When I did a recent survey on every day stress, I had no idea what the results would be. I was amazed when more than half of the participants rated daily stress at a level higher than 5, from 0 to 10. More than half of them experience high levels of stress on a regular basis. Does this sound right to you? What are we missing here? Do we really need to live our lives this way?

Most of the time, we only realize how stressed out we are, when we already have the symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety, poor health, physical pain, memory loss, constant worrying, poor judgment; the list is really lengthy. Research has shown that stress contributes up to 80% of all major sicknesses.

Stress is something that we all need to manage; sometimes it cannot be avoided so the key is to learn how to manage it effectively. Like many other essential skills in life, managing stress is one of them but we were not taught the skills that we need.

The way you deal with stress is most likely a habit for you now, we all develop different coping mechanisms and we do this unconsciously. The level of stress that you experience in a moment can be really realistic but it can also be the way that you are viewing the situation and handling it that can make it more stressful. In other words, we create unnecessary stress as well.

Here are some ways that you can effectively remove stress from your life and start to experience a different reality.

1. Identify the source of the stress
Think about all the things and situations that normally make you stressed. We have every day stress, at the office, traffic and at home. Big events or changes can also bring about stress, a death of a loved one, changing jobs, moving houses, surgeries, etc, all of these add to your overall level of stress and the more of these experiences you have, the more stressed you will feel. The first step is identifying what makes you stressed and what contributes to the levels you experience.

2. Either get rid of the stress contributors or learn how to cope with them
Looking at your list, what are some of the elements that you can get rid of?
For example, if you are always rushing to get to work on time, waking up ten minutes earlier might help to reduce that stress.

Once you have come up with a few strategies to reduce the stress in your life, look at the things that you can’t avoid or remove. If you can’t remove these stress elements, how can you cope with them better? The best way is by managing yourself in the situation.

For example, you arrive to work and look at your tasks for the day. The long list in front of you looks very daunting and overwhelming and you wonder how you are going to get through it. Then your boss gives you another deadline which apparently you need to squeeze in with all your other tasks. You have two options in the way you manage this.

Option 1: You start to panic, feeling flustered and resentful towards your boss. You can’t think straight and your thoughts are facing around ‘how can he do this, how on earth am I going to get this done, this is impossible, this is so unfair…..’
Option 2: You take a deep breath, look at all your tasks, your thoughts are along the line of ‘wow, ok, this is a challenge but it is ok, I am confident I will get everything done. So what do I need to do to be able to get everything done? What is the first step?...etc

The pivotal part is in the way you view stress immediately, your perspective of the situation. You can see with the two examples shown, that the outcomes will clearly be different. The conversation you have with yourself is the best way to start to cope with stress.

3. Develop necessary skills
Start to improve the way you manage your time to feel more organized and be more in control of what you are able to achieve. If you don’t manage your time effectively, you could be adding unnecessary stress, because if you managed your time better, you would be able to get more done.

4. Learn how to relax in the moment when you need it
When you feel stressed, your body feels it everywhere, tense, accelerated heart beat, lack of focus, etc. Learning how to relax can make you feel much better in that moment. Breathing deeply when feeling stressed is a really effective tool to calm yourself down. Stop what you are doing and take deep breaths in and out. While you are breathing in, imagine breathing in power and relaxation and when you breathe out; imagine you are breathing out the stress and releasing it. With just 10 repetitions, you will feel amazingly different. Also take up mediation or other activities which force you to relax if that resonates with you.

5. Find more enjoyment regularly
When you have one stressful experience after another, it can leave you feeling really worn out and even depressed. What is one thing that you incorporate into your life to enjoy it more? What is one change that you could make to your lifestyle to give you more peace? When you feel happier, your stress automatically lessens
A great way to gain more insight into your stress levels is to ask your family and friends what they think. How stressed do they think you are and how do you normally deal with it? This can give you some great insights to help you deal with this.

You most likely started to read this article because something inside of you wants to have less stress in your life. Taking on a few of the suggestions I gave or all of them will help you to effectively remove stress from your life. Which one are you going to try first?

Give your stress wings and let it fly away. ~Terri Guillemets

Author's Bio: 

Kirstin O’Donovan is the Founder of TopResultsCoaching and the Author of ‘The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Time Management’. Kirstin is a Productivity Coach who is passionate about helping entrepreneurs to achieve their goals successfully and to build their dream business. She works with her clients to close the gap between where they are now and where they want to be, while supporting them to achieve their goals, overcome their obstacles, develop key skills and a mindset geared for success.