Worry is part of our way of life and I believe that as our world gets more complex and hectic, it’s only intensifying. It’s sometimes difficult to grasp, but the truth is, there are people out there who aren’t worried or stressed all the time — believe me, I’ve met some of them.
So who are these people who aren’t stressed-out 24×7? They’re normal folks, just like you and me and they have the same pressures and time-constraints we all have. So what’s the difference between the stressed and nonstressed people in our world?
Well for one thing, there are people who thrive on stress. Some people need to always be doing and going and they take on much more they can handle – being harried and hopeless gives them a sense of identity and importance. Then, there are those individuals who have worries and stress like everyone else, but they have successfully learned how to manage and minimize the effects of worrying. The good news is, so can you!
Determine the cause of stress
While you can’t control everything all the time, you can better manage how you handle and respond to it. So the first thing to do is acknowledge and accept that you cannot control everything and you cannot be all things at all times.
The next step is to figure out what causes you stress, when and more importantly, why. This is going to require what I call “soul-searching” and it means giving meaningful thought to what is going on in your life…and in your head. Get a feel for what makes you worry and write it down. Yep, I say that often — because it really does work. Make a list (free-style) of anything that comes into your mind as to what makes you worry. Look at that list. Do you really need to be worrying about all of those things? Are they all really that important? What is needed here is a proactive management of the things you perceive as sources of worry or stress.
Be acutely aware
People who are perpetually anxious tend to be looking far into the future and start to imagine various scenarios and outcomes for things that may never happen. Its’ important to be aware of what is going on in the world around you, but also what’s going on in your mind — people who handle stress and worry effectively tend to be focused on the present and manage what they have on their plates now.
Be aware of the times you let your mind stray far off path looking long into the future and try to focus on the present — this better equips us to deal with what we’re experiencing now. It’s like a cumulative effect because as we handle what we have now, we start to see progress and accomplishments and this helps to build up an internal strength, which makes us more effective in handling stress and worry.
Cut yourself some slack
You’re not a Superhero. You can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all. Be mindful not to bite off more than you can chew. I have a friend who has three kids and she is constantly frazzled and always in a manic state. One day I asked her why she was always so busy and she showed me her “to-do list.” It was insane! She was trying to do everything in a single week and before that week was even done, she had committed to doing more things next week…and the week after that. Crazy! What it boiled down to was she never said no. Anyone who asked her to volunteer for a school event or to come to a party or to bake something for a bake sale, she said yes. As she said yes more and more, her ‘to-do list’ became a monster…and a major source of stress, since she felt compelled to do it all.
Don’t! It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say “I’d love to, but I have so many commitments, I just can’t help out this time….”
Cut yourself some slack and make time for you! If you’re always frazzled and worried, you’re no good to yourself or anyone else.
Are you controlling your life, or is it controlling you? It’s your life and you should be making the decision as to what direction you take it in. Be mindful of people or events that try to dictate how your life plays out. Enjoy yourself and embrace the fun and uplifting. Having time to unwind and to celebrate the beauty that surrounds us is vital. If you’re stressing over things and stretching yourself too thin, put a halt to it and make time for you and for doing the things that motivate and inspire you. Once your mind has the opportunity to focus on the uplifting, you’ll be more motivated, which in turn will help you to better handle stress and worry.
Take care of yourself
Eat right. Drink enough water. Get enough sleep. Exercise. A sound body helps to create a sound mind. If you need guidance on health and diet, consult with your Doctor to make sure you’re eating and drinking what’s right for you. If you can’t get your stress levels in check, make the time to get professional guidance from a Therapist or other mental health expert. Never be afraid to seek professional help from a qualified expert — no one can tell you how your life should be, so a qualified professional may be necessary and there is never any shame in that.
Worry and stress are just a part of our hard-wired DNA. I don’t know anyone who is stress free, but some people are better at handling it than others. You can be as well, with the right approach and right attitude. The key is to get ahead of your worry by analyzing it, dissecting it and taking it by the horns. But, don’t stress over how not to stress…just take it one day at a time!