29th December 2017

In a blog adapted from a chapter of one of her books, Kelly Swingler tells us why, although stress feels like a normal state of affairs these days, it doesn’t have to be that way:

You’ve got a lot going on in your life. You’re always busy, always rushing around and always trying to squeeze in one more thing. You never have any time for yourself and find yourself wondering how you will ever get everything done. Your stress levels are at a constant high. And when you talk about how stressed you are with your family, friends or colleagues they respond by telling you just how stressed they are too.

We rarely give ourselves time to switch off anymore, to just sit or sleep or simply be. It’s become normal to be constantly busy and stressed.

But it doesn’t have to be like this.

When something becomes a habit we start to notice it less and less and it just becomes part of our normal experience.

But stress doesn’t have to be normal. You don’t have to put up with this feeling or get used to it if it is making you unhappy.

If you work out why you feel stressed and which areas of your life make you feel stressed you can take action to change your behaviour and your reactions.

For instance, a friend of mine was experiencing issues with high blood pressure and she was asked to monitor it. Through this she realised that it was higher on the days she worked but not while she was in the office. She enjoyed her work but got stressed on the journey to and from work. It wasn’t the job, it was the journey. She changed to a route which took a little longer but it was less stressful and she started to enjoy the journey more. Her blood pressure reduced because of this.

Can you pinpoint the times when your stress levels are at their highest, or the situations in which you feel most unhappy by monitoring your body’s responses? Perhaps you feel a flutter in your stomach, your shoulders might tense, you might grind your jaw, crack your knuckles, reach for food, sleep more, sleep less, shout at people or withdraw. Use these to identify the things you most need to change and then use the advice in the appropriate chapters of this book to tackle them.

Stress doesn’t have to be your normal.

This blog post is adapted from a chapter of “What’s Your Excuse for Not Overcoming Stress?” – if you found it useful you can buy the book here

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