Stress is something we all have to deal with. Whether that stress evolves around work deadlines or an argument within your relationship, no matter the situation stress is going to inevitably impact our lives in some way.
“Works really stressful right now”.
It’s a sentence we’ve all said before, and for me, a sentence that’s almost become accepted as either you’re working hard or you’re busy with work. A sentence that’s almost now perceived as a positive one too, as the perception around being busy for most people, makes the person who’s stressed at work look important and valued within their role.
But that throwaway sentence of “I’m stressed” may be a bigger issue than we first think. Stress has become one of the biggest reasons why someone might take a sick day from work, stress can highly impact your productivity and satisfaction at work and more dangerously too much stress can affect your mental and physical wellbeing.
Now before you tell me that life isn’t all clouds and rainbows and that stress is just a way of life, I too believe stress sometimes should be welcomed. We sometimes become more resilient, we have to deal with things head on, we sometimes become more motivated and of course we learn to appreciate the good times more when we deal with stress.
But the big question is: How much of the stress you’re complaining about is actually your fault?
Could we deal with stress easier by changing the way we think about it?
Is there a way to simply stop stressing out?
Personally, I used to be a big worrier. My stress levels would get high very quickly, and I’d worry about making mistakes or offending others. I found myself constantly on edge. But then I realised…
A lot of what I stress about is out of my control.
A lot of what I stress about is because of other people.
A lot of what I stress about is because of what I’ve already done or things I think will happen.
Is this stress that I’m struggling to deal with actually, my fault?
When I realised that I should only focus on what I can personally control, things started to change. When I came to the conclusion that stressing about what other people think, stressing about what ‘could’ happen, stressing about mistakes I’ve made already and stressing about the lack of support from others was never going to change unless I decided to change the way I thought about it.
The depression I was in came from living in the past, and trying to control what had already happened.
The anxiety I suffered with came from living in the future, worrying about what could happen.
The stress I struggled to deal with came from a combination of both.
But realising that in a lot of cases, the stress that we’re feeling is often deprived from things we’ll never be able to directly control. You’ll never fully be able to change someones opinion of you, you’ll never be able to change a mistake you’ve made in the past, you’ll never be able to directly control what’s going to happen in the future, so instead, choosing to control the way we deal and react to that stress is something that’s far more achievable.
It’s a simple shift in thought that allowed me to deal with stress easier, and it’s something everyone else can do too.
Now a click of the fingers isn’t going to change years of conditioning around dealing with stress, but with time your coping mechanisms can change. And it starts today…
What are you stressing about right now?
Is there anything you can physically or directly too to change that situation?
Will that situation or stress be something you’re still having to deal with in a years time? 5 years time? 10 years time?
Could you, change your approach to that situation that could lessen the stress?
All change starts from within, and even though you’ve been conditioned to stress about things out of your control with time it can get easier.
Instead of letting stress drag you down, now, use it to your advantage to learn and see it as an opportunity for growth.
Here’s 7 quick-fire ways to help deal with stress too…
1. Accept It’s Going To Happen
Alongside changing your perspective of the situation that’s causing stress, accept that it’s going to happen. It’s not about reducing stress in your life, it’s about being able to accept and deal with stress that comes into your life.
2. Simplify Things
We often cause stress ourselves by setting high expectations, chasing status and trying to please others. Instead, simplify life. Minimalism is something we can all learn from, and stripping your life back as much as possible whilst still being happy can massively reduce stress.
3. Switch Off
When we’re stressed, it’s important to force yourself to switch off and relax. Take care of you! Whether it’s going for a walk, exercising, reading, taking a bath or even listening to music switching off can help reduce stress.
4. Perspective is Everything
Is what you’re stressing about something you’ve been able to deal with before? In comparison to things you’ve had to deal with in the past, is this stress warranted? Is there someone out there going through something far worse than this right now? Reframe your stress, put it into perspective and realise things could be a lot worse.
5. Focus On Your Wellbeing
When we’re physically and mentally well we manage and deal with stress better. Thinking about your nutrition, exercise, your relationships, how fulfilling your life is right now… focus on your wellbeing as this can better equip you when stress arises.
6. Avoid Negativity
When we’re feeling stressed we often attract more negativity. Whether we deal with that stress by drinking alcohol, eating junk, getting angry, feeling frustrated or arguing with our loved ones try to avoid negativity at all costs. Stress makes us feel down, so instead, try to surround yourself with positivity in the form of people, books, videos and environments.
Lack of sleep can often lead us to reacting to stressful situations, rather than proactively looking for solutions. Making sure you’ve been getting enough quality sleep is vital, and having a night time routine can help that.
How do you deal with stress?
Let me know in the comments below!