Don't panic! You can beat stress
How are you feeling? Cool as a cucumber, or frantic and stressed out? If stress is overwhelming you and sapping all your energy, life gets just that much harder and any extra challenges, such as weight loss, start to seem impossible. Learning how to minimise and manage stress is a key to success, not just in weight loss, but in life.
So what can you do about stress? Our first piece of advice is: Do take it seriously - it’s affecting your quality of life. Secondly: Do take it personally. Everyone handles stress differently, so make a point of understanding specifically what causes your stress and how it shows, so you can then focus your “stress-busters” accordingly. Thirdly: If your stress never seems to improve, it’s a good idea to talk to a mental health specialist or other qualified counsellor for some guidance.
Read on and learn some good ways to bust stress. Choose a few that are helpful to you and put them into practice – but don’t stress about it!
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1. Learn to say "no"
Are you too much of a softy? Have people learned to over-rely on you, impose on your time, and saddle you with their burdens? Learn to say "NO" to demanding requests - rather than suffer subsequent regrets and stress.
Be realistic in your expectations, and make sure others are too - you may be taking on more responsibility than you can or should handle. And remember to say "no" to yourself as well as others; if you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, don’t do things you don’t have to.
2. Be an underachiever
Shed the "superman/woman" urge. No one is perfect, so don't expect perfection from yourself or others. Ask yourself: What really needs to be done? How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make?
Overly-stressed people typically push and push themselves to the point of collapse. Sometimes it’s good to let go of your expectations, demands, and perceived “needs”, whether they are pressures you put on yourself or on others.
Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it. And go easy with criticism. Try not to feel frustrated, let down, disappointed, even "trapped" when you or another person doesn’t measure up. Remember, everyone is unique, and has his or her own virtues, shortcomings, and the right to develop as an individual.
3. Jump to it!
Twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity on a regular basis is a great way to manage stress. It’s also good for weight control, for blood pressure, for heart health, for peace of mind, for enjoyment, and for perspective.
You'll find that a consistent exercise schedule not only keeps you alert and focused during the day, but also helps you sleep better at night. If you have a lot of pent-up tension, going for a vigorous walk or for a relaxing swim can ease it out of your system.
4. Alter your perceptions
One of the best ways to manage stress is to rethink your perceptions. You may not be able to control a situation, but you do have control of your point of view.
Sometimes, if you are feeling very stressed, you might just need to reconsider your response to an event. Is it really the end of the world because a website is down, or because the traffic is moving slower than usual, or because you spilled a glass of milk? Sometimes you need to learn to laugh at what you might perceive as a “disaster”. Sometimes you need to let go of what you cannot control. Try shifting your focus from what is not working in your life, to what is.