Last time I talked about how to do a stress diary. This helps to identify the sources of stress in our lives. Then as we examine the diary we can begin to understand what changes we can make. Taking responsibility for reducing our stress levels can be very important for us. One way of doing this is to begin to say ‘no’ to the demands of others. Sometimes one needs to be careful doing this, particularly if it is your boss at work, but there are often ways of saying ‘no’ to additional commitments. If we like to please people learning to say ‘no’ can be quite difficult, but it can be very important for our well-being.
Dealing with stress can also mean addressing difficult relationships. Other people can treat us in ways that can result in major stress for us. Talking these issues through with the person concerned can be important. We might need occasionally need help from others to deal with this stress.
DEALING WITH STRESS CAN BE A NEW START- LIKE SNOWDROPS IN THE SNOW HERALDING THE SPRING
People can become stressed if they have a tendency towards perfectionism. If we don’t achieve one hundred per cent we feel under stress-alternatively, if we can learn to accept good but not perfect standards, this can help us to feel less stressed, but this is not easy.
Finally, we may need to accept certain stresses like the stress of learning to drive a car. Here the reward of passing the test is worth the stress of the learning process- similarly the stress of learning so we can pass an exam. We actually become stronger in our lives by accepting and dealing with stress.
In my book, Mindful of the Light-practical help and spiritual hope for mental health I discuss further ways of dealing with stress.