Stress is everywhere and felt by everyone. It does not discriminate between man or woman, young or old and it certainly does not care you have already had a hard or tiring day. Stress doesn't think about your appetite or your wellbeing, it just is. But does it need to be? Stresses and feeling stressed may be a normal occurrence and while some people cope better than others, this doesn't mean they are any less stressed.
Stress doesn't need to overwhelm your life, take back control, shrug off the tension and practice some self-care, redirection and self-motivation.
You cannot control what happens, only how you react.
Life is an adventure, it may not always follow a merry path and it doesn't always take us through sunny pastures and wildflower-dotted meadows. Sometimes the journey of life takes a sharp incline and you almost feel like you are going against the flow. Emotional stress can be caused by an overwhelming amount of emotion or similarly, trying to prevent yourself from feeling certain emotions, like sadness or anger.
If you are in a situation that is causing you rising levels of emotional stress, take a step back, give yourself a minute or two to focus on taking some deep, calming breaths and approach the situation with a fresh state of mind. If you find you are struggling with the stress after taking a few breathes, where the circumstances allow, step back from the source of your stress entirely and revisit.
If you are someone that finds you get emotionally charged during stressful events, train yourself to have a subtle calming method, whether this is humming or singing along to a certain song, reliving an exercise in your mind, performing a short set of exercises on the spot or even redirecting your energy into a doodle or sketch.
Accept that not everything is in your control.
Should your stress be caused by school or work responsibilities, learn to accept that not everything is of your control and not every day will end with your to-do list ticked off. To reduce responsibility-induced stress, start the day with your most time-consuming and important tasks, working through your list of requirements until only the least important tasks are left.
If you don't complete these by the end of your schedule, don't let yourself feel unfilled, remind yourself of the work completed and have peace of mind that should anything urgent or important arise, you haven't left yourself overwhelmed.
Students often report high levels of stress, especially those studying to get into a prestigious university or college students who are also working long hours alongside their education. While it's not always possible to put off these sorts of responsibilities, it's important to remember you aren't alone and other students or past students are available to give you advice on reaching certain grades or making the most of your available time.
Fixation on anything is negative — redirect, recover and re-engage.
It's understandable that stress comes from immersing yourself in a situation that you can't always easily escape from, this can create a loop where you fixate on the source of your stress, rather than finding ways to calm yourself and revisit your responsibility. If you are stuck in a situation and you feel your stress levels rising, distract your mind with a menial task like finding something in the room of the color red, finding something that represents the number three or simply finding an item nearby that has something you can count.
Your only restriction is your imagination.
If you are worried that trying to set yourself a menial mental task at the moment will only add to your discomfort, keep a list to hand that you can reach for when you start to feel anxious.
Stress contributes to increased levels of illness, fatigue and worse, making us distracted and encouraging us to push others away from us. It's important for the good of your mental and emotional health that you learn to divert stress, finding ways to distract or calm yourself and revisiting the source of your stress in a fresher mental state.
Life is much more enjoyable when you are in a confident mental and emotional state, so don't forget to smile as even when you aren't happy. Smiling releases endorphins which are the body's happy chemicals!