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By Tasha Broomhall

Stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demands exceed the personal and social resources that the individual is able to mobilise.

Richard S Lazarus
According to Lazarus’ definition, we are stressed when circumstances feel outside of our control – when they are too big to handle. It can be so easy to become overwhelmed at times of stress by focussing only on the problem. In doing so we can make a huge mountain out of a molehill and even if the problem is as big as a mountain, we can feel powerless to climb it. Think for yourself about what causes you the most stress. Is it relationship issues? Money issues? Time pressures? Too many responsibilities? Health concerns?
We all have different stress triggers at various points in our lives, and so it’s a good idea to become aware of what your personal triggers are. If you are keen to develop some strategies to manage or even prevent your stress, then begin by noticing when you become the most stressed. It could be certain times, situations, or people you are with. Once you get a clear understanding for yourself, you can begin to look into what you can do about it.
A very simple strategy that I learnt a long time ago for managing stress was this idea of:


When you’re feeling stressed, stop and check out what it is that is causing you stress, think about whether there is anything you can do to change the situation, problem or outcome? If there is, then make a plan and take action. If there isn’t, then chuck it!
If you can’t change the situation at all then spending time worrying about it isn’t going to help. Rather decide not to focus on the negative and instead be more realistic in your approach. One thing you do have control over is your thinking about the situation, as well as your reaction to it – so chuck the worry and focus on what you can do.
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