Techniques For Stress Management

Coping With Unexpected and Imposed Change

Dealing With The Attrition Factor Over The Long Term


Many of us are in need of effective techniques for stress management . We are living in tough times and daily life can be stressful.

Let's not get bogged down with semantics about what constitutes "good" stress and "bad" stress - you know and I know what type of stress we are talking about it here: the stress caused by problems at work; a difficult boss (or difficult staff); financial problems; unemployment - or the possibility of it; relationship problems, or perhaps health problems.




The stress caused by imposed change

In the present climate a lot of stress is caused by change that we do not choose and that is imposed upon us.

This is often related to organisational change and societal change (for example the impact of Coronavirus during 2020/21).




The stress caused by anticipated change

A further dimension to this is the stress generated by the anticipation of imposed change and the general uncertainty that this creates.

Trying to push away our emotional distress can throw us into “cognitive shock” that turns our mind into a muddle.

Here are 5 simple questions to help you cut through the confusion.





Techniques For Stress Management [1]

Understanding the focus of our stress reactions

In my own experience of some extremely stressful financial and business situations I have found that:



    (1) Stress related thoughts are largely about how to cope with what HAS happened and how to deal with what MIGHT happen as a consequence of what has happened.

    (2) Stress related emotions are your reactions to what has happened or what might happen, and these emotions are predominantly fear, anxiety, anger, frustration and feelings of helplessness and being out of control.

    (3) These anxious thoughts and defensive emotions arise automatically but if you just sit with them and observe them, without engaging with them for about 24 hours, they will pass.

    (4) Notice that your thoughts and emotional reactions are focused on the past and the future and not on the present moment.

    This really is the pointer to one of the most powerful techniques for stress management, and that is learning how to develop and maintain a present moment awareness.









The duration of the situation that is causing us stress

I have also found that techniques for stress management need to address two further aspects of this, namely:

(1)Techniques for stress management that address a situation that lasts for a relatively short-term duration (say a few weeks or months;

(2) The techniques for stress management that address situations that drag on for many months or years.






The effect of the attrition factor

Just as an aside, I have a personal view that most of us can handle the stress generated by a short-term situation but we really struggle - often seriously struggle - with the stress that is inherent in long term and seemingly intractable problems.

This is what I call the "attrition factor" - where we just get ground down by it all - our energies get depleted - we get plain worn out by it all.

We can see no end to our situation; we have little or no control over what is happening to us and, we get overwhelmed by the apparent hopelessness of it all.






Techniques For Stress Management [2]

The best techniques for stress management

I am not going to dwell on some of the obvious things such as exercising regularly, eating properly, not drinking too much alcohol, maintaining disciplined sleeping patterns and generally maintaining a balanced and moderate outlook on life.

The main focus of this site is how TO think and how to NOT think.

(1) Dealing with the impact of short-term immediate stress caused by unexpected and/or imposed change

In Self Motivation Tips - How To Motivate Yourself In Tough Times we have looked closely at how to deal with the heavy duty tough times often involving imposed change that have large and perhaps dramatic impacts on your life.

In this article I have outlined a series of steps that I have used, about how to control your thoughts and your responses, and that I recommend to you, they are called "Self motivation tips when facing tough times" but they are equally applicable as stress management techniques.






(2) Dealing with long-term stress

The most direct way of equipping your mind to deal with stress is by developing and regularly practising mindfulness.

The practise of mindfulness is a powerful life skill, as is one of most effective remedies for reducing stress.

There is nothing esoteric about the practise of mindfulness, you do not need to join anything, or subscribe to any particular set of beliefs.

You have already had many such experiences in the course of very normal, "everyday" type experiences where you are unaffected by your thoughts and are totally present. For example when walking in nature, or when totally engrossed in some activity with a total present moment focus.

These are naturally occurring states of mindfulness or present moment awareness.



    # Being free of your thoughts, free of the incessant chatter in your head, free of the endless grinding of the wheels of repetitious thoughts is an excellent way of reducing your stress.

    # Mindfulness is simply a series of structured mental disciplines and habits that take your natural and spontaneous occurrences of present moment awareness and brings it under your conscious control.

    # Mindfulness enables you to stop thinking and step out of the tyranny and treadmill of your thoughts and emotional reactions, and it also shows how to think more resourcefully.




