Most of us at some time or other have experienced tension and stress. Anxiety and tension are natural reactions to anything that threatens to upset our happiness and well-being. Sometimes, however, we become tense and anxious when no real danger exists. When we find that emotional upsets occur more frequently and fail to wear off, then it is time to be watchful and to do something about it.
Escape for a while: it often helps to get away from the problem for a while, to distract yourself and to lose yourself in a film, a book, a game, or a brief trip, for a change of scene. Be prepared to come back and deal with your difficulty when you are more composed.
Work off your anger: do something physical like gardening, cleaning out the garage, or get involved in some form of exercise instead. Getting the anger out of your system and cooling off will leave you much better prepared to handle your problem intelligently and constructively.
Give in occasionally: if you give in occasionally, others will also yield.
Helping someone else will help you to forget about yourself and also give you a warm and comforting feeling of having done a good turn.
Take one thing at a time. If you feel overwhelmed by all you have to do, prioritise.
Don’t be a perfectionist: Give yourself a pat on the back for the things you do well, but don’t set yourself impossible targets for everything you attempt.
Don’t be too critical: People who feel let down by the shortcomings (real or imagined ) of others, are really let down about themselves. Instead of being critical about another person’s behaviour, search out his or her good points.
Make yourself ‘available’: instead of withdrawing from other people, it is much healthier, as well as more practical, to continue to make yourself ‘available’.
Plan your recreation: find a hobby that you can throw yourself into completely and with pleasure. While you are doing so, make a positive effort to forget all about your work. You’ll find that if you can do this, you will return to your responsibilities with renewed enthusiasm and drive.
Talk it over: when something worries you, talk it over with some level-headed person you can trust. The worst thing you can do is to “bottle it up”. Talking things over helps to relieve the strain, enables you to see your worry in a clearer light, and often helps you to see what you can do about it.
Christina Somers, M.I.A.C.P., counsellor/ psychotherapist, is available for consultation at (086 ) 8622249.