Make Stress Work for You

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on  February 1, 2013 at 11:22 AM Health In Focus
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Increased workloads, peer pressure and workplace stress can truly strip you of your energy and happiness; but just imagine the scenario in the absence of this 'stress'. No deadlines, less peer pressure and a hassle-free day. Sounds exciting and idealistic? Think again. The mere absence of stress and healthy competition can potentially affect your abilities and success.
Make Stress Work for You
Make Stress Work for You

Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Robert Maunder claims that a little bit of stress is actually good for you. And why not? You may know of certain people who thrive under stress, who see an exciting challenge when you see a crushing workload and see an adventure in every difficult path set out in front of them. Surprisingly, these people tend to be more jolly, happy and the life of their social circles.

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Turning your stress into a positive aspect can sound difficult. That's when we make it easy for you. Read on for 7 easy tips and tricks to handle stress better and make it positive for you.

Turn worry into problem solving: Matthew McKay, the author of the Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook states that worry is a process of imagining and assuming catastrophic and disastrous outcomes to a situation. Instead of impulsively getting worried, think of the ways of preventing those outcomes. Here's how -

Think clearly about the actual problem. Don't add up possibilities and events that start with 'what if' and 'maybe'.

Brainstorm for possible solutions. List them down.

Evaluate each idea for its pros and cons. Put an X next to the ones that won't work.

Set specific dates for when you'll start working on your Y ideas.

Once you've successfully completed your Y's, look back at the X's; were they really impossible?

Dig deeper: When struck by stress, look for examples within mother nature. Take for example, a crop in a dry season. The lack of water may be stressful to the plant, but infact, it urges the crop to dig its roots deeper into the soil, thus causing it to grow stronger. Instead of focusing on the lack of rain, see if you can articulate your strengths while 'looking for water'.

Keep it civil: Stress prone people tend to snap easily at people and are usually hot tempered. If it's true for you, start taking steps to control your anger. A study of around 1500 Americans conducted in 2010 found that workplace incivility such as sarcasm, rude behavior and silent treatment negatively impacted the individuals in terms of both physical and mental health. Reduction of workplace victimization and encouraging a respectful workplace atmosphere could bring about an overall positive and healthy atmosphere.

Inspire: While reading success stories of famous personalities can bring about goal setting and stress reduction, looking for inspiration from closer sources can literally multiply the benefits. Look for success stories within family members and friends, and even within yourself. Recall the times when you faced a difficult situation, and how you got out of it, victorious. Remind yourself that situations change, and that this is temporary.

Build stimulation: Chronic stress is thought to be directly proportional to ageing and neuron degradation. On the other hand, a stimulating environment can boost cell regeneration. Dr. Doug Saunders, a clinical psychologist at the University of Toronto suggests an activity called the 'Islands of Peace' to get into that stimulating environment to reverse the effects of chronic stress.

Firstly, choose an activity that you like doing and can get engrossed in, so much so that you don't notice the time passing. It could be doing a crossword, or talking to a friend, or even just jogging on the beach, it can be anything that takes your mind off the stress. This state of the mind is equivalent to being in a light trance, which gives your body the opportunity to recover from the stress.

Share your burden: Group therapy is amazingly effective to deal with workplace stress. Taking advice from like-minded professionals and colleagues can help you evaluate your position at work in a better way, set realistic goals and take on work with a new zeal and enthusiasm. Taking advice from family and friends counts too.

Play devil's advocate: If you're spending too much time worrying about things that hasn't happened yet, here's a nice exercise for you to help deal with it. The authors of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook have put together this exercise. Follow it religiously and note the difference.

After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast (two great stress busters), write down about your worries and troubles.

Then think about the worst thing that could happen if things didn't go your way, of if your worries actually manifested in reality.

Then ask yourself-what good things can occur if my troubles really come alive?

Doing this exercise is a good way to get rid of those rose-colored glasses and look into alternative outcomes instead of looking for negative ones in each situation.

Source: Medindia

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