One important point in stress management that you also have to consider is the habits you apply in managing stressful tasks. For instance, if you are faced with a difficult undertaking, how do you usually go about it? Do you procrastinate? Do you leave it and wait to work at the last minute?
These bad habits of yours will never fix the problem, the worst is that they will just give you more stress when the time comes. Therefore, it is very important that you break your bad stress habits as soon as possible.
But what are habits, and how do you break your bad habits for a less stressful life?
What Are Habits?
From a psychological standpoint, habits are a fixed way of thinking, willingness, or feeling gained through previous repetitions of a mental experience. In simple terms, habits are routine behaviors that are done without too much thought. They become part of you and just come up naturally and spontaneously without you even noticing them.
One example of a bad stress habit is leaving ―open loops‖, the tendency to put off doing the things that are perceived to be stressful for the moment. For instance, you are tasked to give a report, but since it is difficult and it will consume some of your time, you decided to leave it until later. Few days before the submission, you are to face huge stress, which could have been avoided if you don’t practice the bad habit of leaving open loops.
Tips To Break Stress Habits Close Open Loops
Leaving open loops will not only lead to greater stress at the end, it will also somewhat burden you as you go with your other activities
because at the back of your mind, you know that there is something that needs to be done.
It makes more sense therefore that you close open loops as soon as possible. Don’t wait for deadlines. If you have trifling tasks that are causing stress, do them at the first opportunity. This way, you will be carrying less weight as you move forward.
Have you encountered a time when you really wanted to do something yet you don’t have the energy to work. During this time, you easily find yourself distracted, however, you still want to persevere. You are caught in a tug of war between doing and not doing; you are not being fully productive but you are not getting the welfare of rest either.
One way to solve this problem is by using the ‗Pomodoro’ technique. This technique involves the segregation of time into a short burst of productivity and a short burst of rest.
Especially helpful to battle procrastination during work, the ‗Promodoro‘ technique allows you to use your energy and time efficiently.
Here is how this technique works. Let‘s say you have 8 hours to finish a project. You can set a timer and break down your time into a 25 minutes working period with 10 minutes of rest in between. In this way, you can anticipate that there will be breaks when you can rest, but for the moment, you have to work hard and use time effectively.
Though the ‗Pomodoro’ technique is very popular among many people, there are some lines of work where it is not fitting. You would relate to this if you are working on a project that depends on a state of flow. A writer or an artist for instance who rely on flow states for
productivity will do amazingly once they are zoned, however, once they are interrupted it would be very hard for them to go back into the flow.
People who need to grasp a state of flow can use the reward system approaches to avoid the bad habit of procrastination. Unlike the ‗Pomodoro’ technique, which breaks time into intervals, the reward system works by breaking the tasks at hand to be more efficient. For instance, when writing, you might want to complete 1,000-word content before you can reward yourself with a cup of tea, a 10-minute break to sit and rest, or to check social media.
The key to making the reward system working is to come up with anything that doesn‘t work a reward. You want to check Facebook or watch YouTube? You can do that only until you finished you have reached 1,000words of the book you are writing.
Whatever your reward, you will find out that this will not only break your work into periods of productivity and relaxation, but it will also motivate you to do more and avoid the stress of piled up