mindfulness meditation man sits and meditates on beachThere are all kinds of reasons someone with a bleeding disorder or a caregiver to someone with a bleeding disorder might feel stress.聽 Aside from the daily stressors that we all feel, there can be added financial pressures, anxiety over treatment, running to appointments, dealing with a bleed, the list goes on and on.

Stress can play a role in many health issues including: headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma and arthritis.聽 It is important for everyone to recognize the signs of stress in their life and learn how to effectively cope with it.

Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster, England, states, 鈥淚n life, there鈥檚 always a solution to a problem, not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.鈥

In this article from the National Health Service UK, Professor Cooper shares his top ten stress busting ideas. Many of his ideas are the basis of HFA鈥檚 programs.聽 Check them out to get connected to others in the community who share the trials and triumphs of living with a bleeding disorder and to learn how to better manage the stress that can come from living with a chronic disorder.

To read this article in its entirety, click here.

Ten Stress Busters

Be active

If you have a stress-related problem, physical activity聽can get you in the right state of mind to be able to identify the causes of your stress聽and find a solution. 鈥淭o deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally. Exercise does that,鈥 says Cooper.

Exercise won鈥檛 make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you鈥檙e feeling, clearing your thoughts and enabling you to deal with your problems more calmly.

Take control

There鈥檚 a solution to any problem. 鈥淚f you remain passive, thinking, 鈥業 can鈥檛 do anything about my problem鈥, your stress will get worse,鈥 says Professor Cooper. 鈥淭hat feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.鈥

The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else. Read tips about how to manage your time.

Connect with people

A problem shared is a problem halved. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can聽ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.

鈥淚f you don鈥檛 connect with people,聽you won鈥檛 have support to turn to when you need help,鈥 says Professor Cooper. The activities we do with friends help us relax and we often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.

鈥淭alking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,鈥 says Professor Cooper.

Have some 鈥榤e time鈥

Extra hours聽in the workplace mean that people aren鈥檛 spending enough time doing things that they really enjoy. 鈥淲e all need to take some time for socializing, relaxation or exercise,鈥 says Professor Cooper.

He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work. “By earmarking those two days, it means you won鈥檛 be tempted to work overtime on those days,” he says.

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. That聽in turn will help you deal with stress.

鈥淏y constantly challenging yourself you鈥檙e being proactive and taking charge of your life,鈥 says Professor Cooper. 鈥淏y continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.鈥

Avoid unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. “Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behavior,” says Professor Cooper. “Women are better at seeking support from their social circle.”

Over the long term, these crutches won鈥檛 solve your problems. They鈥檒l just create new ones. “It鈥檚 like putting your head in the sand,” says Professor Cooper. “It might provide temporary relief but it won鈥檛 make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress.”

Help other people

Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient. 鈥淗elping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,鈥 says Professor Cooper. 鈥淭he more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.鈥

If you don’t have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favor every day. It can be something as聽small as helping someone to cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues. Favors cost nothing to do,聽and you鈥檒l feel better.

Work smarter, not harder

Good time management means quality work rather than quantity. Our long-hours culture is a well-known cause of workplace illness. 鈥淵ou have to get a work-life balance that suits you,鈥 says Professor Cooper.

Working smarter means prioritizing your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference to your work. 鈥淟eave the least important tasks to last,鈥 says Cooper. 鈥淎ccept that your in-tray will always be full. Don鈥檛 expect it to be empty at the end of the day.鈥

Be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful. Write down three things at the end of every day which went well or for which you’re grateful.

鈥淧eople don鈥檛 always appreciate what they have,鈥 says Professor Cooper. 鈥淭ry to be glass half full instead of glass half empty,鈥 he says.

This requires a shift in perspective for those who are聽more naturally pessimistic.

鈥淚t can be done,鈥 he says. 鈥淏y making a conscious effort you can train yourself to be more positive about life. Problems are often a question of perspective. If you change your perspective, you may see your situation from a more positive point of view.鈥

Accept the things you can’t change

Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognize and accept things as they are and concentrate on everything that you do have control over.

鈥淚f your company is going under and is making redundancies, there鈥檚 nothing you can do about it,鈥 says Professor Cooper. 鈥淭here鈥檚 no point fighting it. In such a situation, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.鈥




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