Dr. David Rainham’s 12 Key Stress-Management Strategies
1 Responsibility: Be responsible for your own stress. Stand back, assess your situation and plan a possible course of action. You must first determine where your stress is coming from before you can change.
2 Worry well: Don’t ruminate about your problems. Write them down, solve the ones you can and accept the ones you can’t.
3 Relaxation: Reduce overall tension by practising slow, regular breathing. Notice any tension in your body and relax your muscles. Envision yourself overcoming your problems.
4 Fitness: Do regular aerobic and strengthening exercises even if it’s just 10 minutes twice a day. Eat a balanced diet with less caffeine and alcohol. Develop a good sleep routine.
5 Thinking and attitude: Identify the thought behind the mood. You feel the way you think, so make sure your attitude is built on rational and positive thinking. The cause of your stress may not be as bad as you first thought. Remember optimism, flexibility, persistence, learning, forgiveness and happiness are always a choice.
6 Communicate: Be a good listener, be assertive and strive to resolve conflicts.
7 Time management: Find a purpose, set goals, balance your life, plan your time and stop procrastinating.
8 Money management: If you are working hard just for money and not out of enjoyment, then you should try to reduce your spending.
9 Backpack: Understand your sources of stress and your stress symptoms. Check whether you are contributing to your stress level by having irrationally low self-esteem, excessive anger, jealousy or guilt. If so, reduce anger, guilt, fear and perfectionism and build up your self-esteem.
10 Supporters: Turn to others for supportthrough your relationships or counselling.
11 Time outs: Take a break. Do something active that involves your senses and abilities.
12 Change: Understand the stages of change. You should expect to move from being interested, to making plans, to taking action to maintaining change. You may relapse into old habits, but you can learn from your failures and try again.