​​Stress is a part of modern living. There is, however, a difference between “good stress” and “bad stress”. “Good stress” can be productive because it provides us with motivation we need to scale new challenges or overcome difficulties. Stress only becomes harmful when it begins to disrupt aspects of our lives, such as work, family, personal life and health.

Stress usually arises when you experience change in life. These changes can be actual or perceived, but both are equally valid and can lead to stress.​

​​Getting a new job, getting married, starting a family, moving house – these are examples of life changes we may experience in our lifetime.

It’s been said that the only thing constant in life is change. Change can be small, big, subtle or sudden. Sometimes it’s a breeze, other times it’s a painful process.

Few of us deal with change without feeling unruffled, so here are some tips to help deal with it more effectively.

  • Physical:
    • Aches & pains
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue/Lethargy
    • Palpitation
    • Stomach upsets
    • Dizziness
    • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Emotional:
    • Anxious/Worry
    • Tensed
    • Irritable/Jumpy
    • Depressed/Moody
    • Feeling overwhelmed
    • Restless
  • Cognitive:
    • Forgetfulness
    • Poor concentration
    • Mental block
    • Difficulty in organizing & making decisions
  • Behavioural:
    • Sleep problems
    • Crying
    • Poor appetite
    • Falling ill- cold, coughs
    • Withdrawal
    • Smoking/Drinking excessively

External Sources:

  • Personal issues
  • Work problems
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Pressures of studies
  • Health problems
  • Financial crisis
  • Unemployment
  • Losses e.g. bereavement
  • Unexpected news
  • Daily hassles

Internal Sources:

  • Thinking styles
    • Negativity: "I'm useless, a loser, a failure."
    • Suspicion: "Why are they so nice to me?"
  • Social Skills
  • Shy, unassertive
  • Aggressive, bossy
  • Personality type

Type A: Hostile, impatient, multi-task all the time, always on the go, competitive, overly responsible.​

Type B: Laid back, introspective, calm, easy-going.

Type C: Calm on the outside; agitated inside, often suppress and don't express feelings.

​​​As stress is an inevitable part of our lives, it is necessary to arm ourselves with the necessary skills to counter stress. Let's look at the 8 steps to "de-stress":-

  • Know Oneself
    Self-awareness, recognition and acceptance of ourselves are important for stress management. We need to know what are the things that can make us tick and react to stress.
  • Renew (Re-Programme) Your Mind
    Being able to recognize and change our negative thinking styles would alter our feelings and eventually actions, towards external and internal sources of stress.
  • Seek Balance and Flexibility
    Stress can come about as a result of a sense of loss and insecurity. To balance, be more flexible in matching your response to the context and situation.
  • Have Goals, Dreams & Passion
    Goals provide us with a sense of direction and perspective. With a clear focus and passion, we feel a greater sense of control and purpose in life.
  • Get Supporters
    We are social beings and we function with others. We do best when we are surrounded by supportive family or friends. They provide us with the assurance and validation that we need in the midst of a stressful situation.
  • Get a Higher Frame of Reference
    We can also receive assurance and hope from our spiritual beliefs. Many studies have confirmed the benefits of having strong faith as a powerful stress-buffer, enhancing our ability to cope with life's more serious stresses.
  • Look After Your Body
    A healthy body is a natural defense against stress. Eating and sleeping well ensures better health and a sense of well-being. Regular exercise helps to build physical and mental strength against stress.
  • Use Stress-Coping Strategies
    It is important to have good and effective outlets and coping strategies. Poor coping strategies will worsen stress. Some examples of effective coping strategies are:
    • Engage in activities you enjoy
    • Practice relaxation techniques
    • Talk to someone you trust
    • Engage in physical exercises
    • Prioritize tasks accordingly
    • Love oneself
    • Seek professional help
    • In a nutshell, the 3A's of Effective Stress Management are :
      • Awareness - look out for the signs of stress
      • Analyse - determine the source of your stress
      • Apply - use strategies to help you cope better with stress

Remember: Work on a plan; then the plan will work for you!

Coping with change and overcoming stress