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Ten Steps To Take When You Are Feeling Stressed

If you are struggling to cope with high levels of stress in your life you can feel trapped and unsure about what to do for the best.

This article looks at ten steps you can take when you are feeling stressed to help you move forward to a better place and to feel less stressed.

Here are the ten steps for you to try:

Acknowledge that you are stressed. When you are stressed and cannot cope, you experience a build up of tensions that can affect you physically, cognitively, emotionally and behaviourally. You acknowledge that you are stressed when you accept that the symptoms you are displaying are actually symptoms of stress. Many people just try and cope with the symptoms but do not do anything to reduce their stress, resulting in their stress building up more and more. Once you acknowledge that you are stressed you can start to move forward.

Tell someone how you are feeling. Try and talk to a trusted friend, family member or colleague about what is going on for you and how you are feeling. Talking to someone will help you gain clarity, sort through your feelings, help you gain perspective and help you release the tension that has been building up. When you are stressed telling someone else often helps you to start to feel better.

Ask for help and support. The person you tell how you are feeling may also be able to help you with your stress, but you may also want to speak to someone else who may be able to support you with your stress e.g. your boss, the Human Resources team, a doctor, a counsellor or other forms of specialist help. When you are stressed it can be very helpful to have someone alongside you to support you in moving forward to a better place.

Understand the causes of your stress. To reduce stress and feel better you need to understand the root causes of your stress and then take action on these causes. The root causes of your stress may be quite different to the presenting causes or what you initially think is causing the stress. There are many causes of stress, ranging from a series of minor irritations to major upheavals. Stress may be created by many different things. Your stress may be caused by one individual issue or a combination of factors. Start to think about what may be causing your stress.

Consider what action you can take to address the causes. Think about the different causes of your stress and what you can do to make things better. You don't need to think of every possible action just some actions that may work e.g. your long working hours are making you feel stressed so the actions may be to look at managing your time better and to have a meeting with your boss to see if you can delegate some of your work.

Prioritise the actions. Once you have decided on some actions that you may want to take to address the causes of your stress, start to prioritise these actions. Consider prioritising the ones first that are likely to make the most difference to you. This is not a science, but you don't want to create more pressure by trying to take all the actions at once.

Take action. When you are feeling stressed it is very difficult to take action because you are fearful, anxious and worried and you may be flitting between different things and finding it hard to concentrate. However only by taking action will you have a chance of feeling less stressed. Try taking small actions to get you started. Also think about taking actions that could make a big difference quickly. Actually, once you start taking action, it diverts you from feeling anxious, as when you are fully focused on taking action it is hard in that moment to feel stressed.

Take interim steps to relieve the symptoms. It can take some time to reduce stress as you need to identify the root causes of your stress and take action on the causes. In the meantime, consider taking interim steps to help you to relieve the symptoms such as exercise, relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation and breathing exercises that calm your mind, interests and hobbies, having fun, taking a break, volunteering, connecting with others and self-talk and gratitude.

Allow time to feel less stressed. Stress is a complex issue so don't expect to solve everything immediately or overnight, it can take time. You may find that what you thought was the root cause of your stress is not. In this case you will need to explore further and find the actual root causes and appropriate actions to take. You may have to try different actions and revisit what really is the root cause of your stress. You may try something, and it doesn't work, so you may need to try something else. Taking action in one area may result in action needed in other areas.

Find out more about stress management. At the moment, you may want help to reduce your stress and then you can start to look at how to manage stress better going forward. You can learn how to both reduce and manage stress with one of our online stress management courses and can get some more tips by reading our stress management articles.

Hopefully this article has given you some ideas to try when you are feeling stressed so that you can start to feel better and less stressed.

Author: Liz Makin
Published: November 2018

Through Makin It Happen - Coaching, Mentoring & Stress Management, Liz Makin provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals. If you are looking for a business coach, business mentor or help with stress please contact Liz on 01780 765270 or email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk to arrange a free consultation session.


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