The best magazine
How To Reduce Stress... Permanently
Stress relief is big business nowadays. People are coming under increasing workplace stress. The effects of it on industry in terms of health care, illness, days off, reduced productivity and accidents are difficult to calculate globally, but were estimated at more than $300 billion per annum in the USA back in 2004. And that was a conservative estimate! Since then, the costs of stress have escalated as people have come under increasing pressure from their hectic lives and the stress reduction business has boomed.
To meet the varied demands, a huge variety of relaxation techniques have been developed ranging from gentle techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, gentle stretching and meditation through to the more active methods including vigorous exercise and social networking. As a result, stress relief is more widely researched, available and sought out than ever before.
And yet all of these techniques do nothing to actually get rid of your stress. Instead, they provide a transitory feel good factor which evaporates when you return to real life. As soon as you finish your Tai Chi class and return to the office, you will still have to face that uncompromising boss, business proposal or tough client meeting, which put the knots in your stomach in the first place.
To get rid of this sort of stress, you will probably need to change your job. Or you could go for something less drastic.
If you really want to deal with your stress long term, you need to tackle it from a whole different perspective.
When under stress, everyone experiences the same biochemical and hormonal responses within their bodies. And whilst a sabre toothed tiger attack in prehistoric times would doubtless have produced the same flight or fight response in all of us, the largely psychological pressures we find ourselves under these days do not evoke the same response in everyone. In short, what stresses you might spur me on or leave me totally indifferent. And this gives us a way to tackle stress for the long term, for good.
Stress is what you perceive it to be. So if you want to reduce your stress levels permanently, the only way to do this is to change your perceptions of what is stressful.
One of the best ways to do this is to use positive affirmations. These are positive statements which help you see the situation differently. For example, you might get stressed from the uncertainty of a new situation at work. In this case, you might use an affirmation like "I embrace the opportunity of change" or "change will allow me to improve myself." Whatever you choose, it must be a positive statement which resonates with you. Write it out. Stick copies of it on the refrigerator, the mirror, your computer screen, anywhere in fact. Read it and repeat it out loud several times a day. Over time, you will internalise your positive affirmation and you will no longer feel stressed by the change at work.
Stop using temporary fixes. Change your perspective if you want real long term results. Learn to interpret stressful situations positively using positive affirmations and you will reduce your stress permanently.