sense of Humor
A genuine smile reflects a smile from your heart. Smiling relaxes many of the facial muscles, improving blood flow from the brain.
It is not the quantity but the quality of friendships you have that matters. With a true friend you can share your interests, successes and failures. Take time to connect with your friends.
There are many ways to recharge your batteries and relax. Yoga, meditation and exercise can be practiced regularly. Make them a part of your life just like brushing your teeth. Other relaxation practices that can revitalize you are taking a hot bubble bath, floating in a swimming pool, taking a weekend break or a pleasant walk.
These are just a few stress busters that can help you to deal more effectively with stress. It is my hope that they will be helpful to you as they have been to me.