We may not notice stress in our lives until its effects become pronounced. These practices will alert you to the danger and its sources.
When you lead a busy life, the combination of tasks at work and around the house, social commitments, and distractions on our devices can increase your exposure to elevated levels of stress. By the time you realize that you’re dealing with chronic stress, you may already need to see a GI doctor or consult with a therapist to relax and cope with anxiety. Early recognition of stress and its possible sources, also called as stressors, in your life is a vital boost to any successful stress management plan. The following practices will help you do that.
Keep a journal
A journal is a valuable tool for productivity and continued learning. Even if you keep it simple-a bullet journal or assorted to-do lists, for instance-,the information you jot down can provide considerable insight into the everyday factors, patterns, and occasional changes that could bring stress into your life. You can take things further by exploring your thoughts and feelings in a more introspective style of writing. This will help you find clarity and deeper insights into what’s currently working for you and which things might not be turning out so well.
Become a reader of good fiction
Many people read self-help books as an aid to personal development, but the occasional dose of fiction allows you to develop reading as a skill. If you start to explore a variety of well-written works of fiction, you can better develop your powers of empathy and observation. Not only does this practice give the pleasure of stimulating your imagination and experiencing a good story, but it also helps you become more aware of what’s happening in life, improves the quality and restfulness of sleep, and actively works to lower your stress levels (even if you aren’t yet aware that you’re dealing with stress).
Engage in mindfulness practice
Similar to the benefits of reading, several mindfulness practices can offer a dual boost-increasing your awareness of possible stressors while helping to offset or balance their effects.
When we think of mindfulness, meditation is often the first thing that comes to mind. Other options include deliberately slowing down and avoiding multitasking to focus on the present; removing devices such as your phone or computer for some time each day; going out for a walk in green spaces to reconnect with nature; and moving your body regularly through a commitment to exercise, such as yoga.
Explore another perspective
Developing an increased sense of awareness doesn’t have to come entirely from your perceptions. It’s essential to explore other people’s perspectives and thereby gain feedback into what’s happening in your life, which you might never acquire on your own. Talk to the people you love and trust, who are in a position to observe you regularly; family, close friends, and longtime colleagues can offer valuable insights as to what might be changing or disrupting your life. While everyone might have a different opinion, and they can be wrong or right on various points, what matters is you maintain frequent conversations with your support network, so you can piece together a better overview of the big picture.
By practicing these techniques, you’ll become more closely attuned to what’s happening in your life each day. This will alert you to stressors and help you better manage the unwanted effects of stress before things get out of hand.