Published on October 27, 2020
Stress, stress, stress. It’s saddening to see how stress has now become an integral part of our lives. Not that we desire it whatsoever, but the situation, lifestyle and workplace competition are the imposters. Well, now that it’s a fact that stress, more or less, is a part of our lives, the real question is - how to manage stress in life? Don’t get me wrong, a bit of stress is like a caffeine shot for productivity and creativity, but just a little, my friend. We must be aware of that threshold. The better we understand that limit, the more stress-aware we are. Well, “Stress” is one of the most searched for term in the 21st century. Ladies and gentleman, today we answer the age-old question, how to manage stress in life.
But, before we begin, it’s but obligatory to start with an apt quote on stress and stress management.
“It’s not stress that kills us. It’s our reaction to it that does.”
- Hans Selye.
Indeed, Mr Selye. We majorly curse stress to be the killer, but it is in fact, like it or not, YOU! You and only you can control your response to stress. So, even before we get to the tips, here’s the first learning - Stress is not the killer. Everybody in this world at some point in time is under stress. It’s how we react to it that decides whether we kill or aggravate our stress levels. Before we dive any further though, it’s only fair to know what exactly is Stress? Well, stress, simply, is your body’s reaction mechanism under demand or threat. It slots your body processes into higher gears. In a limit, it’s good. Your senses are sharpened, your alertness skyrockets, reaction times reduce, there’s adrenaline flowing through your blood. All this helps you maintain concentration, focus and competitiveness. Whether you’re giving a presentation or playing a game or driving, this heightened state of activity helps you.
But, after the threshold I mentioned, it’s mayday, mayday, mayday. Your productivity decreases so does your creativity. Your temper is the easiest thing there is for you to lose, you feel lonely, lethargic, restless, maybe even depressed, after quite some time. It is scary, very scary. And your reaction to it is not of much help, is it? You blow upon others, pick up a fight here and there, are not willing to listen to anything, growing your fat storage, indulging in substance use etc. These are some extreme resorts that may appear to help, but they never ever do. It is an absolute horror show. But, now that you’ve clicked on the link that landed you here ( which you’ll be glad you clicked )... Rest assured, you’d find effective methods to conquer stress and have a strong answer on how to manage stress.
Before I tell you how to manage stress in life, it’s rather useful to understand some numbers:
- 73% of people have stress that impacts their mental health.
- 77% of people experience stress that affects their physical health.
- 80% of people feel stress at work.
So now, let’s get to the business of things, shall we? I have divided this blog into 2 parts. Part 1 brings in relatively easy tips to implement and easier to get accustomed to. Part 2 brings in tips that are effective in the long run and need a bit of practice to get in the groove.
PART 1: 4 easy ways to manage stress in life.
1) Reboot your body and brain :
Workload, pressure to meet the deadlines, a sword hanging by your neck are some of the common reasons to stress. Well, an obvious answer then, on how to manage stress in life is Switch off for a while. At a point, you have to make a decision, whether to pursue what you are doing that is hollowing you inside out or shut such things down for some time. The duration of that time depends on you and the situation. Go into that very indianesque mode of ‘Joh hoga woh dekha jaayega.’ Go careless for everything else for a while and care for yourself you so rightfully deserve.
What should you do when you shut down, I see you ask. Well, indulge in anything you love. For example, pick up a book, go on a vacation, go for a swim, a cycle ride, long drive, any sport you love, music. Exercise, this is monumental as well. Exercise is scientifically proven to lower stress. If nothing amuses you, get on your couch, grab your snack and binge watch for some time.
2) Write stuff down :
Writing is more powerful than you think it is. As our teachers and parents used to say in our childhood to practice maths or for that matter, any subject, once on paper, rather than reading the textbooks 10 times ( Yup, I used to read maths, and I know many who did and still do ). But when you grow up, you realize how powerful writing is. When under stress, you’re most likely angry, frustrated, depressed, jealous etc, a dangerous cocktail like Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila, beer all mixed up.
You know it's scary from the sound of it. When under the influence of these emotions, find yourself a quiet place, and write whatever you are feeling on a piece of paper. Language, grammar etc doesn’t matter. Swear, if you want to, as much as you want to, just bring everything out and on that piece of paper. Rest assured, then you’ll feel better. And if you want to take it a step further, analyse what you wrote and write your solutions for it. A solid answer on how to manage stress in life.
3) Identify the cause :
Probably should have put this first. Nevermind. The first step to solving a problem is to identify it. And I’ll share a very simple but amazing technique which is specific to engineering. You see, To identify the root cause, we are told to ask Why over and over again until you reach the root cause. Like for example, object ‘A’ doesn’t start up. Why doesn’t it start? Maybe there’s a problem with the starter assembly? Why is there a problem with the starter? Maybe the motor is the problem or it does not receive the current from the battery? Why doesn’t it receive current? Maybe there’s a loose terminal connection or the battery’s low on voltage? Do you see what I did? You have now narrowed down the cause by simply asking why.
You can now check the battery and terminal to find the fault and replace it accordingly. This is just a very simplified example and you might have multiple answers for your Why in real life. Write it down and make a tree-like branch structure to analyse every possible cause of stress and work on it then.
4) Think twice before you react, don’t let your emotions get better or you :
As human beings, it’s difficult to always think rationally. But, the more rational we act, think and behave with our mind doing all the work, not our emotions, the better. It’s very difficult to keep in check under a flurry of negative emotions. Practice. Consciously avoid doing anything that is not required. It’s easy today to do things in the heat of the moment, that you’d later regret. If possible, stay away from much interaction, keep yourself some time to recuperate. Hum your favourite song, think about something you love, something fascinating. Anything that helps you relax.
Rationally think twice before any output you have to give. First up, you’ve to do that consciously. With time, it’ll be second nature. Back yourself, nothing is as difficult as you think it is.
PART 2: Two long-term methods to manage stress in life.
1) Meditate :
I can’t stress enough about meditation. It possibly cures a very wide range of modern day lifestyle problems and issues. If you’ve read our previous blogs, you’d acknowledge how important meditation is. It helps you calm down, have complete and profound control over yourself and your emotions. It helps you relax none other. I genuinely insist you try this out. It’s not a one size fits all. Start with very easy technique, and eventually improvise. Rest assured, you’ll be calm, stress-free or at least have a calm, stable mind to think about stress.
2) Positivity is priceless :
Have you realised that whenever you’re happy and positive, you can’t think of any negative emotion? Even if you do, it has no impact on you. That’s the power of positive emotions and positivity in general. I understand that It’s not all easy to have a positive outlook in the majority of scenarios. But, nothing is impossible with practice. Give yourself time. Consciously try and develop a positive outlook towards various situations. Mind you, I’m not asking you to act meek or not defend yourself in situations that you have to. I’m simply asking you to change your perspective of looking at life and then allow it to solve or ease your problems.
That’s it. That’s pretty much it. Now it’s all up to you to go out and apply these tips in real life and see the change that I’m sure will occur.
Oh, did I miss something? I mentioned 6 tips up until now, where’s the 007? Well, here’s the 007th bonus tip. It’s okay to consult a therapist if things get out of control. Whatever anyone else says, it’s not wrong to ask for help. Not that what anyone says should be your concern in the first place.
Now then, I hope you have a solid answer to how to manage stress in life.
Happy Life, champ. Chin up, because you’re better than you think you are.
P.S - Psst.... How about a few tips on accountability?
Click here to find out how to be accountable for your actions.