August 17, 2011 at 4:18 am #138862
How do you keep stress in check? Today, I got this great article that talks about 6 positive ways to manage stress. I thought that I would share them with you. Which of these are you using now? Take the poll and share your success with others. Which would you like to use? Personally, I could stand to pare down my to-do list. Looking forward to your comments. By sharing tips such as these, we can face a world of multi-tasking, deadlines and competing demands with that “can-do” attitude that we love to have; and bosses love to see.
For your reading convenience I’ve summarized the main points below
Avoid unnecessary stress
- Learn how to say “no”
- Avoid people who stress you out
- Take control of your environment
- Avoid hot-button topics
- Pare down your to-do list
Alter the situation
- Express your feelings instead of bottling them up
- Be willing to compromise
- Be more assertive
- Manage your time better
Adapt to the stressor
- Reframe problems
- Look at the big picture
- Adjust your standards
- Focus on the positive
Accept the things you can’t change
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable
- Look for the upside
- Share your feelings
- Learn to forgive
Make time for fun and relaxation
- Set aside relaxation time
- Connect with others
- Do something you enjoy every day
- Keep your sense of humor
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a healthy diet
- Reduce caffeine and sugar
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
- Get enough sleep
August 17, 2011 at 11:22 am #138938
I have to say my favorite here is to exercise regularly. I’m an avid club fitness guy. It’s amazing what 45 minutes of gym time can do to the mindset. How do you keep stress in check? How do you get your “me” time?
Now, now don’t say “I’ll get it after the kids are grown and outta the house.” That just means we get more of it :). Nothing in place? Perhaps one of these ideas can be an inspiration.Looking forward to your sharing points. Don’t forget to bounce this around to your fellow GovLoopers. Thanks – James
August 17, 2011 at 12:30 pm #138936
I’ve been lazy and bogged down with a lot on my plate, but usually I run. Nothing clears the mind quite like that.
Because I know many people are in my shoes, how does one go about avoiding people who stress you out if you have to associate with them on a daily basis? (In the workplace)
August 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm #138934
Love it. Learning to say no is one of my biggest challenges in life.
August 17, 2011 at 1:12 pm #138932
This is a good list, thanks James. I typically fall under accept the things you can’t change. Personally, don’t try to control the uncontrollable is a key for me to control stress. Adapt the stressor is another good for me. I think the lesson here is taking some time to think about yourself and what your triggers are, then learn to manage.
August 17, 2011 at 1:27 pm #138930
My wife sums it up as “Just let go of the caring”.
My own recipe for stress avoidance was my decision to simply not plan around retiring. Tremendous safety valve. I don’t have to worry about saving for anything. I don’t have to worry about money or any of that investment BS. I don’t have to worry about my career advancement, because there is no “career deadline”. I don’t have to worry about what I say to management because of how it might affect my career or opportunities for promotion. I don’t have to hustle to meet deadlines I know will ultimately not matter (because what I get done for then will just be sitting untilt they get to it, weeks or months later). I do my job honourably, but AFAIC, when urgency really doesn’t matter, let the buggers wait.
I also try to be pleasant to everyone around me and put a smile in their day. And darn it if they aren’t pleasant and obliging back at me. Makes a helluva difference.
That leaves me with precious little steam that needs to be blown off.
Certainly one of the bigger causes of stress in people’s lives is the underestmation of the resources and support that can be brought to bear on one’s challenges. I think we underestimate how people can rise to the occasion. I had a bad start to graduate school the first go-around, and ended up having to leave. As the first person on either side of the family to ever go beyond undergrad it was a gut-wrenching admission to have to make to my family. When I finally summoned up the blind courage to phone my parents, my mom just said “You didn’t really like it there so much anyway. Just come home.” Like I say, sometimes folks can feel severely stressed because they underestimate just how much support they really have from others.
Lazarus & Folkman’s model of stress & coping proposes that, beyond the traditional notion of “stress” as the perception of facing more demands than the informational, social, emotional, and material resources you can bring to bear, we essentially add up the various “hassles” and “uplifts” that accumulate over the day. “Stress” happens when the hassles outweigh the uplifts. Maybe you tear a shoelace and end up missing the express bus. But maybe you unexpectedly find a $20 billl in your pants while putting dirty clothes in the washer. Maybe you have to sit through an exasperating meeting, but maybe you get an e-mail or call from a friend you haven’t heard from a while. Maybe you burn the risotto, or your spouse burns it and you get into a tiff, but maybe you stand back afer you’ve put the mower away, wipe the sweat from your face and think “Man, that lawn looks fabulous!” It all adds up. I find that giving others “uplifts” gives me my own. Tell someone that you like their shirt or blazer, and when they smile and thank you for noticing, you can’t help but feel a little better just because you made them happy. Just like the song lyrics, eh? “Make someone happy. Make just one person happy. And you will be happy too,”
August 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm #138928
James, I like I have been working on my stress levels. I plan to print this out and put it on my cubicle…career cell.
