Much of the stress we feel is mental stress. That is, stress that we have brought about ourselves. Even though there are outside influences at work, your mind takes these and turns them inward, often creating stress.
It is our perceptions that help create stressful situations. Some experts say that a certain amount of stress is actually helpful to the body. But when the stress starts to become too much, we start to feel it.
Type A personalities are most susceptible to mental stress. A type A person is someone who is constantly on the go. They are involved in everything and are moving at record speed. Eventually, most Type A people come to a point where they need a mental and physical break.
What can you do to help eliminate mental stress before it starts? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Make a To-Do list once a day and use it to check off items that are complete. Not only will you feel more organized, but you will also get a sense of accomplishment once you complete items from the list.
2. Partition your day into work sections. Spend some time where you let your telephone go directly to the answering machine. The uninterrupted time will help get your task at hand completed. Set aside a specific time to go through messages and make return phone calls. You will have gained some time in your day and will have completed something.
3. Use a planner or planner software to plan your days. You can set up alerts to let you know when you have an appointment or conference call coming up. There are many excellent software programs available as well as paper-based planners to help you get organized.
4. Take a time management course. Many are now offered over the internet. Sometimes they are sponsored through your company. Usually only a few days in length, the time is well spent learning new strategies and techniques to stay focused and organized. Even if you have previously taken a time management class, you will find you are re-charged by taking this type of class once a year.
5. Be prepared. Whatever the task, make sure you spend some time preparing for it ahead of time. You'll feel a lot less stress when you have readied yourself for a specific task. If you constantly wait until the last minute, you will put yourself under immense stress every time.
6. Don't procrastinate. Remember when you were in school and crammed for exams the night before the final? That was ultimate stress. People who say they work better under pressure are just poor at planning and are masters at procrastination. You will always do better when you take your time and don't wait until the last minute to complete your work.
7. Balance your life. Make sure you have a balance between work, home, family, fun, finances, romance, health and fitness, and personal growth. You will feel less stress when you achieve balance with all these areas of your life. Make a list of which areas you feel are out of balance and work on the areas that need more attention.
8. Streamline your life. When you take a closer look at all the things you do each day or each week, there may be some you can streamline. There are also bound to be some things you can eliminate all together.
9. Stop being a perfectionist. Not everything needs to be done to perfection. Allow yourself to be imperfect. We are usually our own worst judge. Try to free yourself from judging others and yourself.
10. Give your children chores to do around the house. Children as young as 5 or 6 can help with some easy chores. Don't worry if they don't do things perfectly. As the children get older, change their chores to harder ones.
12. Get a maid service. Even those of us on middle class incomes can afford a maid every other week. Save up the chores that take the most time or cause you the most irritation and let the maid do them! It's well worth the cost.
13. Get rid of clutter. Clutter can actually drain us mentally and cause us stress. Just looking at the clutter every day fills us with guilt about having it and thus, stress. Vow to spend a week (or more) sorting through the built up clutter and getting rid of anything unnecessary. You'll be a lot less burdened once you do.
14. Take up a hobby. Find something you like to do, make or collect. Then spend some time each week working with your hobby. Hobbies, by their nature, are instant stress reducers. You may even get involved in clubs or meets with others who enjoy the same activity.
15. Make a family schedule. Studies have shown that children benefit from structure. Adults can benefit as well. A schedule takes the stress out of chaotic days. Once you get used to it, a schedule is a welcome addition to the family. Everyone knows what to expect and things run much more smoothly. Be sure to leave some free time in the schedule for family members to do what they want.
16. Plan the family meals ahead for the whole week. Do the grocery shopping once a week to have all the ingredients that are needed on hand. This eliminates making numerous trips to the grocery store. Make some of the meals ahead, on the weekend. Freeze or refrigerate them for easy use during the week.
17. Eat balanced meals. Eating right helps the body work more efficiently and helps the body eliminate stress. Eat breakfast in the morning. This meal fuels you for half the day at work. When you skip a meal, you are more prone to stress.
18. Live in the present. The past is over and can't be changed. The future is not here and we can't predict what will happen. Therefore, time well spent is in the present. You will only bring up stress if you worry about what has already happened or fret about what may happen in the future.