It has been 23 years since the first Stress Awareness Day in 1998. International Stress Awareness Week was created in 2018 as a major annual event to raise awareness about stress prevention. To be able to prevent or treat stress first, you need to know the causes. Causes of stress are different for everyone, but ten of the most common causes are:
- Working too hard
- Losing a job
- Marriage or relationship problems
- Recent break up or divorce
- Death in the family
- Difficulty in school
- Family problems
- Busy schedule
- Recent move
Stress management isn’t something you should practice only when you feel stress building but should be practiced regularly as a prevention tool. Some common stress management tools are making time for yourself, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and getting plenty of sleep. You have probably heard those before, so here are six management tools you may not have heard of before.
- Be prepared for setbacks
- No matter how much focus you put on stress management, there are going to be setbacks. Be prepared for this and when setbacks happen don’t get discouraged. Work through the setback and move on.
- Don’t over commit
- It is not unusual to feel like you must squeeze everything into your schedule and that you have to say yes to everything. Before you commit to something, look at your schedule and see if you will still have high-quality time to spend on existing commitments. Above all, remember it is okay to no.
- Anticipate challenges
- If you know you have a particularly busy week or big project coming up being prepared to face those challenges can help. Some things you can do ahead of time are set aside time to relax and create a to-do list with the most important tasks at the top.
- Reduce negative thoughts
- When stressed it is easy to slip into a negative mindset but that will just make things worse. Instead of thinking “this is impossible,” think “this will be hard, but I can do it!”
- Laughter has many benefits to health including releasing endorphins, your body’s natural chemical that helps you feel better and have a positive attitude. Watch a funny movie, a comedy special, or even get out and see a comedy show!
- Take things “one day at a time”, or sometimes, 10 minutes at a time.
- When layers of pressure build and compound, responsibilities can quickly feel overwhelming. In these times, it is important to focus on what is the most pressing to allocate appropriate energy and to allow other, less time-pressured demands to take a temporary back seat.
Stress is part of life and will never go completely away. With these tools, you can help manage stress and if you need more help coping with stress you can seek help. There are books, websites, support groups, and mental health professionals who specialize in stressors.
Stress – Why It Happens
This article has been professionally peer reviewed by Director of Cornerstone Consultants, Dr. Amy Trout, and founding advisory committee member for the Uyeno Foundation. You can learn more about Dr. Trout’s work and expertise by visiting https://www.cornerstonecape.com/.