Challenge yourself to be ‘Eustressed’
April 1, 2022
Stress is a natural human response and something that can be helpful to us. At times it can also be damaging to both our physical and mental health. Our stress response is ‘hard-wired’, and throughout history, has enabled us to survive and flourish. As we moved from early human history to our modern day lives, the very responses that allowed us to flee from, or fight our way out of danger, the ‘fight or flight’ response, have remained with us. The lives we lead today are less about managing life-threatening dangers and more about navigating the world of work, relationships, money and all the other trials that face us in the 21st century.
We can take control of our stress and manage our responses by adopting habits that can prevent our stress levels from becoming harmful.
Check in with yourself – how are you feeling?
If you feel like you sit on the left-hand side of the curve and feeling unmotivated, make a plan for the day. It makes you feel purposeful, gives you a structure, and a sense of accomplishment as you move through the small tasks you set yourself.
Equally, if you are sitting on the right-hand side and everything is feeling a bit much, planning can still help. Writing down the tasks you need to complete on paper can help you see problems from a more neutral perspective, give you some mental clarity, and allow you to prioritise your tasks and allocate time to improving your headspace.
If you currently feel on top form, make a note of why you think this might be. This could be useful for a time that you aren’t feeling your best, to reflect and understand what it is that makes us tick.
6 ways to manage our stress levels to avoid it becoming harmful
- Identify the causes of your stress. By identifying aspects of our lives that lead to a build-up of stress, we can find ways to minimise the impact and take back some control. Whether it is financial worries, a difficult relationship or a tricky time at work, look at what you can change about that situation.
- Do some exercise. The benefits to our physical health are well-known, but exercise is also hugely beneficial to our mental wellbeing. Walking, swimming and cycling are fantastic ways to boost our wellbeing. Getting back into, or starting, any exercise or sport that interests you can bring great health benefits, help you to feel better about yourself, feel more confident and reduce your stress levels.
- Look after your diet. Stressful periods in your life might result in overeating, skipping meals or reaching for foods and drinks that will give you an instant boost. Keep an eye on what you are eating and how often, and make some adjustments.
- Get involved with something social. Join a group, go out with friends, spend time with your family and get connected.
- Do something that makes you feel joyful, such as spending time on creative activities, art, music, crafting, gardening, games, sharing a joke, reading a book.
- Talk to someone. Sharing our worries or concerns with a trusted friend, partner or colleague can often be enough to help, but there are times when we might need professional help. There are lots or government services, charities and organisations on the Isle of Man who can help. Learn more here.
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