is our emotional and physical response to pressure. We feel there
are too many demands on us, and we have too few resources to cope.
That pressure can
arise from external factors including life events, illness
(ourselves or someone close to us) living conditions, work, home and family,
study, lack of some necessity, or the demands we place on ourselves. Even
those events which we see as enjoyable can be stressful, such as holidays,
moving home, starting a better job, pregnancy, parenthood, Christmas etc.
Even if there is little you can do about some
situations, maybe making some small changes - in routine, in the way you handle
things, doing things differently, taking time out, thinking about it in a
different way, in getting help, seeking advice - could make all the difference
cogs diagram (PDF) to help you identify what contributes to your stress.
Look at each factor and try to make changes in each.
Example vicious cogs of
Cogs PDF and fill in the factors that add to your
stress. You can then make changes in each cog to slow down and reduce the
Doing things differently
Do something different (to what you
Consider what demands you can reduce, or ask
others to help with.
time for yourself each day - relaxation, fun,
enjoyment. Create a healthy balance - allow time for activities which
give you a sense of achievement, those that give a sense of closeness to
others, and of a sense of enjoyment. When stressed, it's often the case
that we spend more time doing things that help us achieve,
but less of enjoyment and closeness to others. Aim for a healthy balance
as shown in the pie chart.
Schedule ACE Activities to
enable you to: Achieve, Connect & Enjoy, to help you keep track
down your thoughts and feelings - get them out of your head
take one step at a time - don't plan too far ahead
self-talk - encourage yourself, tell yourself: I can do this, I am
strong and capable - find an affirmation that works for you (even if you don't
believe it at first!). Write it down and memorise it for when you need
something creative - make a box of items that remind you to use the
techniques that help, or put photos on paper, or write and decorate a
e.g. to relax and bring about future goals
yourself: "This will pass, it's only temporary". "I've got through
this before, I can do it now". When we're going through a tunnel and
become fearful of being trapped, there's no point in stopping - we just have
to carry on in order to reach the end of the tunnel.