Coping with stress

What is stress?

Stress is an inevitable part of our lives. And life is full of potential sources of stress. But stress is not always bad - in small doses, it can help you perform under pressure and motivate you to do your best. However, when you are constantly running in emergency mode, your mind and body pays the price.

Identifying sources of stress in my life

Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. However, it may not be obvious where your true sources of stress life, and all too easy to overlook your own stress-inducing thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Common external sources of stress include major changes in life (e.g. financial, starting work). Common internal sources of stress include negative self-talk and the inability to accept uncertainty.

How can I deal with stress

There are many ways to cope with stress, but all require change. You can either change the situation or change how you react to it. When deciding which to choose, think of the 4As: Avoid, Alter, Adapt and Accept.
1. Avoid unnecessary stress - not all stress can be avoided but there are quite a lot of stressors in your life that you can eliminate by:
• Learning how to say ‘no'
• Avoiding people who stress out
• Taking control of your environment

How can I deal with stress


Alter the stressor - this often involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your life:

• Express your feelings instead of bottling them up

• Be willing to compromise

• Be more assertive

• Manage your time better


Adapt to the stressor - if you are unable to change the stressor, try changing an aspect of yourself by:

• Reframing problems

• Looking at the big picture

• Adjusting your standards

• Focusing on the positive

How can I deal with stress


Accept the things you cannot change - there are events in life (e.g. loss of a loved one, economic recession) that you cannot change or prevent. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are:

• Do not try to control the uncontrollable

• Look for the upside

• Share your feelings

• Learn to forgive

3 ways to relax and recharge


Make time for fun and relaxation - you will be able to handle life's stressors better as they come


Take charge of your life - be it your thoughts, emotions, schedule, environment or the way you deal with problems. The key is to be the one in charge


Find balance in work, leisure and relationships - this will provide you the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on

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