Instead of letting anxiety take the best of you, adopt these simple ways for a calm and happy life, says life coach Karmel Nair
I once had a client who came for a solution to what he felt was social anxiety. As I coached him, I realised that the cause of his problem was something else entirely. It was not social anxiety, neither was it peer pressure at work, which he believed to be the cause. It wasn’t his boss either. I delved deeper into the concern and after a substantial amount of discussion, came to understand his real problem – stress. I was not surprised. Stress can reveal itself in several ways and in the case of my client, it emerged under the guises of anxiety, fear, panic, occasional phases of depression due to loneliness and even feelings of loss or defeat.
In today’s fast-paced world, there’s no denying that stress is a part and parcel of everyone’s life. And how this “state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances” – as described by the Oxford dictionary – is perceived, differs form one person to another. While some think of it as non-existent, others are completely taken over by it. According to me, the best way to address this problem, is to focus on managing stress levels better which, in turn, ushers in relief, peace of mind and respite in your life.
Following are a few simple steps that will help you to cope with stress:
This is the first step in managing stress. Accept stress; there is nothing wrong in it. At some point or the other in your life, stress will crop up and lead to its ancillary emotions of fear, worry, panic, apprehension or even depression. But before you deal with stress, you need to look at it as something that has a cure and not as one whose existence needs to be denied.
When we face an adverse situation, most often our first tendency is to get scared, upset and, thereby, stressed. Looking at a tough scenario in a positive way can, however, help lower stress levels. The best way to approach this is to try and visualise the worst that can come from the situation at hand, analyse the outcome and act accordingly. Also try to look for the positive aspects that emanate from the circumstances and you will come up with some brilliant revelations which, as you continue practicing the exercise, will turn into a good lifestyle habit.
Once you have accepted that stress exists, begin to notice its effects on you. What happens when you get stressed? Do you get angry or lose your calm? Do you start shaking or get negative and self-harming thoughts? Do you feel like screaming, walking away or adopting avoidance technique? Observe these reactions and you will realise that your breath becomes faster, your thoughts run wild, you begin to fumble when you speak and may feel weak, tired or simply sad for no reason at all. This is the time to stop them and the best, and most effective, way to do it is to simply say ‘no’, immediately. Say it aloud or in your mind, but do so the moment you become aware of stress taking over you.
Stress Release Talk
Find a confidante, friend, guru, therapist or coach who will simply hear you out. During my practice, I have come to realise that most clients only need to hear their voices loud and clear. Once they hear themselves out loud, they understand the problem and come up with solutions; I only help them attain the end result. You must speak out – loud and clearly – about what is stressing or troubling you. When you hear yourself speak, you will feel lighter, get more clarity and will look at your problem more objectively.
It is very important to give yourself some alone time. You can indulge in anything that you love to do – any activity that brings you happiness – be it reading, cooking, working out, pursuing a hobby or simply walking your dog. This time will energise you and help de-stress. However, for this exercise to bear fruit, you must do this at least four times a week.
The author is a certified life coach and the views expressed here are her own