Stress will always be a part of our lives. No matter how smooth and efficient we organize our jobs and private lives, stress will sometimes be part of it. In general, a little stress every now and then, will not do us too much harm. We may not be able to prevent that type of stress, but it doesn’t influence too negatively.
However, the chronic, or frequently returning stress does damage our mental and physical health. It is therefore worthwhile to try to minimize these chronic or frequently returning stressors. These are the stressors that ‘’wear us out..’’
In general there are a few tips to help prevent chronic stress. They may sound simple, but they are not. Often it takes a lot of practice before one can regularly use them.
If you want to work on stress prevention, and make a meaningful change in your life, choose 1-3 tips to start with. Write down these tips and discuss them with your partner, good friend or anyone else that is close to you. It is important to mention them out loud, to make sure that your brain becomes extra aware of this ‘’exercise’’. From then on, you can start trying to implement these first tips. Make them more specific to be extra successful. E.g. adapt ‘’say no’’ into ‘’say no to extra meetings at work’’ or ‘’say no to Henry, who wants me to start the ambitious project’’ or ‘’say no to social events that I don’t really like’’. If you have such a specific exercise, you will notice that become better at (e.g.) saying no or delegating. And that will help you in preventing more stress in the future! It is difficult, but it works. Just give it a try, and try every tip that you choose for at least a few weeks.
- say no more often
- practice with delegating more tasks
- identify your own ‘’musts’’ that are not really ‘’musts’’: think of things/tasks you do of which other people have told you are that they not really necessary/you could postpone them
- start with (gradually) postponing tasks, if cancelling/not doing them is too difficult
- if you are sick/not feeling well, don’t try to ignore it, listen to