5 MORE Ways to Deal with Stress

Professor Maxwell is back with 5 MORE helpful tips to help you deal with stress.

Avoid unhealthy habits and routines

Don’t rely on things like alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping with stress. “Men are more likely to do this than women. We call this a type of avoidance behaviour,” says Professor Maxwell.

“Women are better at seeking support from their social circle or peer group.”

Over a long term period, these “crutches” won’t solve your problem(s). They will just create some new ones. “It’s like putting your head in the sand and hiding,” says Professor Maxwell. “It might provide some kind of temporary relief, but it won’t make the problems disappear at all. You need to tackle your stress head on.”

Help other people around you

Professor Maxwell says there is evidence that shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient and can tackle stress a lot better.

“Helping people who are often in situations worse off than yours will help you put your problems into a sensible perspective,” says Professor Maxwell. “The more you give to others, the more happy you will feel.”

“Volunteer at your local clinic giving out Free Condoms at your local clinic or medical centre, work at a food bank and serve food to the homeless”.

If you don’t have time to do any volunteer work, try to do someone a favour every day if possible. It can be something as small as going on a coffee run for friends/colleagues.

Work smarter definitely not harder

Working smarter means prioritising the more important work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference to your life or day. “Always leave the least important tasks for the end,” says Professor Maxwell. “Accept that your paper in-tray will always be full up. Don’t alwyas expect it to be empty by the end of the day.”

Try to be constantly positive

Look for the positives things in life, and things for which you’re grateful for or can be.
“Many people don’t always appreciate what they already have,” says Professor Maxwell. “Try to be the glass half full guy instead of the glass half empty guy,” he says.
Try writing down five things that went well, or for which you’re grateful for, at the end of each day.

Accept when there are things you can’t change

Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible or nice. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over or it may cause you stress.
“If your company is not doing well and firing people e.g. there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Maxwell.
“In a situation like that, you just need to focus on the things that you can control, like looking for a new job.”

5 Tips to Reduce Stress

If you’re feeling stressed out, whether its due to your job or by something else, the first thing to do to feel better is to find the cause.
The most counter productive thing you could do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking, drinking or even eating.

“In life, there’s always a fix or solution to any problem,” says Professor Maxwell, an occupational health expert at the University of Ohio. “Not taking control of the issue and doing nothing about it will only make the problem worse.”

He goes on to say that, the keys to good stress management are building emotional fortitude, having a good social circle and adopting a positive outlook on life.

What you can do to address your stress?

These are Professor Maxwell’s five stress-busting solutions:

Be more active

Exercise won’t make your stress vanish, but it will decrease some of the emotion that you’re feeling, cleansing your thoughts and allowing you to deal with your problems more calmly.

Take control of the situation

There’s a fix to any problem. “If you remain passive and don’t do anythin to fix the problem your stress will get worse,” says Professor Maxwell. “The feeling of losing control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of good health.”
The act of taking back control is in itself empowering and motivating, and it’s a crucial part of finding a fix that satisfies you and not someone else.

Connect with good people

A good social support circle of work colleagues, friends and family can easily ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.
“If you don’t connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help, which is very important in order to working towards getting better” says Professor Maxwell.
The activities we do with our friends will help us to relax and calm down. We often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reducer.
“Talking about your issues with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Maxwell.

Have me time

We work the longest hours, meaning we often don’t spend enough time doing things we really like doing.
“We all need to take some time for socialising, fun, relaxation or keeping in shape,” says Professor Maxwell.
He recommends setting aside a couple of days a week for some quality “me time” away from work, which could be adding to stress. “By keeping those two days, it means you won’t accidentally work overtime,” he goes on to say.

Challenge yourself more

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.

“By continuing to learn more, you become more resilient as a person,” says Professor Maxwell. “It equips you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive and sit back.”