societal stress practice societal stress practice societal stress practice
Strengthen & Support
Before you can eliminate stress from your life you must first find what’s causing it. If there’s an overwhelming amount of stress in your life it’s important to focus on the areas or aspects you can control. The following practice asks you to take a closer look at what in your life or society is putting a strain on you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Once you’ve completed both parts of this practice you’ll be able to identify and reduce the stressors in your life.
The first part of this practice asks you to strengthen yourself by noticing your stress triggers. Everyone reacts differently to stress. Some people stop eating while others binge, some can’t sleep while others need naps, and some become irritable or angry while others laugh it off. In order to know the cause of your stress you have to know when you’re stressed. Stress can express itself physically, mentally, and emotionally, so it’s important to take note of any variation in your normal routine.
For *beginner* a week or *advanced* a month keep track and write down all of the times you feel stressed. It helps to group similar types or causes of stress together. Whether it’s from traffic on your way to work or school, running late to a meeting, rushing to make dinner, or feeling overwhelmed from reading the news. All of these moments, no matter how small, can cause internal conflict and anxiety. So it’s important to note when certain stressors are appearing. Do you tend to feel more stress at work, while driving, or when you’re alone? Create columns for the various people and places in your life so that you can more easily identify the source of your stress.
The next step towards reducing stress is to notice your triggers and the coping mechanisms that follow. Once you’ve kept track for a week or a month, go back through your list and see which areas of your life caused you the most stress. You know yourself best and certain times of the day and year will always be stressful. But if you’re continually noticing a stress pattern in your day to day life, then there’s room for improvement. You can’t control everything in life and some things will never change, but you can always choose your outlook and how you respond to stressful situations.
Perhaps you’re always stressed while driving, right after getting home at night, or while scrolling through social media. Maybe you can’t change the fact that you have to drive every day, you feel exhausted after work or school, or that you want to stay in the social loop. If these situations are triggers for your stress there are ways to cope and reduce its impact. So instead you make a fun, energizing playlist for your car ride, you give yourself 15-30 minutes of alone time before starting “at home” duties, or you limit yourself to 10 minutes of phone time at night and fall asleep with a book.
Once you’ve identified your stress and its triggers, challenge yourself to create positive and healthy coping strategies that will strengthen you physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The second part of this practice asks you to take a look at the stressors of society. There are many things in society that are frustrating because they can’t be changed. Maybe you disagree with the healthcare system, prioritize family over work, or support climate change initiatives. These are stress inducing situations you’re faced with that are out of your control. But instead of allowing it to constantly bother you focus on what you can control.
Think about and then make a list of your societal stressors. What’s going on in your local town, country, or globally that’s causing you stress? Is it due to the government, the environment, or social issues? Maybe it’s something that affects you personally or makes you worry for future generations? These stressors might feel larger than you, but there’s still a way for you to show support -start small.
One way to show your societal support is to look at your list and see what small step or change you can make towards a solution. Maybe you donate blood once a month, volunteer with your family at a food bank, or build your own vegetable garden. The small step might not be monumental to society, but if it positively impacts you and reduces your stress then it’s a success. If you believe that one person can’t make a difference, consider the definition of “difference”. The best way to make a difference, a significant effect, is through your affect on others by having a positive outlook.
It might seem clichéd, but another great way to combat societal stress is with positivity. Once you’ve found strength in yourself and have a grasp on your own stress, you are liberated! Anything that can or does cause you stress can be dealt with. Even if you can’t control the situation, in your life or in society, you can control your reaction. If you know something will trigger stress, thus a negative reaction, you can either avoid the situation or simply choose to respond with positivity.
All you can do in life is react to it. So it’s really your reaction that reflects your view of the world back to others. Surround yourself with positivity and stress relief strategies so when stressors come your way you can strengthen and support yourself.
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