Get a Life by Destroying Stress

Published on May 31, 2014

We all face stress in our lives. When stress kicks in, we may become vulnerable. We coop ourselves and refuse to talk about it. Depression may slip and slide in and make us feel physically and emotionally drained and tired. We may express our stressed in different ways. Some of us may choose to be alone instead of hanging out with our friends. We may find ourselves crying more often, or even losing our patience ever more than before. Physically, we may become very tense in our muscles, suffer from sleeplessness, or even loose our appetite. Symptoms usually differ from individuals to individuals based on their environment, health, and general state of inner-being.

When we are unable to cope with our stress by our own means, we may confide in some well-meaning friends who tried to tell us to snap out of it. But may we often walk away from those conversations feeling absolutely disheartened as it just seemed so hard to “snap-out” of it.

But YOU can have more control than what you might think. Our feelings often stemmed from our thoughts, whether in form of destructive or constructive thinking pattern. In controlling what your mind wants to think and how you want to feel, you will be in-charge of your thoughts and feelings. The fact that each human being can be empowered to consciously choose how we want to think and feel is the basis of stress management.

On the other hand, most of us are not as optimistic in the face of these challenges. We find every possible opportunity to escape challenges. And if we are unable to find a way of escape, we will eventually suppress our unhappiness and fear. We feel that we are at the mercy of others, and the situations around us. If these situations are short-term, we are often able to move on in our lives after the situations are dissolved or changed. However, some situations tend to be longer term, like continual pressure from parents to do better, pressure from peers to conform, pressure from self to exceed own expectations, an illness that befalls you, increasing work performance requirements from employers, etc. These long term situations are often harder to manage. And if we are unable to work through them, our stress will compound and become increasingly harder for us to live out a quality and happy life.

So what can we do to move on in these challenges?

Understand that You Have Been A Conqueror
Many of us feel that we are stuck in our present situation and that it is simply too hard or impossible to deal with our situation. But can you recall a time in the past that you have successfully managed stress or pressure? For example, even though it was stressful in your previous school-leaving exams, you managed to take the exams and passed the papers. In believing that you can be a conqueror in the face of stress is a great foundation to stress management.

Have Your Own Personal Time, No Matter How Short It May Be
We all need our personal moments to reflect, recharge or simply just to relax. You do not need to take an entire day off if you cannot afford to. Take a 30 minutes’ walk on your own if you enjoy walking down the park or beach. Or perhaps taking some personal time at a local coffee place to just enjoy a cup of drink or read a book. Select something that you enjoy doing because you deserve it.

Identify Your Thoughts Pattern
Stress can be caused by many different situations. Especially in situations that are beyond your control – you will need to first identify what you truly think about the situation. For example, if you are given a difficult work assignment. Ask yourself what you think about being given this piece of assignment. Are you feeling fearful because you felt you are not up to your task? Are you concerned that if you do not do this assignment well – you might be not given a good grade at your work appraisal? If it helps, take out a piece of paper and write on it your thoughts in a form of a flow-chart. You will begin to see how one thought can be lead to another.

Construct Alternative Thoughts
If you have identified your thought patterns, you will begin to see that a negative thought will often lead to another negative thought or feeling. An alternative constructive thought will help to guide you out of your negative feelings. We do not want to be unrealistic in constructive positive thoughts. For example, if you are given a work assignment that is beyond your training and skills. An unrealistic possible thought is to think that you can complete the work well with no problems or external help. A possible constructive thought is to ask “What are the gaps in my skills or knowledge required to complete the task?”, and decide whether the gap can be filled by additional training that you require, or a team player that can assist you in the project.

Mingle with Constructive Friends/Family Members
While you are beginning to see some results of constructive positive thought patterns in your life. Be on the lookout for people who are positive too. Peers or family members who are negative can further add on to your stress no matter how well their intentions may be in the first place. Mingle with those whom you see are genuinely happy people. These people tend to be willing to share how they go through life challenges and can be great inspirations for you.

Count Your Blessings
Life can throw a lot of challenges at us. And our long-term stress-causing situations may not change for the better. However, as you begin to look at these situations in a different light, you will eventually begin to count your blessings in ways big or small. Even things that you took for granted before begin to appear as a blessing to cheer you on. Had a nice meal recently? Had a person who cares for you by helping you in task?

Try these recommendations  and you will begin to see that stress may not be as bad as you think it is. If you or someone that you know of is in a pro-longed or serious degree of stress and are unable to cope well to the extend of their own personal safety and well-being - do seek professional help through a professional counsellor or family physician. A well-trained professional will be able to offer the relevant help that is appropriate for the person(s).

Article is written and contributed by
Willy Ho,

Founder, Lead Counsellor
The Counselling Paradigm

Category(s):Stress Management

Written by:


counsellingparadigm belongs to The Counselling Paradigm in Singapore