Stop The Stress (PT. 2): The Mental Monster
The majority of what we identify as stress has to do with our mental health. The effects of stress on our mental well-being are some of the more distressing symptoms which are usually more difficult to cope with.
Research has linked high levels of stress with:
- Anger issues
- Reduced productivity and satisfaction with work
- Decreased enjoyment in social activities
Any one of these effects can seriously compromise your quality of life. They can feel like a nagging disadvantage that invades your life. All too often, the cause of stress is simply people. Friends, family, and coworkers whether intentional or not, can cause you stress. We can’t just remove people from our lives so what can we do to lessen the stress brought on by others?
Learn how to say no
There is often pressure to please the people around us. We feel guilty letting people down that we care about. This pressure gets us in trouble when we accept too much responsibility in our relationships. Learning how to say no to people can lift a huge burden off of you. This does not mean say no every time someone asks for a favor or to go to a social event but understand you are not under any social contracts to be available every hour of the day.
Make time for yourself
In today’s world, people have less privacy because of busy schedules and the constant social connection through our devices. It is important to give yourself a break from the constant barrage of social interaction. Set aside some time everyday to just be alone with your thoughts, maybe even turn off your phone. Also consider limiting the time you are spending with people who stress you out.
Connect with others
On the flip side of interaction overload some people may find that between work and everything else that eats up their time, they begin to neglect their relationships. We are social animals and isolation can be painful. Human connection in one of the best things we can do to maintain our mental health. Just spending quality time with friends or your significant other can take your mind off of what is stressing you out. Human connection has the added bonus of combating depression.
Work on communication skills
Try to work on your communication skills. Express your feelings to people. Maybe a heavy workload is stressing you out. Your manager or coworkers may be underestimating the difficulty of your assignment. Explaining that your task is more involved than they think can help them have more realistic expectations which will help lower your stress level.
Accept that there are things you can not change
Many people are guilty of spending too much time worrying about things they can’t change, I know I am. You can amplify your stress levels by over analyzing an awkward social exchange or something you said years ago. You must accept that some things are just out of your hands. The death of someone close to you or an economic recession just can’t be changed no matter how much time you spend thinking about them. Do yourself a favor and just focus on things within your control. You will increase your productivity and be able to improve your situation in the long run.