Stress is a gut wrenching silent killer. It sneaks up on you. Before you know what’s happening, it has penetrated your body and taken your cells hostage.
Slowly and consistently stress begins to drain your cell’s life force. This causes havoc in your body. Soon you notice your skin isn’t as clear as it used to be. Your back aches more than normally. For that fact, so does your head.
What are you supposed to do? You may not have the time or the money or both to take a vacation. You’re already exercising. You’re trying to eat better. You’re doing all you know to do. What are you supposed to do?
Reduce Stress in Your Life
Now I know this might sound a little bit strange, but here it goes. Take FULL responsibility for your life. That means, own your actions, your reactions, your choices and your lack of decision making.
You say, “I already do that!”
Do you really? Have you ever blamed someone else for the situation you’re in? Have you ever become irritated because you’re always stuck doing the work? Have you ever yelled at a driver because he’s going too slow and you’re in a rush?
“But everyone does that,” you reply.
Yes, including myself. Nevertheless, if you want to reduce the stress in your life then you have to take responsibility for your own actions in these situations. You might not be able to control other people and what they do, but you can control how you respond to these situations. You can control whether you allow someone else to control your emotions or you control your emotions. The choice is truly yours.
Is it easy?
Is it worth it to try?
YES, IT IS!
Exercise Your Choice
Take out a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. Label the left column “Stress.” Under this column write out all of the things that are weighing on your mind. Write down all of the things that are bothering you, stressing you out, causing you problems and irritating you. Number each one.
Now label the right column “Solutions.” This is how you reduce your stress. Instead of complaining and feeling overwhelmed, you create solutions you can take action on.
You’re stressed because you feel like there is no way out of your situation. If you do this exercise, you release those anxiety hormones. You come away feeling hopeful. You feel like a weight has been lifted off of you. You can breathe easier.
In case you need a little help getting started. Here are some examples.
|1. The house is dirty.||1. Get family members to help. If you have children that are old enough and able to help, then give them chores. Implement a rewards and punishment system if need to.|
|2. You’re stuck doing the bulk of the duties at work. Co-workers aren’t carrying their load.||2. Request a meeting with your co-workers first. If that doesn’t go well, then go to your supervisor.|
|3. You rush to get to work.||3. Go to bed early and wake up early so you can leave a little early. Try 15 minutes first.|
|4. People constantly complaining to you about the same problems.||4. Politely let them know they complain about the same thing over and over again. They have two choices at this point: (1) stop complaining to you since they aren’t changing the situation or (2) come up with solutions to change the situation.|
Believe it or not, other people’s negativity can cause you a lot of undue stress that you may not be aware of. It’s best to try and let people keep their negativity to themselves.
Learn to turn your problems into solutions. Learn to say no when you really don’t want to do something. Say yes to more fun.
Remember: ONLY you should have full responsibility for yourself. Anything less and you are giving other people permission to control your life and your emotions.
I’d love to hear from you. What is your number one way to reduce the stress in your life? What tips can you share with us to help us in our journey to reduce our stress?