I have shared some very specific experiences of how I have used this in this article: "My experience of mindfulness in situations of imposed change"






Cognitive neuroscience of mindfulness meditation

I recommend this video to you as a remarkable insight into the neurology of mindfulness meditation - or put more simply, the science for why mindfulness practise is so effective as a practical and effective stress management technique.




Techniques For Stress Management - Experiences, Practical Tips & Suggestions

De-Stressing

Social Contagion - You Become The Company You Keep

At time of writing in early 2021 and as we anticipate the easing of global coronavirus restriction and the resumption of social contact we will be increasingly exposed to another threat, another form of contagion.

This renewed threat is what I call social contagion, which is the tidal swirl of other people's emotional turbulence and its impact on our own dominant emotional state. This matters, as many of our life experiences are created or attracted by our dominant emotional state.

In this article we consider how and why we are so susceptible to other peoples emotions (and ensuing stress it causes us) and some practical steps we can we take to protect ourselves.

Lost In Transition - How To Cope With Hard Times

At the time of writing, with the world slowly emerging from Covid-19 lockdown, with our economies strangled, business failures and unemployment rising and our national governments flailing around like drowning men clutching at straws I think it is fair to say that many of us are currently experiencing hard times as a direct result of imposed change!

The purpose of this article is to set out a framework for understanding what is happening to you and to go beyond the circumstantial changes and to address the inner psychological and emotional impacts and how you can deal with those as well.

The additional objective is to offer a range of practical and proven resources to empower you to cope with these hard times.

The Attrition Factor - Hanging In There For The Long Haul

When an external event or situation happens to you, and often is imposed upon you it is helpful to understand that there is an internal process of transition you have to go through as you make your readjustment and realignment to the new realities.

In this article we take take a closer look at what happens in the second stage of the transition - the time of death and rebirth - and how we can successfully emerge from it into the new beginning.

The Power Of Framing - Change Your Language To Change How You Feel

Framing is about how we define context, make associations, establish reference points and emotional touch points all designed and positioned to convey the sense and meaning that we want to convey.

We can reduce stress by how we mentally characterize a situation that in turn has a profound impact on how we respond to it emotionally.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

How do we deal with our negative thoughts: thoughts of anger, accusation and despair, that so often accompany stress?

A good start point is to realise that what matters is not the content of your thoughts but your relationship with your thought.

This article focuses on how to deal with our thoughts by understanding and working within each of the four key stages, namely: awareness of your thoughts, understanding your thoughts, accepting your thoughts; and, living with your thoughts.

Living With Your Thoughts

The key to living with your thoughts is to develop a good working relationship with your mind and to do that you need to have tools, techniques and resources that work with all levels of your mind.

The objective is to have them all working together, moving you in the same direction, and at the same time!

Here are 4 sets of tools that each work with one or more areas of your mind.




Techniques For Stress Management -
Key Themes

Meditation techniques

The purpose of most meditation techniques is firstly to give you a degree of control over your mind and to give you a large degree of freedom from the incessant flow of thoughts and internal chatter - your "monkey mind" as it is called – and secondly to help you relax and relieve stress.

Brainwave entrainment

Experience the benefits of a balanced brain with the technology of binaural beat meditation, and take the effort out of meditation.

Mindfulness meditation

The practise of mindfulness meditation is about being aware of the present moment. It is a powerful life skill, as it reduces stress and it dramatically enhances your capacity for adaptive and holistic thinking - necessary qualities in mastering the art of how to think effectively.

Mindfulness based stress reduction

Mindfulness-based stress reduction has used present moment awareness as an effective way to help treat everyday stress, as well as the more significant stresses experienced by people with HIV, heart disease, and other serious chronic health conditions.

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy

Mindfulness based cognitive therapy is about learning how to step out of automatic reactions to thoughts and feelings and reversing the downward spiral by being present.

Emotional Freedom Technique: Dealing With Your Anxieties & Stress

Emotional Freedom Technique is a form of psychological acupuncture for effectively reducing your anxieties, stress and phobias. I share my experiences of how this has worked for me quite dramatically.

Embracing Failure And Uncertainty

Success is the exception rather than the rule. Failure is the norm. So in the face of this crushing reality, isn’t it odd that we bury failure and deny its existence by refusing to talk about it, rather than being inquisitive and seeking to learn from it? Here are 3 tips for dropping the stress and learning how to benefit from embracing uncertainty.








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