As we move into 2018, each and every one of us will hope for a new year that is filled with pleasant moments, experiences and-- most importantly--is stress free. The experience of stress is a global phenomena affecting both our work and personal lives. Forty four percent of Americans reported frequently experiencing stress in a 2017 Gallup survey. In another survey carried out on 372 participants in Asia Pacific (i.e. China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore) stress was found to be the number one leading workforce risk. Stress isn’t limited to adults; children and teens also report feeling stressed out. We know that stress won’t magically disappear from our lives, but we can learn to effectively cope with it rather than trying to avoid any circumstances that causes it.
John Kabat-Zinn, the founding director of the renowned Stress Reduction Clinic once said, “You can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”Whilst we may not be able to get rid of stress we can learn ways to surf it. Here are some psychologically proven tips you can apply to minimize the impact of stress and surf the waves that may come upon you in the new year.
1. Make friends with your stress
Kelly McGonigal a Health Psychologist at Stanford University and a thought leader in this topic shares that people who view stress as a positive experience are less stressed out, less anxious and more confident than those who viewed stress negatively. The next time you are stressed, think of how the experience of stress is providing your body with more energy and preparing you well for the challenge at hand.
2. Look at the glass half-full
People who have a positive outlook of life, even during times of difficulty or stressful situations experience better health and are able to bounce back from negative situations much quicker than those see things negatively. When going through a stressful situation think of the areas in the situation which are helping you, working well for you and could be of benefit to you.
3. Prioritize exercise into your routines
At the University of Basel, the fitness levels and ability to cope with stress of 200 employees were examined. It was found that workers who had high fitness levels were better able to cope with stress and had much lower levels of factors contributing to heart disease than those who had medium or low fitness levels. Take steps to include exercise into your daily routine and improve on your fitness level by increasing your intensity level when playing sports or exercising.
4. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness means to stay present to what is happening in the moment without judgement. Mindfulness is taught as a stress reduction technique in many hospitals, schools and organisations around the world including companies like Google and Facebook. Being present to one’s emotions, thoughts and experiences during stressful time have been found to greatly reduce stress levels. At Intel participants reported a two-point decrease (on a scale of one to 10) in stress and feeling overwhelmed when they completed a mindfulness program. The next time you’re stressed, rather than "fixing" it take a few minutes to become aware of the sensations in your body, the thoughts running through your head and the emotions you feel non-judgementally.
Stress is inevitable and we will face stressors in our life whether it is at work, in our relationships or with our health. It's not something we can avoid but it is something we can manage and surf the waves in 2018!
*This article was first published in Forbes >> click here
Bhali Gill is a Psychologist (org), Coach, Trainer and Founder of Corporate Wellbeing. She coaches individuals and leaders to overcome the challenges they face at work and in life, to reach their personal and professional potential. Her work involves inner-transformation, and becoming more of who you are. She also works with organisations to improve their productivity through employee’s mental and emotional well-being, and self-empowerment programs. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org