We have to face the truth: we all have stress. I know, you know, the granny knows, in short, we all know it. Whether it concerns money, children, work or dinner, there are many things that make us uneasy. Learning to deal with it is therefore also so important.
“Stress is a direct result of negative emotions that you cannot control anymore,” stress consultant and life coach Elaine Sanders explains to TIME. “It does not matter what those emotions evoke, from the difficult behavior of a colleague, to the pressure on your boss’s shoulders.” Kathleen Hall, founder, and CEO of The Stress Institute points out that stress is about change in a physical, mental and emotional reaction.
But there is a difference between acute stress and chronic stress. Hall believes that dealing with acute stress (when you are called to the CEO’s office, for example) is normal. Chronic stress, which recurs day after day, week after week, month after month, is not normal.
Yet stress is often inevitable, but fortunately, there are good ways to deal with it. Experts give their tips.
Focus on the goal
Try to focus your emotions on positive feelings instead of negative ones. It can lead to a real change in behaviour, according to Sanders. “Start each day, task and conversation with a goal,” says Sanders. “Do not let a negative feeling discourage you.”
It can be a good idea to think about what you want to achieve for every meeting or task you have to do. Please note, some discipline and empathy are required. Imagine how you really want to accomplish the task and focus on which feelings you want to achieve. When you have discovered these feelings, you can better stick to them once stress is emerges. Remind yourself that stress is often unnecessary and the task will not accelerate, on the contrary.
Keep a realistic goal in mind
We live in the upgrade era, we constantly look for things that are better and bigger for everything in our lives, but that also means that we often come into contact with failure according to Hall.
“People think they will have less stress if they have a better job or better partner,” she explains. “I tell my clients that is nonsense.” It is important to be happy with the things you have. Focus on what you currently have in your life, that can make you less stressed about what is coming. Stress is not what one can avoid easily.
Find a confidential adviser
Sometimes you need someone who can take an objective look at things. This way you can focus your attention on what is needed and see that your stress may not always work well. Experts therefore, recommend looking for a confidential adviser.
Hall finds it a good idea to have someone at work that you can tell a lot about. “You can talk to them when things go less, when you get angry or when you’re not productive for a moment,” she explains.
Write it down
Tackling pen and paper can be very therapeutic. “Write down what you get stress about, whether it is on paper or on a file on your computer. It can also be about people or places that evoke stress,” explains Hall.
Hall points out that you should take a note for at least a month and then read it again to see where it goes wrong. “Once you realize what stress creates, you can avoid these triggers.”
Change your thinking
Both Hall and Sanders agree: the biggest misconception about stress is that we necessarily have to beat it. It is an enemy, and in this way, we get stress from stress.
“Stress is caused by negative emotions that we do not know how to deal with. Try to evoke positive emotions more often: appreciation, empathy and caring for others: they are things that we do not do enough or feel but they can counteract stress,” explains Sanders. “We are not set positive enough,” she concludes.