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How to effectively deal with stress

education Updated: Jul 20, 2011 10:50 IST
Samir Parikh
Samir Parikh
Hindustan Times
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Stress has become an integral part of our everyday lives. Be it an adolescent or an adult, stress seems to have become a common, unifying denominator, even though its sources and causes may vary. It is very important to find ways to cope with stress and ensure our growth and development on the path of success, both in our personal and professional lives.

1 Know your strengths and weaknesses: Have a good understanding of what your strengths are. Utilise these to succeed at what you do. Also, be aware of your weaknesses so that you are able to avoid the pitfalls associated with them and can also work upon them to transform them to strengths.

2 Prepare for change in life: Change is a part of our lives. It is a fact of life and one that we all need to accept and embrace and work with. The acceptance of this fact makes it easier to cope with stress as we then know and understand that things would change.

3 Be organised: Take a preventive approach. Why put additional pressure and stress on yourself by going beyond the time constraints? Try and work within the limits that time places upon you. Be better organised and do tasks according to a schedule so that they get accomplished on time.

4 Have a good social support system: Social support can act as a good way to handle stress. It is essential to have people around you who provide the right kind of support.

At the same time, these individuals should be those one can turn to not just for support but who also act like the devil’s advocate, helping you look at situations from all perspectives and making you think for yourself as well.

5 Be assertive: Being assertive does not mean becoming aggressive and unreasonable. Put forth your opinions and the way you want to do things with conviction while backing yourself up with the right evidence.

6 Work on healthy communication: Don’t bottle up. Becoming secluded and withdrawing into a shell does not help. Instead, have good, healthy communication.

Discussing things and having open channels of communication which allow for feedback and refutation enable one to be able to look at different sides of a matter and thus cope more effectively.

7 Have a healthy lifestyle: Sleep well, eat well, exercise. Being healthy and having a good lifestyle are very essential. These are the basics of trying to ensure that one is physically in a position to be able to cope with the different stressors that may exist in the environment.

8 Take breaks: Breaks are an absolute must. They not just rejuvenate the mind and body but give a good physical and mental break from the monotony of the things one engages in.

9 Be a problem-solver: Learn to take a proactive approach to the problems that confront you. It is imperative that you try and tackle problems. Develop an attitude of trying to resolve issues rather than running away from them or trying to push the responsibility for the same on to someone else’s shoulders.

10 Take help when needed: Always remember help is always at hand. Be it the help of adults around you, in the form of teachers and parents or in the form of your peers or that of counsellors or other professionals, take it when needed. It is not a sign of weakness, rather reflects the understanding you have of your own self.

The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare

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