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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are the best ways to deal with stress?

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  • Lifeline is a national charity delivering 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services to all Australians. Lifeline connects people to a broad range of national … View Profile

    Maintain mental and physical wellbeing
    It is important to look after our mental well being and physical health. Physical and mental wellbeing helps us come through a period of stress. Key ways to support physical and mental well being are:

    • Regular exercise, even a short walk or swim;
    • Good diet, and avoidance of stimulates like caffeine and sugar;
    • Adequate hours and quality of sleep.

    Take charge and make a plan
    Attempting to solve the problem or tackle the entire challenge when feeling highly stressed may not be a good idea. Taking time to reflect, prepare a plan of action and seek the support of others will enable more effective responses to be taken. Some useful steps are:
    • Write down the problem to clarify the situation;
    • Examine how you feel about the problem, i.e. the emotional response you have
    • Identify some options or alternatives, even those that seem unworkable
    • Assess what action is possible and best matches your personal objectives
    • Talk through with someone you trust to get a more independent opinion.
     
    Stress management
    Stress management is a way of anticipating those issues that trigger a stress response –actively seeking to put in place protective mechanisms so that stress is minimized. Stress management can include:
    • Moderating lifestyle and expectations to a more sustainable level e.g. reduce unnecessary commitments and be realistic about what you can achieve
    • Relaxation and self-awareness programs or activities e.g. meditation
    • Participation in activities that you enjoy – hobbies, socialising, sports, etc.
    • Developing ways of focusing on the immediate things that need to be done, such as what action needs to be taken by tomorrow, or to make an appointment to see someone.
     
    Get support 
    A key technique for responding to periods of high stress is to draw on support from others – friends, family, colleagues, sporting team members. Tell people you trust that you are going through a tough time; talking with others about things can help.
     
    If you feel you have no one else to talk to and stress is becoming harmful or unmanageable, consider calling a helpline such as Lifeline 13 11 14, or seek professional supportfrom a counsellor or your GP.

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    A HOLISTIC SERVICE.Would you like a more satisfying and rewarding life? Are you looking to get a great job? Or do you have important choices … View Profile

    In addition to the standard suggestions in regards to stress management, I would like to offer to two practical activities. Too often we don't look at the way we can address stress by breaking it down into the various ‘causes’. Stress can sometimes feel paralysing and too big to tackle.

    The following quote is so true:
    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain.

    So let's get started with some small things:

    Many times stress and anxiety/worry are interrelated. If you can take some of the worry out of situation, it may also relief stress levels. Take some time with the following questions and see if you can find out more about the background of your stress areas and maybe cope better with the worry factor in your stress.

    HOW TO COPE WITH WORRY 

    Try and write down your answers to these questions:
     

    1. What am I worrying about?
     
    1. What is the worst that can happen?
     
    1. Accept the situation.
     
    1. What can I do about the situation? (Alternative solutions)
     
    1. Which is the best solution right now?
     
    1. Where do I start?
     
    Now I will provide one practical activity which you can do almost everywhere when stress presses in too hard. I have found this to be a real help for stress relief if the following instructions are strictly adhered to:

    STRESS BUSTER
     
    • Put you chin down towards your chest as far as it will go without pain
    • Let your arms hang limp
    • Slowly rock your head from side to side 4 times coming back to the start position
    • Slowly raise your head so you can view the screen without difficulty
    • Take a deep breath and hold it for the count of 3 and breath out through your mouth, repeat this 3 times
     
    Go for it!  Let it all go, life is far too short to have a strangle hold on stress.

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