Stress And How To Handle It
Stress is inevitable. Really. Don’t believe those guys who tell you that breathing deep, counting to ten, or creatively visualizing is going to get you out feeling uptight at least now and then.
But that’s okay because feeling stressed is not only unavoidable, it’s normal.
There’s a whole industry, however, that assures us that stress is avoidable when you take XYZ, attend stress-busting classes, or head up to Detox Ville and stay at the all exclusive El Expensivo De Stresso Lodge.
Yet, implicit in any complex life are areas that are hard to handle, and difficult to fix.
Try saying “no” on the phone to your daughter who wants to go out late on Friday night while you’re dealing with a needy client. You’ve got a splitting headache, you’re worried sick about the bills, and you’ve got a list of to do’s as long as giraffe’s leg. Of course you’re stressed.
So the first step to handling pressure is to admit that it’s there and part of life’s package. If we decide to raise a family, have a career, do community activities, and pursue our hobbies, then we are putting an awful lot into our waking hours. Yet, we expect that we shouldn’t be feeling stressed? How reasonable is that?
So here’s another tip: eliminate the non-essential. I’m not suggesting cryogenically freezing the kids until you’re feeling less busy. Merely, that some things aren’t as imperative as we think. Got to entertain? Not really. Have to have the place in an immaculate state? It would be nice, but it’s not necessary.
Like so many musts, they actually are wants and obligations in disguise. At times it’s better to let go and leave things, if you want to live well.
Now it’s totally true that the way you think determines how stressed you get. You know yourself that, at times, you feel like you are at the end of your tether and it barely takes a touch to tip you over the edge. Thinking makes it so, and that’s why it also brings relief.
I won’t go into the many techniques you can use to reduce your stress levels because there are thousands of books on the subject. If you want to read some, I especially recommend those written by psychologists or psychiatrists, as these people are trained in equipping people with tried and true tools to lengthen or put out an unstable stress fuse.
So remember thinking represents a powerful measure to help you manage the tension.
What else? Try time out. Right now, Ruth and I are in a remote part of Tasmania where there are no phones and definitely no Internet. So, if you’re reading this post now you know I’ve driven up a long dirt road around midnight, dodging possums and kangaroos until I’ve found a high enough ground to get into range. But, apart from that, we’re taking two nights out to take a break (and it’s great).
Find what works for you. Accept that stress is normal. Cut loose any extras. Read about techniques to help you think more resiliently, and let yourself off the hook now and then. These things work. But only… if you apply them.
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