Managing Stress for Goal Achievement
Stress management wouldn’t seem like something that would be a part of setting goals but it could be the difference between you achieving them and not achieving them.
There is positive stress and negative stress. Positive stress adds anticipation and excitement to life, and we all thrive under a certain amount of stress. Deadlines, competitions, confrontations, and even our frustrations and sorrows add depth and enrichment to our lives.
Our goal is not to eliminate stress but to learn how to manage it and how to use it to help you achieve your goals. Insufficient stress acts as a depressant and may leave you feeling bored or dejected. On the other hand, excessive stress may leave you feeling all mixed up inside.
What you need to do is find the optimal level of stress which will individually motivate but not overwhelm each of us.
How Can I Tell what is Optimal Stress for Me?
There is no single level of stress that is optimal for every person. We are all individual creatures with unique requirements. As such, what is distressing to one may be a joy to another.
And even when we agree that a particular event is distressing, we are likely to differ in our physiological and psychological responses to it. That’s just human nature.
The person who loves to arbitrate disputes and moves from job site to job site would be stressed in a job that was stable and routine, whereas the person who thrives under stable conditions would very likely be stressed on a job where duties were highly varied.
Also, our personal stress requirements and the amount which we can tolerate before we become distressed changes with our ages. It has been found that most illnesses are related to unrelieved stress. For example, anxiety disorders, bowel disorders, etc..
If you are experiencing stress symptoms, you have gone beyond your optimal stress level; you need to reduce the stress in your life and/or improve your ability to manage it.
Stress symptoms include, but are not limited to:
• Hair falling out.
• Anxiety attacks.
• Loss of appetite.
• Increase of appetite.
How Can I Manage Stress Better?
Identifying unrelieved stress and being aware of its effect on our lives is not sufficient for reducing its harmful effects. Just as there are many sources of stress, there are many possibilities for its management.
However, all require work in order to be effective. Changing the source of stress and/or changing your reaction to it. So you might be wondering how do you do it?
Let me show you:
1. Become Aware of Your Stressors and Your Emotional and Physical Reactions
• Notice your stress and its beginnings. Don't ignore it. Don't gloss over your problems.
• Determine what events stress you out. How much do these events mean to you?
• Determine how your body responds to the stress. Do you become nervous or physically upset? If so, in what specific ways?
2. Recognize What You Can Change
• Can you change your stressors by avoiding or eliminating them completely?
• Can you reduce their intensity over time?
• Can you shorten your exposure to stress by taking a break, or leaving the physical premises?
• Can you devote the time and energy necessary to making a change? Goal setting, time management techniques, and delayed gratification strategies may be helpful here.
3. Reduce the Intensity of Your Emotional Reactions to Stress
The stress reaction is triggered by your perception of danger and/or fears of physical danger or emotional danger, and fears of failure, etc..
• Are you viewing your stressors in exaggerated terms and/or taking a difficult situation and making it a disaster?
• Are you expecting to please everyone because I’m telling you that you can’t?
• Are you overreacting and viewing things as absolutely critical and urgent all the time? Do you feel you must always come out the winner in every situation?
• Work at adopting more moderate views; try to see the stress as something you can cope with rather than something that overpowers you.
• Try to temper your excess emotions. Put the situation in perspective. Do not labor on the negative aspects of everything find a positive in them if you can.
• Take personal time to evaluate your surroundings clearly.
• Take a deep breath when overly stressed and count backwards from 10.
• Exercise a little bit or take a walk daily.
5. Build Your Physical Reserves
• Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
• Maintain your ideal weight or appearance.
• Avoid nicotine, excessive caffeine, and alcohol.
• Mix leisure with work. Take breaks and get away when you can.
• Get enough sleep. Be as consistent with your sleep schedule as possible.
6. Maintain Your Emotional Reserves
• Develop some mutually supportive friendships/relationships.
• Pursue realistic goals which are meaningful to you, rather than goals others have for you that you do not share because they won’t succeed.
• Expect some frustrations, failures, and sorrows and let them go.
• Always be kind and gentle with yourself. Be your own best friend.
Continue to the last step of your goal setting guide, by clicking here: Setting Goals & Achieving Goals - Conclusion.