Managing Stress Through Mindfulness by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Mindfulness : the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.
Work stress is a fact of life. However, for many of us, the stress is very predictable. We know the triggers that make us uneasy, such as running out of time at the end of the day, deadline pressures, and customer complaints. Though these reminders may make you dread the next day at work, being aware of what triggers your stress is the first step toward managing it.
Once you are aware of your personal stress triggers, you can predict when these will hit you and you can mitigate them. Preparing for these events before these happen can not only reduce their impact on you, but may also reduce their severity. For example, reminding yourself of how much a deadline stresses you out might motivate you to get some of the work done earlier, reducing the amount of work, and stress, that comes at the end of the project.
Mindfulness helps you to prepare for, and potentially mitigate your regular stress. However, it can also help you manage that stress while you’re in the midst of it.
Mindfulness helps you to feel the stress you’re having, without pushing it to the background. When you allow yourself to truly feel the stress, you can recognize it for what it is: a temporary situation brought on by circumstances.
Once you are mindful of stress while in the midst of it, you can take steps to reduce its effect on you. For example, when you feel yourself getting worked up over too many tasks hitting you at once, being mindful that this is a temporary stressful situation is good for you. This reminder can give you the motivation you need to take a deep breath, get up and take a quick walk, or turn to some other stress relieving device. Sometimes, this quick break and the realization that the situation is temporary can help you manage it with less stress.
Finally, mindfulness about the stress in your work life can help you better prepare for the future stress that is coming. For example, if you know that the end of the month is always stressful at your job, you may begin to take steps to prepare for that, such as ensuring that your home life has no additional stressors or plans during this time of the month.
Managing stress is important for everyone. Too much of it can lead to health issues, as well as making life far less enjoyable. One of the first steps to managing your stress is recognizing it, so that you can deal with it head on.