Stress – Top Tips to Becoming LESS Stressed.

  • Of all the issues that I’m asked to address there is usually something else involved.  Not all the time, but its usually present.  STRESS! Yet it is the one thing that we tend to not give a great deal of credence too.  Loosely defined, stress can be seen as a result of a persons inability to deal with events surrounding them.  Simply put, it is the minds reaction when it feels it does not have the resources available to appropriately deal with everything.

    Research has shown that stress can be a major causal factor in those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Taking the digestive system (i.e. from the mouth, through the stomach, to the intestines) as one complete organ of the body, it has been shown that this organ is the most susceptible to our old friend stress.  Stress is also thought to play a part in some skin conditions, heart disease, depressive disorders, high blood pressure, the list goes on.  The medical community and, indeed, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) both seem to more readily recognise the effects of stress these days.  The HSE has a whole section of it’s website devoted to tackling stress in the workforce.  Why?  Because there are many people who have been “signed off” with stress that have realised their employer doesn’t have a simple yet robust stress management policy in place, thereby laying themselves open in this litigious society to be claimed against.  I runs along one of the most basic Health and Safety principle, “Every employer has a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their employees”.  The absence of such a policy is seen as neglecting that duty of care.

    But, here’s the thing, you can’t pin it down!  Something that is stressful for on person, another may thrive on!  Just like so many other things I’ve written about, we all represent the world around us in different ways, we see things differently, we are different.  The upshot of this is when Joe Bloggs goes to visit his GP thinking he’s suffering from stress, the GP (and by default the employer) has to believe them.  Just because what Joe is describing may not be stressful for many others, unfortunately doesn’t mean it’s not stressful for Mr. Bloggs.   In 2009/10, an estimated 9.8 million working days were lost through work-related stress.  On average, each person suffering from work-related stress took an estimated 22.6 days off in 2009/10.

    This is just work-related stress though.  Obviously, there are other sources of stress.  Many things that happen in someone’s personal life can cause just as much, if not more stress than the work place.  For example, a death in the family, marital or relationship breakdowns, other sickness, again the list goes on.  You should note, however, that all the above is dis-stress.  Negative.  You also have eu-stress.  Most definitely positive.  Eu-stress results from all the positive things that happen to us.  The birth of a child, marriage, moving to a better home, promotion at work, but all this tends to not affect us as we feed from the positive energy these events give us.

    Now if you’ve been following my blog you might have already made a connection.  Because of what hypnosis is (i.e. an intense state of focussed relaxation), it is highly efficient in addressing issues where stress is one of the causal factors.  Clearly, relaxation could be seen as the complete opposite of stress.  So what are a hypnotherapist’s “Top Tips” to address stress?

    1.  Time out!  Take time for you.  Take time to relax.  The world will still revolve if you take just five minutes to relax.  It has even been shown that issues that seemed insurmountable prior to having such a break, suddenly seem to be less daunting afterwards.  You may even find that solutions present themselves after taking time for yourself.

    2.  Get yourself organised!  Clutter and mess does not help.  Set realistic goals and time lines in which to achieve them.  Tidy up.  Have a place for things so you know they’ll be there when you go to find them.  This fosters a sense of control and empowers the individual to move on in an organised way.

    3.  Be realistic with your goals!  Don’t set yourself a goal that clearly has no chance whatsoever of becoming reality.  It sets you up to fail and further adds to your stress.  For example, I would not set myself a goal of becoming Queen of England.  Firstly, I am not of royal descent and secondly I’m not female last time I looked.  Clearly then, a barking mad proposition.  If I were that way inclined, I could however, set myself the goal of becoming an MP, even rising through the ranks of Parliament.  That’s achievable.

    4.  Your diet & exercise.  Eat well and be fit.  Exercise regularly.  I’m not saying go out for a 10 mile run every day, I’m saying walk down the road to the local shop instead of taking the car.  Take the dogs an extra mile.  Go for a swim a couple of times in the month.  Eat healthily.  Again, I’m not saying pray to the church of the lettuce leaf and eat like a rabbit.  I’m saying eat a balanced diet.  There’s nothing wrong with having the odd kebab or a little extra cream on your pudding if you’re eating out.  Just keep it in moderation.  Eating well in turn gives us more energy.

    5.  Have a “Plan B”.  It’s what we call in this business as developing a strategy.  There’s a saying in the British Army, “No plan survives first contact”.  Things go wrong.  That’s life.  But having a “Plan B”, being able to “aim off” for the unexpected, can have a dramatic effect on your stress levels when thing do go wrong or not as you intended.  It empowers you to be able to shrug your shoulders and say “Ok, that didn’t work, try it this way instead” without having to run around like a headless chicken screaming “What now?”

    Those are some of my top tips, but I bet you have more!  Why don’t you comment below and give us YOUR tips for managing stress so it can benefit us all?  Before someone else puts it, I will give the humorous definition of stress seen in so many workplaces around the world:

    “Stress is that overriding desire to choke the living s**t out of some a**ehole who desperately needs it!”

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