The phone is constantly engaged. The taxi ignores you. Your train is late. Why do minor hassles like these have the potential to make us uptight? Maybe it's because we're tightly wound already and can't find the pressure relief valve. We all live and work in a pressured world - pressure over money, commuting, technology, looking good, eating well. Balancing the pressures of home life and work life are vital if we are to get optimum amounts of the adrenaline buzz to stay healthy and enjoy the whole life! So here are the top ten tips for when the going gets tough:
1. If you only have a hammer you will tend to see everything as a nail. Learn and use new techniques to deal with your workload and life's pressures, since the bigger the range of tools at your disposal will mean you are likely to find just the right one.
2. Work out what is actually inside or outside your control. Stop trying to bash your head against the brick wall if something that is driving you crazy is actually outside your control. And don't tell yourself "I cannot deal with this" when you mean "I will not deal with this".
3. Stop driving yourself with inner messages that say "I must please people"; "I must hurry up"; "I must be perfect"; or "I must be strong". Instead, ask yourself "What's the worst that can happen?" The world won't grind to a halt because you haven't checked your email for the last 15 minutes!
4. Learn when to say "no" and when to say "yes". Be consistent so that people know where they stand with you. Eventually you will re-educate them to accept the situation or to renegotiate a mutually convenient solution.
5. Focus and lock in to one thing at a time. Take jobs in order and learn to plan ahead. You will soon find that instead of doing five things at the same time, or everything at the last minute, you can get them all done at a relaxed pace and still achieve deadlines.
6. Find the light at the end of the tunnel. We can more happily accept a 14-hour working day, screaming children, or a nagging boss if we know when the end will be! Talk to people, share your situation, and find out what the possibilities are. Then act on them.
7. Being bored or under-used is also very stressful so make sure you're doing things that give you a buzz, to keep you on top of the performance curve. Perhaps volunteer to joint a project group, or amateur dramatics group. Or organise an event at work like an annual pantomime or Easter Bonnet Parade, with proceeds to charity!
8. Reserve "me" time (e.g. sport, hobbies, long bubble baths, light reading) as well as time for all the other roles in your life (e.g. spouse, parent, mentor, lover). And don't feel guilty that you are taking, say, all of 30 minutes selfishly to yourself once a week - remember that "you" are one of your responsibilities, too.
9. Stomp round the block! Exercise is a great way to use up excess adrenaline; it keeps you in condition and can be a source of thinking time. Even stomping down the stairs in the office to collect a fax or deliver something to reception can make you feel better!
10. Have a laugh! Laughter is such a great way to relieve pressure, so find more ways to enjoy yourself with the people who make you feel great!