Everyone carries the heavy burden of stress at one point or another. If you feel yourself becoming stressed more and more often, you may notice that you aren’t sleeping as well as you would like to, that you are wide-awake for a few hours in the middle of the night or that you just can’t fall asleep in the first place! Have you ever lied awake at night thinking to yourself “if I fall asleep now, I will get five hours of sleep” or “if I fall asleep now, I will get three and a half hours of sleep”? Well, you are not alone! If you think about these sleepless nights, you may notice that over the course of the night, you really haven’t formed many useful thoughts or came up with any helpful problem-solving ideas. That is because you aren’t taking the time to actually consider what is causing you stress and how you can eliminate that stress.
We all know that there are many causes of stress: work, relationships, money, etc. We also know that there are many negative effects of stress on our health and happiness and that being stressed just doesn’t feel good! For these reasons, we want to combat stress. Kick it to the curb! Throw it out the window! But how? In my mind, there are really two options to consider when you find yourself in an unwanted stressful situation.
The first option is to do something about it! The second is to move on. Which option is right for your current situation really depends on whether or not you have control over the situation. You need to ask yourself “How much control do I have over this situation?” and “Who else is involved?” When you have full or even some control, it means that you can make choices to change. Change what you are doing. Change the things you say. Change your response to other’s behavior. Change how you think about something or someone. The list goes on and on, depending on your circumstances. So, once you have decided how much control you have over the situation, you can decide whether to do something about it or move on.
When you find yourself in a position of control, the next step is to explore your options. Think about ways to improve the situation that you are stressed about. Even go as far as to decide what would solve the problem completely. Next, you must make a choice. What can you choose to do today that will minimalize your stress and lead you to overcoming the problem that you are facing? It is not always possible to make all of your stress go away at once, but you can chose to start today at improving your life’s circumstances.
· make a choice
· put a plan in place
· follow through
· check in with yourself often to monitor your progress
Of course, everyone is different and their problems vary greatly. In some cases, you can make a simple choice that will make your stress disappear almost immediately, but in other cases, you may have to work at it a little harder and for a longer period of time. Just remember not to get discouraged and remember that nothing in life lasts forever. This problem that seems as big as an ocean will seem as tiny as a puddle when you look back at it. Before you know it, you will be onto better things and you’ll wonder why you worried so much in the first place! That is one thing that we can count on in life, is that it goes on!
Speaking of life going on, some situations require you to make a choice to simply move on. If your answer to my earlier question “How much control do I have over this situation?” was “little” or “none”, than this might be the option for you. This option will often come into play for one of two reasons.
First is that you are dealing with other human beings. For example, a friend, family member, or coworker said something to you that upset you. Maybe you have already tried to do something about it. Maybe you have told them how you feel and they continue in their behavior. Maybe you have tried to change your reaction to their behavior and have come to realize that sometimes, two people’s personalities don’t always mesh. This is when the moving on part comes into play.
Second is when the situation involves some sort of rule or guideline that you cannot change. For example, you would like to implement something new at work that you think would be beneficial, but company policy doesn’t allow it. Or your child’s school has a rule in place that you disagree with. Perhaps you have complained or spoken with the principle, but nothing can be done. Perhaps you have thought about switching your child to another school, but there are no other schools that are close enough to your home. This would be another case where you have tried to do something about your situation, but have found no solution. Now it is time to move on.
I know that moving on might sound easy at first, but it is not always the case. When there are people involved that you are still required to be around or communicate with, moving on can be difficult. You just have to make a choice today to not waste any more of your time or energy on the person or situation that is causing you stress. It is not worth it! You are strong, intelligent, and talented. You need to be able to move onto bigger and better things and not let the weight of stress tie you down. You need to show the people who are getting you down that you are a bigger person than they are and that you have your own life to live. Try these tips and techniques today and you will feel stress free soon!
Let me know in the comments a time when you successfully overcame stress. I would love to hear from you!