November 2nd, 2022 was International Stress Awareness Day, as the International Stress Management Association declared. Many people find this time of year to be the most stressful with approaching holiday commitments. What contributes to this stress?
Stress shows up when the demands of a situation exceed the available resources to meet them. Time, money, energy, and emotional availability are all resources needed to address day-to-day concerns.
Stress is a natural feeling from time to time. Its role is to put us on high alert to meet demands. It is designed to be short-lived and subside once the stressor is eliminated. In the past, our known stressors involved hunter-gatherer situations where we were potentially facing starvation or being chased by a predator. The immediate threat of survival was the primary stressor. The danger was in the present, either resolved by overcoming the stressor or losing the battle.
Although our present-day threats of stress are still indirectly related to survival, the stressor link isn’t as straightforward or as apparent as it had been in earlier human experiences. With the societal shifts and the development of technology, we are constantly multi-tasking, receiving notifications, and juggling many responsibilities at a time. Such burdens create an “open loop” in our mind where the brain constantly thinks about all these issues until they are “resolved.” As we’re always worried about several things at once, the “open loop” is never closed, making it hard to relax and contributing to the ongoing battle with stress.
How can you become better at managing stress?
Acknowledge your stress:
Recognizing that you are experiencing stress at the moment helps you validate your experience. Labeling stress is beneficial for regulating your emotions and deciding your following action.
Compartmentalize your stress:
Make a written list and prioritize it.
This helps you focus on the most critical “open item” at the time so you can filter out any less significant stressors, making them more manageable. Putting things on paper relieves some of the burden placed on our memory. When things are on paper, we can visualize, strategize and feel more in control.
Break down your “To- do” list tasks into chunks.
Breaking large tasksdown into micro-tasks keeps you present and in the moment. When you are stressed, you lump everything together in an urgent and chaotic way while focusing on the lack of resources available to meet goals. Making micro-tasks gives a more realistic look at each step. These seem more doable and easier to complete, allowing your brain to focus and eliminate overwhelm.
Here are some things to note as you break down your to-do list:
- Keep in mind the time it takes to complete tasks
Imported from Accelerated Resolution Therapy Blog Read More