By Essie Bester
This is how to relieve tension and that feeling of being overwhelmed
There are times when stress has a positive impact that can spur you on to top achievements, but there also are times that it interferes with how we feel, how we live and how well we sleep at night.
Stress can prevent us from thinking clearly and can cause us to act reactively instead of planning ahead. In addition, neuro-scientific research shows that such experiences can change one’s brain. Fortunately new thoughts and behaviour can create new brain paths. Therefore, simply training your brain to focus your attention elsewhere can help you to react in new ways.
Use the following five techniques to start relieving your tension and regaining your balance:
- Determine how happy you are with the different aspects of your life.
Given your objectives, responsibilities and challenges ─ how can you move away from being overwhelmed to greater balance, fulfilment, productivity and wellbeing?
The ten pillars of a balanced life include areas such as profession, finances, physical environment, spirituality, intimacy, family, social support, fun and playing, growing and learning, home and office, as well as total life satisfaction.
Explore each area separately. Use a scale from 1 to 10 to identify your level of satisfaction with each. Express your degree of satisfaction in each area in one word or sentence. Which area needs your attention? In what area of your life could a small change improve your sense of wellbeing?
- Determine what is most important to you.
Sometimes everything looks important and your to-do list seems never-ending. Choose your priorities.
The following questions can help you refine your priorities:
How do you currently make the best use of your time?
Which tasks will bring you closer to your desired outcome?
Which tasks will help you to reinforce your relationships and connections?
Which tasks, if left undone, would have considerable negative consequences and which not?
Draw up a priority list. Take a few moments every day or week to evaluate your progress. Move on from there.
- Remind yourself that your expectations should be realistic.
Unrealistic expectations can make you feel overwhelmed, tense and exhausted and compromise your efficiency.
Look at your to-do list and ask yourself:
What can I realistically expect of myself, given that there are only 24 hours to a day?
Will this task make a difference in a week’s, a month’s or a year’s time?
Given my priorities, what is important now? What can wait? What can I scrap or ask somebody else to do?
Is there a lesser expectation or objective that will meet my requirement while still satisfying me?
How can I achieve it, even if it will take a bit longer? Perhaps I could clean the garage in stages or take fewer subjects per semester.
Instead of trying to do everything by yourself, ask for help and accept it. People’s readiness to help will surprise you.
If you acknowledge the goodness in your life, it will help you to handle misfortune in your life and experience more positive emotions. Showing gratefulness every day can help you to change over from an attitude of being overwhelmed to a more positive outlook on life.
Try the following: Reflect on that for which you are grateful today or on what went well ─ think of three to five things. It will help if you write it down and be specific.