In addition to the preventive measures, there are also various options for action that make sense and are effective in concrete stress situations. The following selection can help you to consciously deal with stress and your own personality.
Become aware of yourself. Accept yourself as you are. Identify supposed weaknesses or negative behaviour patterns. Record these in writing and find a positive counterpart, for example impatience vs. Speed/Energy. This allows you to recognise that everything that is supposedly 'bad' also has something 'good' in it. The personality of a person is relatively stable, so do not fight against yourself, but search for your 'I'.'.
Accept your feelings, even if you find them negative or stressful. If, for example, you feel fear, this is a sign that you are getting more in balance with yourself again. How foolish it would be not to take this hint seriously or even to fight it. Only when you perceive your emotions is the path to individual self-management clear. The proverbial 'lump in the throat' before a test or the like forms an important somatic marker that indicates to us that one is excited or feels fear. It is also helpful if you 'go through' stressful situations again with some distance.'. Ask yourself what you can change to make the situation more pleasant. In this way, you will develop a feeling for an appropriate reaction and learn to counteract at an early stage if you recur.
Identify irrational thoughts such as the one that you will not or only badly pass a certain test. Test this hypothesis, because nothing else is the above assumption, and find refutable arguments. You could argue, for example, that you prepared yourself as usual and have already achieved many good results in this way. This will expose negative thought loops and allow you to positively shape your self-image. If you do not find any counterarguments, do not be afraid to use the opinion of a trusted person. In the case of manifest problems, discuss alternatives: What other ways of preparation are there? Are they feasible? In this way you create further options for action and recognise negative ways of working.
The balance between working time and leisure time is a tightrope act, which at the same time is an enormous source of stress. This makes the goal-oriented and meaningful structuring of one’s own everyday life all the more important. It is of outstanding importance that you get an overview of your tasks and plans and set priorities. Pay attention to your personal biorhythm: not everyone is at his or her peak performance in the early morning. The planning of phases of recovery is also part of conscious time management. It is essential that you give your day a clear structure. Rituals are suitable for this because they mark the beginning or the end of a phase. Start your day with recurring activities, such as a cup of coffee or tea, an extended breakfast or reading the daily newspaper. Through a day-end ritual, you will be better able to recall the positive aspects of the day. You can do this by keeping a diary or going for a walk in the evening. Also take time during the day for proper breaks. Make a conscious decision to also take 'offline phases' while working and do without a smartphone or laptop at a later hour. This is essential to really find peace and quiet. A good possibility, especially for students, to structure everyday life in a meaningful and goal-oriented way, is to work with a weekly plan.
Physical activity is an excellent way to improve and strengthen your physical and mental well-being. Regular endurance training reduces stress levels enormously and also reduces anxiety. A defined body is of course a positive and aesthetic side effect. In addition, doing sports in the long term leads to a lasting strengthening of confidence in your own abilities and capacities. If you bear these positive consequences in mind, it will be easier to step out of the comfort zone and get moving. Especially in the initial phase, it is advisable to keep a diary of your sporting activities until they have become a fixed habit. This will enable you to plan your activities better and reflect them more consciously. It is also important that you find the sport that is fun for you and most suited to your interests. Move consciously and listen to your body during the activity, because your daily form is subject to considerable fluctuations. Accept it and avoid exaggerated performance thinking. Take advantage of the wide range of activities offered by the sports centre of the University of Passau – you are guaranteed to find the right one for every type of exercise!
Just as you can train your musculoskeletal system and constantly improve it over time, so too can your ability to relax. Above all, relaxation means finding rest and taking time for yourself. Accordingly, relaxation consists in a balanced state, in experiencing contentment and serenity. The repertoire of relaxation methods is very varied. Among the best known are autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation and yoga. The aim of all methods is to improve the conscious ability to relax. At the same time they strengthen the ability to concentrate and create distance to unpleasant feelings and thoughts. Find out which method suits you best. Find out more about the sports centre at Passau University, which regularly offers yoga courses, for example.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for personal boundaries to be crossed. A grievous utterance or an injurious way of dealing is enough to cause stress and reduce self-esteem. However, do not be afraid to draw clear boundaries towards your fellow human beings, which cause stress and discomfort in you through their behaviour. Because it is your urgent duty to protect yourself. However, these limits should also be handled flexibly. Communicate openly about this with your counterpart, because openness creates transparency that can facilitate collaboration. In the event of a change in behaviour, these boundaries can also be quickly reopened as soon as closer contact is possible again.
There are also those people who constantly move at their energy limits because they cannot say 'no' and thus take on any task. Many people have problems suddenly being confronted with situations for which they are not prepared. Be aware, however, that you can also revise your answer afterwards if you think you would have liked to react differently. This should also be addressed openly: 'I acted too hastily earlier and reconsidered my answer. I see this differently now and would like to change my opinion. One should not be ashamed of such a behaviour by no means, also this belongs to a conscious handling of the own personality.
- Imperative thinking: Perform the task perfectly and immediately!
- Conscious handling: I may make mistakes and give myself the time I need.