How to Control Your Stress Level Before it Controls You


This article is not about eliminating your stress level but rather taking steps to manage it before it crosses over the line and becomes distressful. Normal stress is part of life, a wedding, a new job, birth of your children and subsequently raising them. Stress is connected with change and change is all around us every day. What we will be talking about here however is the stress that is seemingly overwhelming and which adversely affects your rational thinking ability.

How does the stress experienced  day in, day out, reach such a point that it begins to adversely affect your physical, emotional and psychological health?  Regardless of whether or not you are consciously aware of your feelings or in a perpetual state of denial, the effects will wear you down. Therefore,  let’s examine some of the ways you can begin to control your stress before it takes control of you. The following is not an all inclusive list of strategies you may want to consider implementing. However, hopefully this list can get you to think about handling your stress in different ways.

  1. Keep your life as simple as is realistic.  Life has a way of ambushing you from the outside with unpredicted stressors.  In addition, much stress you can be created by yourself. To counteract this way of living, learn how to distinguish between the significant few and the insignificant many and begin to focus on those truly relevant and important things in your life.
  2. Be careful not to be mesmerized by the TV news. It is geared to capture your attention and viewership. But often, it bombards you with negativism and results in you’re feeling stressed and upset by your own sense of powerlessness.
  3. Take control of your own life, rather than giving up your personal worth by ruminating with negative self talk and/or being fixated on other people who influence how you think and act.
  4. Identify specifically those patterns in your life that result in you’re not feeling good about yourself and who you want to be. Next, on a daily basis, work on one identified pattern at a time. Focusing on those things that will make you feel good about yourself is much more effective than repeating over and over those things that do not.
  5. Learn to say “No” without feeling guilty.  The list can feel endless of those people out there who will go to you to fulfill their needs. The result is that your needs don’t get appropriately met because you just don’t have enough time.  The results are feelings of being overwhelmed and distressed.
  6. Remember the basics… Eat right, get appropriate amount of sleep and regularly exercise. In addition, you need to treat as a priority,  having fun regularly and having it with other people. There are loads of information out there on each one of these topics.  One shoe does not fit all.  So make sure you find what works best for you.  Consult the literature, seek out professionals in the field and experiment with different options until you find what works best for you.

As stated, this list is not all inclusive. You, the reader may have other ways in which you have been able to deal effectively with distress in your life.  If so, I encourage you to share them and I will make it a point of to share it with readers in future articles.  As always, readers are encouraged to write in with comments, suggestions and questions to