August 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm #138926
I have one of these in my workplace as well. This is what I do;
- If these are scheduled interactions (e.g., meetings), You already know what to expect.I tend to take a walk around the hall beforehand. I also have ventilate the night prior by calling an soothing non-office friend. Keep in mind that the interaction is limited. Once the meeting is over; its over.
- Avoid Drive-By’s
- These are those annoying cubicle neighbors that want to drop by about something that means absolutely nothing to you. Pick up your desk phone if you see them coming. Make yourself unavailable if they tend to drop by at somewhat the same time. Do a paris hilton and act as if you’re talking on your cell phone.
- Curb their enthusiam
- If you get caught in a conversational topic that you already know will be a stressor, abruptly change the subject. I do this by just cutting off the flow of conversation. Most folks with an IQ above room temperature will get the message. You can then steer the conversation in another direction and bow out gracefully.
August 17, 2011 at 2:06 pm #138924
Yes. I agree Patrick. I call it learning the “Man In The Mirror”. I’ve learned where my hot buttons are. Now its a matter of making sure they’re not poked at. It really does go back to knowing who you are, what works and what doesn’t.
August 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm #138922
Make sure you get your “me time” in Kanika. It just makes the stress more bearable at the job. If I’m cranky at work, my co-workers will say;
“You didn’t go to the gym did you?”
Make time for something to do that’s just for you.
August 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm #138920
A great list! I don’t really have anything to add, but I’ll share a couple of personal mantras of mine that have always helped me on a variety of levels: “Just go with the flow” and “hang loose”. Growing up in California these were just things my friends and I would say. Now that I’ve grown up a bit I’m realizing how much those simple (and cliche) phrases, and the deeper principles behind them, have shaped a significant part of my mentality, particularly in dealing with stressful situations and other challenges.
August 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm #138918
This one is especially hard in the workspace. We want to exude that can-do, results-driven persona. But, in actuality there’s not enough works hours in the day. How are you working the “say no” on the job? Just curious. Thanks – James
August 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm #138916
These are great mantra’s Jeff. Thanks for sharing. I dare to say that they might work even here in the Midwest :). Your mantras also remind of a book that I read called “Dont Sweat The Small Stuff”:
Like your mantra’s this book really helps you to make sense out of the madness. Thanks again – James.
August 17, 2011 at 9:14 pm #138914
THANK YOU!! I will print this out and post right in front of my wall at work!!
August 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm #138912
You’re more than welcome Miss Arile, MPA!!!
August 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm #138910
This is great James! I am awful at managing stress. I get annoyed when things are out of my control, have a hard time saying no, and tend to bottle my feelings. I do exercise regularly (training for my first half marathon). I am going to print this article and post it on my wall at work. I need to learn how to let go and not sweat the small stuff.
August 18, 2011 at 12:16 pm #138908
I heard once that stress works like accounting. You have accounts receivable and payable, and they must balance. Anything bottled up doesn’t magically go away, and any stress reducers in abundance tend to make you more resilient to the next battle. Stress, according to this former co-worker was the imbalance of issues and resolutions. Things outside your control that you are responsible for create the imbalance because you can’t get resolution to the problem and zero your stress-risk meter. Saying no is a partial solution because in that act you are passively relinquishing control to someone else who can handle it, and that person will likely get the promotion. You might live longer, though.
August 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm #138906
Although I am not so great at avoiding stress (I’m a very typical Type-A person), I do remember my Mom’s advice when it comes to dealing with things. She said to just look at what you have to do and think “if this is the worst thing in my whole life, I’m gonna have a great life.” It helps put things in perspective.
Having been through breast cancer in 2009, both chemo and radiation, there isn’t much that I let get me really spun up anymore. I figure if I can beat cancer…I can deal with anything!!!
August 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm #138904
Natasha Hinds FitzsimminsParticipant
To keep stress in check it’s a toss up between working out and knitting/crocheting. Both take my mind completely off what is stressing me out and forces me to focus on what I’m doing at the time.
Like Stephanie S, learning to saying no is one of my biggest challenges that often results in me taking on way too much at one time.
