If a stress was a beast, what would you do? Tame it, run away or poison it?

The search for stress managing ways and cures is ongoing.  One thing is for certain, “the run away” version does not work, it will catch up with you, and the “poison” version is rather extreme, there are always side effects.

Let us consider the “tame” option. Learning how to recognise signs of stress and establishing  discipline to control it might be quite liberating.  Our well-being determines our way of life –  personal and professional.

Unfortunately stress is still on increase. The latest figures demonstrate that people of different occupations show high level of stress, employed and self-employed. You can check the information here – Labour Source Survey gives alarming figures. *

Let us talk about you and self-help without further ado. Generally, everyone encounters stressful situations on almost daily basis. Quite often people under stress blame circumstances, responsibilities, duties, deprivations… less energy and vicious circle.

How to break that vicious circle? Who will break it for us?

We’ll consider the option of “taming the beast ” in this blog, putting some discipline and energy into thinking patterns.

  1. Park it. 

Most of us drive a car and park it overnight.

We leave the car and getting on with our activities, not running and checking it every 5 minutes if it is still there. You lead your normal life, work or play while the car is parked and left.

Shall we do similar exercise with some of our problems – park them for some time and come back when they need our attention and it is time to drive. What is good about those breaks? You give your brain an opportunity to rest, to observe something different and to resolve different things.

Returning to the issue, which stresses you,  after a break can give a different perspective and extra energy to work on it.

In “taming” terms – may the beast wait for us.

  1. Awareness & responsibility

We are in the 21 century. Are we becoming wiser and stronger with our coping strategies?

Back to “taming the beast” – we have to face it, not neglect it.

A few years ago, I travelled to Kenya and visited Masai Mara. Masai society is strongly patriarchal in nature and live with old age laws, traditions and rules. Their attitude to health and well-being is strict – it is a personal responsibility of each member of the tribe, from early age. Our Masai guide showed us massive variety of  herbs and shrubs they use for different ailments and illnesses.  As Fred explained: one of the rules was – if a person gets ill, does not look after himself and dies, they do not ever bury that person. They throw the body outside their dwelling to be eaten by wild animals. He was so proud of the fact that due to those rigid standards his tribe was growing and prosper.

The young Masai warrior conviction of that responsibility was really impressive and to hear that in the the middle of the wild savanna was truly memorable.

(Though I wondered if it was true or myth, and as I researched later – actual burial is reserved for chiefs as a sign of respect, while the common people are simply left outdoors for predators to dispose of, since Masai believe dead bodies are harmful to the earth. I prefer Masai warrior’s story – so much pride in it!)

Our lives are more comfortable than in Masai village, hence my referral to the 21 century. If we assess the variety of tools and devices at out disposal to look after our health, we do have obvious advantages. Should we still put our health and well-being as a priority?

If it was not until now, change it – make your well-being a priority – be aware of your ups and downs. Don’t wait for the right time, take responsibility to do something differently – not be eaten by that “wild animal” stress.

  1. Social aspect.

We all have different ways of communicating, so how best to address the social aspect in the right way. On one hand, we do not like to complain and moan, and on another hand, it is dangerous trap to withhold and suffer alone.

This one goes quite well with “taming”.

I will never forget my dear friend Alina and her incredible coping strategy. It was the dreadful cancer and everything what goes with that illness. She would cover the illness, the pain and tell me how bad it was – for about 10 minutes, and then she would move talking about other matters. It is out there, not hidden, whatever was requires was in motion, and the life was going on. I so admired her for that strength and bravery.

The point I am making – we can talk, moan, and complain for a certain time. It is absolutely fine if we take actions after. Those actions can be as simple as going for a walk, or do something with what you can right now, as long as the process has started… the wheels are moving. The famous W. Churchill saying – “If you’re going through hell, keep going” has a solid basis. To be stuck, to be frozen is a danger zone. Notice and make a move to revive yourself.

These steps are simple to imply, be determined in self-support and helping others.

If you look at stress now, does it look manageable? Maybe less harmful and wild?

By being aware how much you can change is a good start to mastering other stress coping techniques.

Read my other blog to check the six thinking errors that can be unhelpful and change them into more empowering thinking patterns.

* Labour Source Survey

The total number of cases of work related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 was 526,000, a prevalence rate of 1,610 per 100,000 workers. This was not statistically significantly different from the previous period. The rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety has remained broadly flat but has shown some fluctuations.

The number of new cases was 236,000, an incidence rate of 720 per 100,000 workers.

By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as healthcare workers; teaching professionals; business, media and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.