5 Steps To Break Your Stress Cycle

Feb 03, 2012 2 Comments by

We asked leading therapists for their top stress-busters. Here’s your simple five-step prescription

stress

1. SORT FACT FROM EMOTIONS

‘A key first step is learning the difference between the thoughts and behaviors that can stem from stressful situations, and the simple facts that you have no control over,’ says Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (CBT) Christine Wilding. ‘you need to replace rigid thoughts with softer ones,’ she advises. ‘So rather than thinking “I can’t cope” when you’re feeling stressed, you’ll be acknowledging “This situation is difficult to deal with.” CBT helps you identify negative ways of thinking and the emotions that arise from them, and replace them with more realistic thought patterns.’

2. AUDIT YOUR CONTACTS LIST

‘Just like extra Christmas pounds, many of us carry “flabby friends” into the new year- relationships we should invest less emotion into,’ says Mark Vernon, philosopher and author of The Meaning Of Friendship (Palgrave Macmillan,£9.99 ). ‘You don’t have to delete their phone number, but stop thinking of them as friends and rather as people you once knew. Putting them into a different category liberates you from feeling you have to speak to them regularly,’ he says. ‘And being honest about your relationships means you can spend more time on those you actually enjoy. ‘

3. ASSESS YOUR RELATIONSHIP

‘You can’t fix any sources of stress until you identify them properly. Think about three areas of your relationship that aren’t working as you’d like, and that, if improved, would ease some of you stress,’
suggests Relate relationship counsellor, Paula Hall. ‘Mark them out of ten, then think about what you can do to improve each score by just one point. It’s unrealistic to aim for ten straight away and only puts you under more pressure. Start with small steps – like having a chat about his interfering mum. Lots of small changes add up to bigger, long-term results.’

4. FOCUS ON THE PRESENT

Experts at Harvard University say true happiness comes living in the moment, while reminiscing and even forward planning can make us miserable. ‘Developing an awareness of the present, known as “mindfulness”, encourages you to separate yourself from your whirring mind,’ says GP and mental health expert Dr Jonty Heaversedge, co-author of The Mindful Manifesto (Hay House,£10.99). ‘Start by noticing your surroundings, how the sun feels on your skin. Focusing on your senses and feelings brings you back to the present, giving your mind space to think pragmatically.’

5. SWAP G&T FOR PAPER AND PEN

‘It’s easy to let a few glasses of wine at the end of a stressful day become your automatic “off switch” from difficult emotions,’ says Georgia Foster, author of The Drink Less Mind (Foster Publishing, £17.99). ‘The problem is, alcohol can make you feel even more anxious the following day. Instead, try to think about logical solutions for your stressful situation.’ On a piece of paper, list the three things that are causing you the most stress at the moment, then write down potential solutions. The result? Stress: zero. Self control: one.


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2 Responses to “5 Steps To Break Your Stress Cycle”

  1. Long Longman says:

    Amazing composition. Sustain up the amazing performance.

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