August 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm #138902
I’m in a walking group called “Solvitur ambulando”–meaning “It is solved by walking.” But I am sometimes bad at staying on target even though I know it is helpful! We have to be kind to ourselves and getting out and about walking, biking, etc. is one way.
August 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm #138900
I personally like to blog. I find sharing the experiences that stress me out help me calm down. Hence the creation of the Diary of a Frustrated Young Professional. Knowing that I am not the only person going crazy makes me feel better.
August 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm #138898
I don’t think all the avoidance in that list is a good idea. A better idea is to find something about the people who annoy you and the jobs that stress you that you actually like, and focus on those. I find it’s better to go to lunch with the person who drives you crazy and get to know them and why they drive you crazy than to avoid them.
I used to run, mountain bike, or go to the gym to unwind. Now spending time with my kids always relaxes me. But I think it’s also important to find things and people you like at work to stay un-stressed. It also helps to occasionally “forget” the Blackberry or “forget” to check your email. Then you can get things done and the stress evaporates.
August 18, 2011 at 2:53 pm #138896
Mark L TessmerParticipant
This is very good. Thanks, James!
August 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm #138894
If I get stressed and I don’t have much time, a 5-10 minute walk around helps me clear my head. Just changing up the environment makes me think about other things that make me smile. But working out everyday is what makes me less stressful. If I work out in the morning, the day goes by smoother. If I work out after work, I am tense from the day but I do take it out at the gym.
August 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm #138892
I think the key to making it better is to stop being a victim of stress. Realize that you can make choices to make your situation better, and stop blaming it on – coworkers, bosses, elected officials, entropy, etc.
August 18, 2011 at 4:18 pm #138890
Go for it Karen! Self-awareness is key. I’m glad you find value in the article; I certainly did. Thanks – James
August 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm #138888
Hmmm. Never hear stress framed from an accounting perspective. It makes sense and I like it!! Thanks for the feedback Dennis. – James
August 18, 2011 at 4:24 pm #138886
Congrats on your success as a cancer survivor Jenyfer. I’m glad you’re sharing. Life changing moments do tend to help us put things in perspective. I know all too well…. Look forward to hearing more from you. – James
August 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm #138884
It’s good you have an outlet that works for you. I have the same experience at the gym. It’s take my mind off whatever is stressing at that moment. Kudos to you!!!
August 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm #138882
I’m seriously contemplating the walking thing. I have co-workers that walk in the hallways on lunch. Some of them have branched off. Now they walk in local parks and malls. Thanks for the jumpstart. This is definitely on my to-list.
Now if only i could prounounce “Solvitur ambulando” 🙂
August 18, 2011 at 4:28 pm #138880
I can see myself leaning more towards blogging myself as well Andrew.
August 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm #138878
I agree Greg. Cultivating a good working relationship would be better. Assuming;
- Both parties are willing and interested.
- Time is available
But yes, this would be another route to take.
Good commentary!!! – James
August 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm #138876
Good for you Richelle! It’s amazing what a 5-10 break can do.
August 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm #138874
Unfortunately the better choices (or the awareness of better choices) are not always available at the time. Hindsight is 20/20. I do agree that it is important to understand the circumstances before choices are made. Thanks for sharing T. Jay. I appreciate it. – James
August 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm #138872
@Kanika: “Illegitimi non carborundum” (Don’t let the bastards grind you down.) I channel my stress through exercise. I work out regularly and it really helps. Sometimes when I have had a tough day, exercise is the last thing I want to do. But, I make myself do it. It helps me wind down and I am always better off. Take care of your health!
@James, Your office tips are great.
August 19, 2011 at 3:09 pm #138870
August 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm #138868
Dale S. BrownParticipant
Remove things that drive you crazy in your environment. Even if it causes some initial stress. So, if I find that I trip where the rug sticks up- I tape it down. If I am doing something the long way on the computer, I ask someone about a quicker way to do it. If my stapler keeps on jamming, I get a new one. This sounds obvious. But believe me, if you watch yourself work, you may find a few things you can change quickly that will help you relax.
February 17, 2012 at 2:20 pm #138866
I just saw this reply after a long time (sorry!) but better late than never. James, I love your advice on getting exercise. I have two young kids and it’s tough–I try to walk at lunch (tough when it’s 100+ many days) or get in a very short run after work (sometimes just a mile). Even that little bit helps a lot. I miss my gym days (well, the way I felt when I was done working out, anyway). Thanks for the comments, James.
February 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm #138864
That’s great advice. I also like to get training on things I already know. Inevitably you find simple shortcuts and “new” old features you never knew about, solving problems you didn’t really know existed, but that were hurting your productivity.
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