All of us having different lifestyles and physiologies, and that’s why we all get affected by stress in different ways. Stress cannot always be avoided, but there are ways to reduce it when it happens. Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster, has done extensive research on the topic and we’ve decided to share some of his suggestions with you in the hopes that it can help.
Have some time to yourself
By spending a lot of time at work, there might not always be enough time spent on doing things that we enjoy. The only way to do that though is by actively planning some ‘me time’. Try to start with just one or two days (or nights) a week by saying to yourself “This time of day, I will do something that isn’t work-related”. Whatever your choice of activity, make it one that relaxes you.
Avoid unhealthy habits
Coping mechanisms might not always be good for you, even though they might temporarily make you feel that way. Unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking alcohol and relying on caffeine won’t solve the problems that you are facing, it’s more of an avoidance tactic than one that seeks to address the cause of stress.
Work smarter, not harder
In order to work smarter rather than harder, start by prioritizing your work and focus on tasks that make a difference. The least important tasks should be left for last. During a TED Talk, Emergency Room Doctor Darria Long suggests to deal with your workload as they do in the emergency room. Use the principle of triage- Red is most important, yellow is less urgent, and green is minor. Move from red to yellow and then to green, and it can help to reduce your stress levels.
Exercise has more of an effect than just improving your cardiovascular health, it also reduces emotional intensity. It can help to clear your thoughts and let you address the things that are worrying you in a calmer fashion. Following through with a few physical exercises might not make your stress disappear, but it can help you to deal with the stress-inducing hurdles that come your way in a healthier manner.
When you set goals and challenges for yourself (whether it’s work-related or otherwise), research has shown that it can help you to deal with stress by becoming more emotionally resilient. It allows you to keep learning and thereby arms you with knowledge and makes you determined to want to do things rather than involving yourself in more passive activities like watching television.
There is a plethora of stress-reducing tactics that can help you to feel calmer and more confident when you’re presented with a worrisome situation. The important thing is to choose something that works for you.