Top tips for managing yours and others’ stress effectively

Top tips for managing yours and others stress effectively

Let’s start with open question. How do I understand stress?

Research shows that certain types of people are more prone to stress and its by-products, such as heart disease.


If you are competitive, extremely ambitious, fast in thought, speech and action, committed, impatient and constantly pressed for time, you are likely to be a Type A personality – at risk from stress.
If you are an easier going type, you are less at risk and classed as a Type B. If you fit the Type A pattern, to reduce the chances and incidences of stress and its longer term implications you need to understand your responses and how to modify or manage them.

Typical Symptoms

Symptoms will vary for individuals, but recognising recurring symptoms gives you a warning signal and an opportunity to take action before they become something more serious. Examples are:




Headaches, tiredness, aching joints and muscles, digestive problems such as IBS, heartburn, indigestion and loss of appetite.
Anxiety, irritability, depression, mood swings, inability to concentrate; fear (often unreasonable and about things over which we have no control).
Excesses of sensory activities such as smoking, alcohol or eating, loss of interest or pleasure in activities you usually enjoy, aggressive behaviour, absent from work, lack of interest in work and low productivity.

How to manage stress effectively?

Ways of handling stress will be different for each person. Knowing what triggers stress for you and the way you respond will enable you to choose appropriate strategies. Usually it requires a mixture of:
Prevention – avoiding stressful situations wherever possible.

Managing stress – this involves altering your responses to stress. This is more proactive and implies acceptance, responsibility and control.

Coping with the stress – a palliative approach that aims to restore previous functioning. This usually includes stress management techniques.

9 Top Tips for Managing Stress Effectively

  • Avoid being a victim to stress – take action.
  • Identify ways in which you can build relaxation into your day.
  • Learn to recognise your symptoms.
  • Identify the sources of stress – what can be changed and what cannot.
  • Recognise your strengths and weak points and keep a positive outlook.
  • Recognise the time of day when your energy is at its best and plan accordingly.
  • Learn to say no and negotiate workable compromises.
  • Keep a sense of humour.
  • Build support networks.

Approaches to Stress Management

Quick Fixes

An evening at home listening to music or watching a video, relaxation techniques, having a massage, a day at a health spa or a game of squash are all great quick fixes. They will help particularly if they are part of your on-going life not just the odd occasion. They do not, however, confront the cause.

Deal with the Cause of Stress in a Positive Way

This requires us to challenge the situation we find ourselves in, review our perceptions and the way we are, consider our ability to control the events around us and find alternative ways of dealing with it. This may include seeking help either with colleagues or professionally, if necessary.

Know and Understand Yourself

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage feelings and thoughts. Developing your emotional intelligence can enhance your ability to make good decisions, help you communicate more honestly, think more clearly and act more authentically. Talking through things during stressful times can help clarify and sort reality from incorrect perception and negotiating practical alternatives where appropriate.

Manage Your Time

Plan and use your time in the most effective and efficient way. This includes controlling and scheduling activities so that you are in control, learning to say ‘no’ to things, negotiating workable compromises and being clear of your responsibilities and boundaries.

Use Your Skills of Assertiveness

A common source of stress is finding it difficult to say ‘no’ to someone, particularly if they are more senior. Often, in order to say no to someone we either become aggressive and angry or alternatively we retreat into ourselves and allow ourselves to be imposed upon. A sense of our own value and worth, standing up for ourselves at the same time as recognising and valuing other people’s rights is the key to assertiveness. It is about expressing our needs, wants, opinions, feelings and beliefs in direct, honest and open ways. The aim of assertive behaviour is to satisfy the needs and wants of both parties involved in the situation. These are practical techniques that with training and practice can be learnt.

Positive Self-Talk

Most of us have a voice in our head that is in constant dialogue with us. It interprets events and situations, which can be both positive and helpful as well as negative, judgemental or critical. Be aware of how your thoughts can interfere in a negative way and find ways of replacing them with more positive and supportive language.

6 Top Tips for Managing Others’ Stress

  • Be clear what the stress points in the work are
  • Acknowledge the differences in people and get to know your people and their limitations
  • Allow people to talk about how they are – support and influence them to help reduce their stress levels
  • Ensure two way, regular quality information
  • Find ways of bringing some lightness and fun to the teams work
  • Refer to stress counselling support if needed.

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