Stress Management Plan
Living a stress-free life is not a reasonable goal. The goal is to deal with life actively and effectively. I believe I have more control over myself than I believe I do. The simple realization that I am in control of my life is the foundation of stress management. I believe that managing stress consists of taking charge of my thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way I deal with problems. Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in my life. My most prevalent stressors include financial, nutritional, lack of relationship and children, work, school, daily hassles, perfectionistic, always in a hurry, and too much to do. I am going to begin writing in a journal to help me identify the regular stressors in my life and the way in which I deal with them. Each time I feel stressed, I will try to write it down, keep track of it, and look for patterns and themes. It is important to know what causes my stress, how it makes me feel physically and emotionally, how I act in response, and what I do to make myself feel better. There are many ways that I currently manage and cope with stress in my life. Some of my coping strategies are healthy and helpful, while others are unhealthy and unproductive. Some of my most common coping strategies include shopping, overeating, drinking too much caffeine, smoking cigarettes, tanning, watching television, and spending time with my parents and friends. Some of my coping strategies temporarily reduce stress, but cause more damage in the long run. It is important for me to use methods of coping with stress that contribute to my greater emotional and physical health, although that is easier said than done. To learn healthier ways to manage and cope with stress, I can either change the situation or change my reaction. No single
method works for everyone or in every situation. I am going to experiment with different techniques and strategies and focus on what makes me feel calm and in control. Not all stress can be avoided, and it is not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. However, I realize that there are some stressors in my life that I can eliminate. For example, it is important for me to learn how to say “no” and feel okay about it. It is important that I know my limits and stick to them. In my personal and professional life, I am going to try to refuse to accept added responsibilities because I have reached my limit. Taking on more than I can handle is almost a guarantee for added stress. If possible, I will try to avoid people who stress me out. For example, I have a lifelong friend who is a functioning alcoholic and her actions and behaviors drive me crazy when I am around her. I am going to limit the time I spend with her, as her disease has gotten increasingly worse in the past few years. I am going to take control of my environment and avoid hot topics such as religion and politics as much as possible. I have friends with whom I repeatedly argue about the same topics. These conversations make me anxious and most of the time it is difficult for me to put my two cents in because they control the conversations. I may try to excuse myself when these topics are up for discussion. It is also important for me to analyze my schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks and distinguish the “shoulds” and “musts.” If tasks are not truly necessary, I will put them toward the bottom of my list or eliminate them entirely. If I cannot avoid a stressful situation, I will try to alter it and figure out what I can do to change things so the problem does not present itself in the future. This involves changing the way I communicate and operate in my daily life. One way this can be done is by expressing
my feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering me, I will try to communicate my concerns in an open and...