Moving forward: stresses and strains

Don’t let it take over your life though – tackle it promptly with this
ten-point plan.

1. Take time to relax
Just five minutes, morning and evening, spent consciously calming down and
letting go of tension can make an enormous difference.

2. Get to the root of the problem
Determine what’s causing the stress and plan positive actions to overcome it.

3. Get support
Talk over what’s winding you up with someone you trust. Just putting it into
words often helps to put things into some perspective and make them easier to
deal with.

4. Work up a sweat
Regular exercise not only helps release frustration and tension in the
short-term, it also strengthens your body against the long-term effects of

5. Be assertive
Don’t say ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ when you mean ‘no’. Don’t put up with people treating
you badly. You have to tell them where to get off – politely of course. Nothing
is worth putting up with if it makes you stressed and feel ill.

6. Laugh more
Strange but true – even a false smile and false laughter have a relaxing and
enlivening effect on the body.

7. Take a deep breath
When stressed, breathing tends to be rapid, shallow and high up in the chest.

In order to relax properly, you have to breathe more slowly and deeply, using
all your chest right down to your stomach.

8. Look after yourself
Don’t put extra stress on your body by asking it to cope with eating a poor
diet, drinking too much alcohol or smoking too many cigarettes.

9. Take breaks
Take a break from everything at regular intervals. Sometimes things can seem so
fraught that holidays, rest and even enjoyment drop right to the bottom of the
list. You might even feel guilty for ‘indulging’ in them.

10. Accept that stress is a part of life
However nice it would be, the time will probably never come when life is
completely free from stress and worry. Knowing that you can meet the challenge
and beat stress is more rewarding than living in fear of it.

Lynn Williams is a career coach who writes on job search
and career issues and is the author of Readymade CVs and Readymade Job Search

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