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What are the most effective Stress Management Techniques?

What is the meaning of stress & stress management? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, Stress means acute worry caused by a challenging situation or something that causes this condition. The term is borrowed from physics concerning pressure, force, and adversity. So, for our brains, stress can look like a real danger. And our brain prepares for primal survival. It also gives a message to our nervous system to prepare our bodies for fight or flight mode.

The mind therapy, stress management

According to WHO, 80% of deaths worldwide are caused by unhealthy lifestyles. Stress is one of the factors of an unhealthy lifestyle. If the stress is prolonged, it increases the risk of mental health. That includes anxiety, depression, addictions, insomnia, and muscle tension. It is therefore essential to manage stress with various stress management techniques to lead a healthy life. 

There are various stress indicators: headache, aching in different body parts, and dehydration. We, as evolved humans, have to prepare our minds to manage stress, not see it as a life-threatening danger. So, stress management is very imperative to survive in the modern world. 

Do you have a Stress Management strategy?

So, do you have a stress management strategy? There are various techniques to manage different types of stress. Managing stress depends on multiple stressors. These stressors include work, relationships, social events, money, and the children. 

Below is the list of stress caused by various stressors and the stress management techniques or strategies.

Work Stress: Job is a big part of our lives. We work for at least five days a week. And spend most of our time in the office. The job can be a big stressor for several reasons. To manage stress at the workplace, JPMR is a very effective technique for stress management.
JPMR (Jacobson’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation) 
Step 1: Put your fingers in the fist  
Step 2: Dig your fingers into the palm 
Step 3: Hold it for 0-10 seconds and 
Step 4: Open slowly.
Stretch your palms, too, and then release
You can also tighten and release the shoulders.
Alternate for the kids: 
Tightly close and open your eyes.
Take in the different colours in the surroundings.
You can use your hands, feet and toes. 
JPMR is best for stress management if it is used during the morning hours.

Social Stress

Many people get overwhelmed in social situations, such as gatherings, parties, celebrations, and networking. To overcome social stress, the grounding technique is the best to use. 
Grounding Technique: (5 4 3 2 1)

5 – What are the five things that I can see around me with different colours?
4 – What are the four different textures I can feel around me? Coarse, smooth, cold, rough.
3 – What are the three different sounds I can hear around me? 
2 – What are the two different fragrances I can smell around me?
1 – What is one thing I can taste around me? (Water)
The grounding technique is best used just before social events for social stress management

Financial Stress Management 

Money can be a significant stressor for many today. How to use money properly?
How to deal and relate with money? The 10-10-10 technique is an effective stress management method.

10-10-10 technique
You need to answer the following questions when you impulse to buy anything.
Will the thing that you are looking to buy impact (positively) your life in
Ten weeks? or maybe ten months. Maybe ten years from now?
If you get two points, check yes, then buy it. Do not buy it if only 0 or 1 out of 3 is yes. 
Detachment from the financial decision is essential. If the spending is addictive, one can go for
different therapies, like DBT and ABT. 

Urge surfing

 One very important term to understand in financial stress management is urge surfing. It’s a technique to avoid acting on the behaviour you want to overcome. 

The wave of impulse buying needs to be observed. Trigger, Rise, Peak, Fall. That is the difference between rational and irrational decisions. It is always better to wait before making the decision. Let that urge subside and see if the need to buy is still there. Let the desire pass. 

Parenting Stress Management:

Children can be a source of great stress for parents. They are a big responsibility.
Parents must be cautious and patient while dealing with children. Stop – Drop – Flop is an amazing stress management technique for parents. 

Technique – Stop – Drop – Flop
: Stop whatever you are doing at that moment.
Drop: Drop the agenda. Whatever you are doing with the kids at that moment 
Flop: Physically move away from the place of conflict. 
For kids: You can ask your kids to make a rectangle with a pencil or a crayon. While they draw the shorter side breathe in; while drawing the longer line. Breathe out. 

These stress management techniques can be used in two halves for parents and kids. One technique was shared by Jake Muise (the founder of Maui Nui) on the Tim Ferris show. His wife uses stress management whenever their kids are throwing tantrums is the Back-in-time method.

Back-in-Time Method:
Step 1.
Whenever you’re feeling frustrated, hurt or disappointed by a loved one, close your eyes. Imagine that you are 80 years old, very vividly. The kids have grown up. Your parents are not there anymore. The health is falling.

Step 2. After this, think you are given a chance to visit back in time. And you can only see this exact moment for 5 minutes.

Step 3. Now Open your eyes as you are an 80-year-old who is travelling at that moment in time. You’ll feel immense gratitude- and quickly overcome whatever caused you the distress. This can be applied to all your near ones – parents, partners and siblings.
When you’re 80, what would you give to be in the present time again?
How would you handle the situation at hand?

Relationship Stress: Conflict with loved ones, especially loved ones, can cause a lot of stress. Mindful awareness is fundamental when it comes to solving relationship stress.

Take a breath in and see if the conflict is immediately solvable; solve it. If not, then do not try to solve it immediately. Sleep with it. 

RAIN Technique: 
Recognize: Take a step back and notice/see the emotions without judgement. You can write it down on paper or a digital note:
“I am feeling: …………..”
Just watch, don’t question, accept. 
Yes, I am angry. I am unloved.

Allow: Allow yourself to feel the emotion without digging deep or justifying the emotion. Just allow yourself to accept the emotion as it is. 

Investigate the place of curiosity. What is going on? What are these emotions trying to tell me? Did I feel this way before? If yes, then why or in which situation I felt this way? 

Nurture: What do I need to do to feel better? How to get to a better place?
Take care of yourself first. 
Have a lower stress level, and then come back to talk. Do not put it under the carpet for the solution. A
healthy relationship needs to solve the conflict rather than avoid it. 
Pause, Slow Down before jumping to solve it. 
Take care of yourself at the moment 
Postpone it but discuss it later, with a calmer perspective. Do not try to resolve the issue from the higher stress state but let yourself cool down and sort it out. 
This technique can be used for stress management in relationships. 

It is very important to manage stress and have these stress management techniques handy to navigate life healthily. We all go through a lot of stress due to different stressors, which can profoundly affect our physical and mental health. Stress keeps us involved in the problem rather than solving it. Stress is nature’s way of saving us from certain dangers, but we no longer require that amount of stress. It should be maintained at a healthy level to grow.

 Written by: Manisha Anand