Stress can be caused by many different things, but its underlying cause is usually pressure. This could be pressure we put on ourselves, or pressure put on us by others. Wherever the pressure is coming from, if we do nothing about it, it can cause high stress levels which, in the worst cases, can cause us actual physical harm – high blood pressure, for example. We’ve put together some of the main causes of stress, and ideas on how to cope with them.
Running Out Of Time
Not having enough time to get everything done during the day can be a serious cause of stress. We all feel that we should be able to balance everything – work, home, looking after those who need looking after (children, pets, spouses, relatives, friends, anyone who comes our way and asks for help) – but when we run out of time and those things are not ticked off the to-do list, we feel pressured. We feel bad. We sometimes feel useless and hopeless, and that can happen even when the demands placed upon us were unrealistic in the first place. However, when the demands and jobs are realistic, it should be a case of working out which needs to be done first.
Having a set of priorities so that the most important jobs definitely get done, and things that can be left to the next day are left until last is a great way to reduce the pressure you’re putting on yourself to be a modern day superhero. It’s also a good idea to do the more unpleasant jobs early on in the day – thinking about having to do something you don’t want to do can cause stress as well, so getting it out of the way early on will reduce that problem.
Eating unhealthily and not exercising enough can cause stress – but it can also be a symptom of stress; a never-ending cycle of feeling bad, eating to feel better, then feeling bad due to knowing you’ve eaten poorly. It doesn’t have to be food; it can be alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs. Any coping mechanisms that are unhealthy will lead us to feel worse in the long term, yet provoke us into those same bad behaviors.
The best way to deal with this issue is to make small changes towards a better, healthier lifestyle. Start by getting more sleep, then add in better food, bit by bit (have a healthy breakfast, then add in a healthy lunch, finally a healthy dinner as well), and when that’s working well, start exercising. If you try to do too much at once you’ll feel overwhelmed and fall back into old habits.
Saying Yes Too Much
If you say yes to whatever is asked of you and find that you’re taking on too much, you will start to feel stressed. You don’t want to let people down, and that’s perfectly understandable, but you aren’t helping yourself either, and could even be making yourself unwell. You will begin to worry about how much you must do, and become upset when you can’t manage everything that has been asked of you, and that you agreed to.
It’s important to know your limitations and not to take on too much. If you’re already busy, saying yes to another task will only go to make you feel overburdened and miserable. It’s better to say no and be honest about what you can and can’t do; the person asking for the favor will have time to find someone else, and you will feel much better overall.
Major Life Changes
Big life changes such as moving to a new house, getting divorced, changing jobs, having a child, or losing someone close to you can all cause major levels of stress. In many of these situations, you had no say in the matter, and in others it was likely to be your choice, and that’s important to remember; if you are in control, you will feel less stressed. If you don’t have control over things, there is nothing you can do about them – so you don’t need to feel stressed.
It’s easier said than done, of course, so the best course of action if any major life events are causing you issues is to find experts who can relieve the pressure. If you’re moving to a new house, pick a reputable, reliable, knowledgeable moving firm such as Small Moving Inc. If it’s divorce, then a good solicitor or counsellor can help. A new job? Speak to your new boss for advice. There is always going to be someone there who has the answers you are looking for – you just need to ask the questions.
Conflicts, either at home or in the workplace, can cause stress levels to rise. Conflicts can occur due to disagreements, personality clashes, or even misunderstandings. The best way to reduce this kind of stress is to avoid conflict as much as possible. Arguments may not be possible to avoid always, but if you can sense one brewing, step away. That might mean literally leaving the room, or it could mean backing down from an argument; it’s better to be stress-free than constantly right.
You don’t always have to stand your ground; if you’re right, the other person will discover that soon enough. It’s even better if you can talk to the other person and arrive at a compromise that both parties are happy with. A good discussion where both sides can air their grievances is much better than a bitter argument.
No Me Time
If it’s all go, go, go in your life and you don’t even take any time out just for yourself then you will be in a state of tension all the time. Your body will never be able to rid itself of that stress, and it will just keep building to potentially dangerous levels. It’s important to take a break every now and then. Even if you think it will put you behind in your schedule, having some time out will actually make you more effective when you get back to whatever it was you were doing.
You will perform better, and it is likely that you will still get your tasks done despite the break because you will be feeling revived and energized. If you’re super busy, then just taking five minutes to stop, perhaps stand outside and breathe in the fresh air, and calm your mind before starting again can make all the difference.