Though new situations invite positive and interesting opportunities, they can also open doors to stress. When one must adapt, cope or adjust to these new changes, physical and mental health can be affected. Prabphanit Doowa suggests four tips to help manage and cope with stress.
STEP 1: Determine what stresses you out!
Before coping with stress, it’s important to understand how you stress. Are you tired? Feeling irritable? Having difficulty concentrating?
Stress is experienced and managed individually as not everyone goes through the same situation. The most efficient way of coping is to know what stresses you out, so you can either remove yourself from the situation or find a way to combat what you’re facing. Habits such as smoking, drinking, over or under eating, can invoke further stress as well. So if you’re able to determine the source of your mental dismay, you will also learn how to get past it. This isn’t an overnight process, but a reflective one. Take your time to get to know yourself and your habits, because only then will you be able to improve your health.
STEP 2: Ways you can reduce stress
Now that you understand how you stress, you can find appropriate ways to manage your anxiety. Remember, it’s not about controlling or suppressing it, but overcoming it instead. It’s also best to tackle one behaviour at a time. If you’re sure that a specific activity causes you to feel uneasy or uncomfortable, address that issue first before tackling other problems in your life.
Everyone deals with chaos differently so consider healthy stress-reducing activities that tackle one problem at a time. Perhaps try yoga
if you are a tempered stressor, or writing and listening to music if you’re juggling too many extroverted activities. Some “me time” might also do you good. Old habits die hard so don’t try to take on too much at one go. First solve the pressing issue in front of you and use these positive activities to calm you.
Never underestimate the power of positive self-talk. Everyone talks to themselves. Some people more than others, but whether you’re doing it out loud or in your head, you’re generally having an ongoing conversation with yourself. So why not make it a positive one? Try changing your negative thoughts into positive ones. You might be surprised at how beneficial it can be. Instead of telling yourself “I can’t do this,” change your words to “I’ll do the best I can.” The simple alteration in words can completely change your attitude. Instead of saying “everything is going wrong,” try “I can handle things if I take one step at a time.” Your positive self-talk will affect your behaviour for the better. And, the best part is that by doing this, you can help yourself without being dependent on someone to change your mood for you.
- Take up an old or new hobby
- Read something you usually wouldn’t
- Go for a run or play a sport
- Sew or knit
- Watch an old movie
- Play cards or board games
- Meet family and friends
- Start a scrapbook
- Count to 10 before you speak
- Take three to five deep breaths
- Go for a walk
- Redo your room
- Set your watch five to 10 minutes ahead to avoid being late
- Cook something healthy for yourself
- Hug a loved one
- Consider self-meditation
STEP 4: Seek support
A lot of people think that they have to deal with their stress alone. That’s not always the case! People can be as great stress-relievers as they can be causers. You just have to find the right people to be around. It can be tough to open up to others about your life, but holding things inside can cause further stress. It’s best to get it out than keep it in. If talking to a friend or a loved one is too much for you, open up to a stranger. Talking to strangers gives you perspective and insight that you may not be able to get from someone you know well. Seeking support isn’t a sign of weakness but of strength. You care about yourself enough to want to help yourself.
Though what you feel may be different, the circumstances you’re facing may be familiar to others. Masala asks various kinds of people dealing with all sorts of problems about how they combat their stress. Perhaps there’s someone you can relate to!
Starting a new job at McKinsey & Company Thailand, Adarsh Narang
“Balancing between a demanding internship, my last semester at university and my CFA level 1 exam has been intense. It has led to an immense workload and pressure on my shoulders. I dealt with this situation the same way I have always dealt with other stressful circumstances – by running outdoors. Running makes one mentally as well as physically stronger and instills a sense of discipline too. As long as I can fit a run into my daily schedule, I’ll be okay.”
Former IB student, Ammika Singhsachakul
“I made sure that I kept up with things that I enjoyed, like dancing, reading and peer tutoring, as these activities kept me relaxed and also gave me something to look forward to once I completed an assignment. I also found it extremely useful to create short to-do lists that I could decorate, which would give me the satisfaction of crossing out as I went along with each challenge that came with IB.”
Undergraduate student in Australia, Ruksana Narang
“I do get homesick at times and in order to deal with that, I constantly surround myself with my loving friends who have now become my family here in Sydney. I have a good group of friends who are also from Bangkok and I meet up with them regularly, which really helps. I get stressed extremely easily and honestly, communication for me is the key in dealing with stress.”
Working mother living in Guam, Rasmeet sachdej
“Being away from loved ones is always difficult but having an extremely supportive husband has made this life change completely worth it. My husband has held my hand and become my strength in everything I do. We help each other through all of our challenges which includes raising our daughter together, while we both pursue our careers. He never lets me doubt my parenting skills and trusts that I know what is best for her. Communication is a priority in our relationship. My family and my in-laws are the pillars in my life. They have made me stronger and helped me make Guam my home.”
New housewife living in Sweden, Rashmeen Doowa
“When it’s time to move away from home, that’s when you value what’s left behind the most. What I try to do is stay positive and do things that keep me moving. I like being active and trying different outdoor activities and sports. Other days I practice learning Swedish or I am busy reading books in the library or the parks because it’s so beautiful in the summer. I started cooking recently and that’s been calming.”