Stress Management Skills You Must Develop

What is stress?

Stress occurs when you feel that what is expected out of you is beyond your ability to cope.

Stress can sometimes be beneficial since it creates a kind of drive that helps you get through situations such as work deadlines or examinations. However, too much stress can have adverse consequences on your health as it affects all the major systems of the body- the cardiovascular, neuroendocrine as well as the central nervous system. It takes a severe toll on your emotional health and also brings down your immunity. Untreated stress has been found to result in serious health issues such as heart disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia, etc. This makes it very important to be able to manage stress effectively.

What is stress management?

Stress management covers a wide range of techniques intended to help people deal with stress more effectively by understanding specific stressors and taking constructive actions to minimize their impact.

Stress Management Skills

To be able to deal with stress effectively you must

  • Understand how you stress
  • Identify what causes you to be stressed.

Is it family, work, friends, relationships…?

  • It is importance to recognize and detect the signs

Low tolerance, headaches, stomach pains or a combination of these are some examples.

  • Identify your stress strategies

How can you calm yourself?

  • Implement healthy stress management strategies

Be mindful of any unhealthy coping behaviour. Try to eliminate them and switch to healthier options. For example, replace overeating with meditation as your coping mechanism.

  • Seek support when needed

Stress management techniques can be placed under three main categories-

  1. i) Action-oriented approaches– Aim to take action to alter a stressor
  • Assert yourself
  • Be willing to compromise
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyleEat a balanced, nutritious diet. Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol and other harmful substances. Stay hydrated and get enough sleep

  • Avoid unnecessary stressors by
  • Saying NO
  • Avoiding people who stress you out
  • Managing your time through prioritization and delegation of responsibilities
  • Taking charge of your environment to eliminate stressors

  • Exercise
  • Put on your favourite music and dance
  • Go for a walk
  • Walk to work or for nearby errands
  • Take up a sport

  • Forge connections with people
  • Help someone by volunteering.
  • Grab a coffee with a friend.
  • Call or text an old friend
  • Meet new people by joining a class or club

  • Make leisure time daily to do something you enjoy

Take time to meditate or do yoga.

  1. ii) Emotion-oriented approaches- Seek to alter the way we perceive stressors

Use affirmations, imagery, cognitive structuring, thought awareness and other such techniques to change how you perceive stressful situations.

iii) Acceptance-oriented approaches- Help deal with situations you don’t have control over

  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable
  • Look at the big picture to put the stressor in perspective
  • Adjust your standards. Strive for improvement, not perfection
  • Practice gratitude
  • Forgive

We hope this helps you pick a strategy to prioritize your needs, and take control of the situation. Know more about Cigna TTK’s plans here.

Ellen Cone