We’ve all been there—struggling to keep our heads above water as the pressures and stress of everyday life consume us. Often we feel pulled in multiple directions, unable to focus on the task at hand as we try to resurface. According to WebMD, “Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviors, thinking ability, and physical health. No part of the body is immune.” Sometimes we’re in so deep, we don’t even recognize symptoms of stress, such as: irritability, a restless mind, avoiding activities we enjoy, trouble sleeping, clenching our jaw, forgetfulness, an inability to focus, changes in appetite, or procrastinating on the task at hand. Although people react to stress differently, these symptoms of stress can make daily living a battle. Instead of drowning in a sea of stress, try these three valuable tips to help you doggy paddle your way out of the deep end.
Push Pause: Identify your Stress Triggers
The staff at the Mayo Clinic recommends this step as a key to successfully handling stress. As the saying goes, defense can sometimes be the best offense. If you know what triggers you to become anxious and overwhelmed, you are better equipped to handle the situation before things spiral out of control. If you begin to feel overwhelmed or anxious, push your mental “pause button,” name the stressor, and diffuse the trigger as quickly as possible, often by changing the circumstances causing it.
Turn the Beat Around: The Power of Positive Self-Talk
According to the American Heart Association, “Positive self-talk helps you relieve stress and deal with the situations that cause you stress.” We are often our own worst enemy, acting as a personal roadblock that stops us from accomplishing our goals. Instead of focusing on the negative (“This always happens to me.”), press the reset button in your mind (“I won’t let this problem get me down.”). This tactic is an easy way to help you walk to the beat of a different drummer.
Acceptance: The strength to accept the things we cannot change
Sometimes we find ourselves mentally, physically, or emotionally going in circles. Either it’s an issue we’ve dealt with before, or it’s a situation that we can’t find our way out of. Instead of taking this as defeat, shift your mindset by accepting events you cannot control, and moving on. It truly can be that simple.
Stress is difficult, if not impossible, for many to avoid. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be better equipped to handle it in all facets of our lives. By identifying your stress triggers, using positive self-talk, accepting situations that cannot be changed, and moving on, you’ll be better prepared to stay afloat when swimming in a sea of stress.