Life is hectic. Do you ever catch yourself wondering how do you handle all these never-ending to-do lists? How do you master catching up with your busy schedule striving to do things on time?
You might be traveling around the world or jump from one meeting to another meeting many people in one day… BOOM! Then often comes a time when you start to feel that weird strain, that awful sensation of being squashed between your shoulders with one desire in your mind: to have a break and catch your breath a little.
Take a step back and think for a moment. See a bigger picture by stepping outside of the problem. See that “picture” and analyze. What could cause your stress level to be that high? Is it that presentation deadline that is catching up with you and you think you won’t make it on time? Is it some personal problem you’re facing, some major changes in your life? Or maybe you have some unresolved conflicts with your values and beliefs? Take whatever the time you need to find out what bothers you the most.
Switch The Drama Queen OFF
We all know full well how easy it is to give in to panic and to dramatize and even make a mountain out of a molehill. When the problem is hitting, you don’t act on the impulse to exaggerate and increase your negative view of things. Avoid the words “always” and “when.” Try saying “I can manage,” “It’s okay” and “I am stronger than this,” – it helps to look at the problem differently.
Choose your Reaction
Even though you might feel slightly helpless in turning things around to fight the source of your stress, it’s always up to you what your response would be like. Some people might choose to shake it off and ignore “minor problems” while others face it heads on. Now think about questions:
1. Does it matter? Or maybe there is some overreaction involved?
2. What is the level of control? You cannot erase the clouds from the sky to control the weather, but you can always control how well your presentation might go tomorrow in front of the colleagues.
3. Where is your stress now? Past, present or future? OK, here we are. We cannot possibly change our past; without our experience, we could have been a different person today. All we should do is to be grateful for every single lesson we’ve learned, make our peace with it and move on. We can respond to our present with our guts full of anticipation like we used to have when we were kids. And the future should bring new things that will only make us better and wiser. No need to worry.
4. Turning the mindfulness on. Shift your focus a little bit from the causes that bring you nothing but stress. Instead, focus on solutions and implement each solution step by step.
Get Away From the Source for a While
Do you have a special place where you go whenever you need to recharge? Go there for a while. It can be some cozy place in your favorite park with a lake, or it can be a nice meadow in a village, the river bank or a zen garden you’ve created in your mind. Whatever works for you – go there. Shake it all off. Recharge. Breathe deeply.
Choose Your Tactics
Don’t rush into things. Take it to step by step. Choose your tactics wisely to save yourself energy. Why do you need a plan? Because sometimes it is impossible to resolve a situation with a single action. That is why a proper planning technique is beneficial. Then focus on one step at a time that will bring you closer to your goal.
Decide when you’re ready and face the source of your stress. Sitting there procrastinating and worrying will hardly solve any problem. But when you choose to meet that situation spot on, that is where you understand that it should not be ignored any longer. Once the situation is resolved the stress is no longer in power and loses its ability to worry you.
Say NO to Alcohol and Self-Medication
The alcohol and other substances are never there for you to solve any problem or provide you with answers. It only gives you a counterproductive ability to forget about all of the daily questions and problems… And when the state of “don’t care” wears off your problems are still there for you without any change and resolution.
It’s Not a Blame Game
Never blame yourself or anybody for the situation that is revolving around you at the moment. Sometimes it seems unbearable to solve everything just in a matter of one minute. Never give up on yourself or fly into a self-abusive land of misery. It’s very counterproductive and will never solve anything. Gain your confidence and put yourself back on the track.
Out of Your Mind, Away From Your Chest
If you have someone to discuss your current situation with, don’t hesitate to do that. If you are more comfortable in solving your stress privately, take it out of your mind by writing it down in a diary. I was surprised by how helpful it can be. Sometimes people can be judgmental. Even the most understanding and loving friends tend to judge once in a while. That is why a quiet time with you, your pen and a piece of paper sometimes can do you far more good than a long talk over a coffee about how your current situation might suck.
Be Wise Enough to Avoid Swearing
It is a common delusion that swearing helps you in releasing your stress fumes, where, in fact, it only makes you more aggressive, unreasonable and out of balance. Never dump your stuff on others around you; it might make things worse. Find a sustainable way to release your anger and the feeling of unfairness. Let your emotions away in a peaceful manner. Go for a run. It helps. Meditation will always calm you down, and some peaceful music will help to enhance its positive effect even more. Try it. Or run yourself a nice bath with bubbles and some salts and light up some candles. Water will wash away your stress and will relax your body while the candlelight will rid you of any remaining negative energy. Nothing but serenity will appear afterward.
Coming Back to The Plan
Again. Shift your focus to all of those things that need to be done. Dig yourself out of procrastination and pointless worrying state. Have your plan of actions ready in front of you and take the first little step in the direction of making things better one by one. Make sure you are acknowledging the progress. It feels better to be productive and in control, right?
Recall 3 to 5 situations that caused you to stress in the past. Recall how swiftly you found some good solutions and came out of that situation as a sole winner! Remember that feeling of the solid state of confidence? Call for it. Experience it one more time with every bit of your mind. How does it feel to be confident about what you do? How does it feel to be in control? Let the positive experience from your past of resolving problems guide you wisely through the new challenges you are facing now. Today you are stronger than yesterday. You can do it just like you did it before!
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