Have you noticed the heavy, overpowering feeling of stress in the air lately?

With the back to work blues in full swing, peak levels of traffic returned at an all-time high, and the holidays now just a faint longing memory of sunshine, good times and no alarm clocks… No wonder frustration levels appear to be rising at an alarming rate.

So how are you coping?

Do you find it hard to escape stressful situations?

Are you aware of your stress triggers?

Why does it matter?

You should know that is very important to be aware of what causes you stress and how you deal with it because stress can do more harm to you than you may realise…

“Researchers estimate that stress contributes to as many as 80 percent of all major illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, endocrine and metabolic disease, skin disorders, and infectious ailments of all kinds.” – Prescription for Nutritional Healing 4th edition.

So what triggers your stress?

Is there a certain person who always brings out the worst in you?

Or maybe in tense situations you find it hard to not get wound up in the moment and often let stress take over your reactions like you have no choice?

Say if someone was to call you right now, and tell you that your company has been declared bankrupt and you are out of a job… how would you react?

Without using expletives, I’m guessing it wouldn’t be pretty…

What if it didn’t have to be that way?

What if you were able to choose your reactions in stressful situations, and take back some control of your thoughts and feelings?

It is not impossible, it just takes some practice, and through knowing your stress triggers and becoming aware of your reactions, it can become even easier.

So a key step to reducing unwanted stress in your life is to notice the situations and people that frustrate you, and begin to monitor your reactions.

If someone you dislike makes a joke at your expense, how would you react?

If someone cancels plans at the last minute, how would you react?

If you found out someone had lied to you, how would you react?

If you are confronted by someone who made you feel uncomfortable, how would you react?

To some people, all of these situations could be stressful. To others, maybe just one or two.

A lot of what stresses you out can come down to the unique way in which you communicate with those around you.

The way you process information, and communicate with others says a lot about how you deal with different situations.

The four unique communication styles (Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue) that people use can react to stress in completely different ways. For example…

Someone with a Purple communication style is more likely to find the following triggers stressful:

  • Sacrificing themselves in order to be liked,
  • Hoping that things will work out (but not doing what is needed to ensure success),
  • Relying on others to complete what they start.

Whereas, someone with a Yellow communication style is far more likely to find these triggers stressful:

  • Covering up anger and frustration,
  • Being impatient with less organised minds,
  • Having to get things perfect.

Someone with more of a Red communication style will most likely find these triggers stressful:

  • Needing to dominate and take control of situations,
  • Having difficulty organising their feelings,
  • Forcing others to conform to their standards of behaviour.

But a person with a Blue communication style will find these triggers more stressful than most:

  • Playing the blind follower and going with the crowd even when it doesn’t feel right,
  • Needing constant reassurance form others,
  • Avoiding confrontation.

So an important step in dealing with unwanted stress is noticing that not everyone’s stress is triggered in the same way.

In fact, as you can see, they can be quite different.

So how do you cope when your unique stress triggers are sparked?

Do you tear others down to make yourself feel better?

Do you react temperamentally without fully listening?

Do you shut down and simply stop communicating?

Or do you go quiet, retreat into a safe place and hide out for a while?

I encourage you to become consciously aware of the way you react in stressful situations and around people that cause you stress.

Once you start to become aware of your reactions, you can start to practice better ways of dealing with them.

As hard as it may be, in a stressful situation it is important to understand that you have a choice when it comes to the way you handle stress.

It might not feel like it at first though.

When someone upsets you, it might not feel like you have any choice on how you react to them. It might actually feel overwhelming because in your mind, it is THEIR fault for upsetting you.

But at the end of the day you should know that although you cannot control how someone speaks to you, you CAN control how you react to them.

The only part of a stressful situation that you have complete control over, is how you choose to react.

Yes that’s right – your reaction is a choice.

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” – William James.

It can take some practice to get used to the idea, but your attitude towards another person or towards a situation is up to you.

One of the truest statements I’ve ever read is that life is 10% what happens to you – 90% how you react to it.10-and-90Be sure to remember that next time you are about to react, and watch as things begin to change.

If you would like to know more about dealing with stress, we can help. Contact us to find out how.

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