Stress is something that we all deal with on a daily basis. It’s not a matter of if you have stress today, it’s more a matter of how much stress you have today. Your body, mind, and effectiveness begin to take a hit as the scales begin to tip into unhealthy levels. You’ll need to be able to identify how stress manifests itself in you and then ways to bring it back into balance so that you can remain healthy and effective for yourself and others.
Signs that you may have too much stress
Your body is and will communicate to you when you are feeling too much stress. There may be times that your mind discounts just how much you are carrying, but the body will always tell you the truth. Here are some signs that you are carrying too much stress:
- You are more irritable, you anger more easily or you have restlessness.
- Decision quality decreases. You may begin to make more mistakes or bad decisions
- You have a feeling of being overwhelmed, unable to focus, or unmotivated
- Your frame of mind begins to change. You may feel like a less positive person or your outlook and demeanor begins to change.
Your body will also give you physical clues that you are under stress. For me, my left eye begins to twitch. It started when I was in my early 20s and running a business. It honestly freaked me out at the time because I thought that there was something seriously wrong with me. Today, it acts as an alarm to tell me I’m starting to redline my stress levels.
Tips to manage stress
There is not a magic pill that you can take to wipe away and reduce the stress in your life. It’s often a combination of a number of small things that get you back in a healthy balance
- Schedule yourself some downtime. We’ve talked before about the importance of turning “off” from the “always-on” culture of work. (ep 151) Build-in boundaries to protect your personal and leisure time to give yourself a mental and physical break.
- Keep a positive outlook by embracing your sense of humor. It always helps when you have something to laugh about.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. (ep 170) Get out there and do some physical activity to clear your mind and relieve that tension in your body.
- Find an accountability partner to help keep yourself on the right track. (ep 191). They can often give you an unbiased opinion and insight that can fill in gaps in self-awareness.
- Learn to say no when you reach your capacity and limits. Stress can quickly come as you overextend yourself for a period of time.
- Practice gratitude and give thanks to others. (ep 203) Being mindful about offering thanks and appreciation forces your brain to focus on the positive in the moment. It also helps build relationships with those around you.
- Cut the noise. There are other things in your life that are adding stress to you that you can easily cut off without much impact. Too much time reading the news, the things that you look at on the internet, or our social media apps can be adding unrecognized stress to your life. Look at what media you are consuming on a daily basis and re-evaluate how much you take in.
Stress is not all bad
Stress is not totally bad. Stress in the right doses is actually helpful for you. It pushes your sense of urgency, creativity, and ability to get the job done. Instead of spending all of your energy on eliminating all stress, pick out a few of the tips above to put some balance in your life, and keep moving forward.
Remember that you do need some stress, just not all of it.
Recognize stress as it begins to reach unhealthy levels and begin putting activities and behaviors in place to help mitigate the impact. Also, be on the lookout for stress in those around you. As you see it grow in others, pull them aside, and offer your insight and assistance. You may be a catalyst for a positive change in a person’s life.
Make a better tomorrow.