If your life is filled with stress, and you feel at the end of your tether both emotionally and physically, it’s time you learnt to deal with it better. There are a wide number of ways to manage and cope with stress, but they all require change. You can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose, it’s helpful to think of the four As: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
So you have two alternatives.
Change the situation:
- Avoid the stressor.
- Alter the stressor.
Change your reaction:
- Adapt to the stressor.
- Accept the stressor.
Let us look at these in a bit more detail:
1. Avoid the Stressor
Of course you cannot avoid stress altogether, but there are many stressors that you simply could eliminate.
- Start using the magic word “no”. Whether in your personal or professional life, refuse to accept added responsibilities when you’re close to reaching them. Taking on more than you can handle is a huge stressor. Most of the time you mean well, but you’re doing an injustice to yourself. So if you want to get the better of stress start saying, ‘No!’
- Avoid those who are a pain in your backside. Look we all have them, people who just stress us out. Every time we come into contact with them they consistently causes us stress. Either avoid them, end your relationship or at worst limit the amount of time you spend with that person. You know who I mean, that negative, constant moaner, that person who you see walking up the street towards you, and all you want to do is hide. Well be done with them. It’s for your own good.
- Take control of your living environment. I assure you clutter around the house causes stress. So stop letting the washing up pile up, dirty clothes heaped on the floor, or paperwork cluttering up your dining room table. When you return to the sanctity of your home make sure its warm, welcoming and tidy. If that means you need to do a ‘spring cleaning’ weekend then get to it. Stop hording those things that are in truth never going to get used again and send them off to charity shop locally.
- Trim down your to-do list. Stop trying to get everything done in one day. Stop setting yourself impossible deadlines. Get yourself un-busy. Start to analyse your schedule, home and work, responsibilities, duties and daily tasks. Start operating sensibly, and get rid of those tasks that aren’t truly necessary and focus your time on the important things.
- Deal with impending problems. You already know those situations that you think sometime ahead will blow up and cause you problems. You’re already worrying about them, despite the fact nothing has happened. You expect impending disaster. Well don’t wait, deal with it now. Do whatever is necessary to put a solution in place now, so it never becomes a problem.
2. Alter the stressor
So ok, you can’t avoid this stressful situation, then instead alter it. We are very adaptable, and we can look at different situations in different ways. If the methods you have been using to this point aren’t working, try to come up with a different way. Remember often it is our reactions to something that cause us stress, not the thing itself.
- Stop bottling up your emotions. Ok, ok, I know I have many manly men reading here, and of course we don’t cry do we. But if something or someone is annoying us, causing us upset, well truly pissing us off, isn’t it about time instead of holding our feelings in, we actually communicate to them our true feelings. You don’t have to do it in a nasty or angry way, show them respect but explain to them how you feel and why. your concerns in an open and respectful way. More times than not you can clear the air and get things far better. Give this a try.
- Meet in the middle. Time to become a diplomat. You know what they do, they seek the middle ground and reach a compromise. So whatever it is that stressing you out, or maybe it’s whoever, look at the situation, and instead of just seeing black or white, find the grey area, where things will be much better. I am always looking for the win-win situations with everyone and everything I do. It’s a great way of being, and keeps conflict out of your life.
- Be Strong. Stop whining, stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stand strong and take control of your life. Start taking action, no longer bury things under the carpet. Face them head on, knowing that you can, and victory is waiting for you. When you begin being assertive, putting yourself on the line, an amazing thing happens, stress reduces,
- Stop Wasting Your Time. What I hear a lot, is how people never have enough time to do what they want. They are always bleating about how difficult time management is for them. There is no doubt when you manage time badly it can be extremely stressful. There are so many ways to handle time better, you just have to spend a little time reading. Hey, there are a lot of time management Articles on my blog, so no excuses. Once you take control of your day, no longer wasting time on unimportant tasks, working to a firm schedule things will improve for you dramatically.
3. Adapt to the stressor
When you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. Stop being stuck in your ways. Get your act together, the way you have been hasn’t worked, so try a new approach. Let’s get your expectations and attitude right, stop thinking about worst case scenario.
- Every Cloud has a Silver Lining. Reframe the way you see things. Look for the positive in everyone and everything. This change in perspective is so empowering. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. From now on let your glass be half full not half empty. When you start seeing the good in everything, you will truly start to see life in such a better way.
- Look at the big picture. How important will this situation be in the grand scheme of things? Will it matter in a week, a month, a year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere. The time has come where you realise that you have dreams to fulfil, now see yourself achieving them, and no longer let every little problem knock you out of your stride. When you are goal orientated, you know where you want to go, many of these problems just fall into the nothingness that they really are.
- Lower your Sights. My hands are up, I admit I was once a perfectionist. I set myself unbelievably high standards. I constantly put myself under unnecessary pressure. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.” You never know your good enough maybe brilliant in the eyes of others.
- Show Gratitude. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life. Even when much around us is in turmoil you can always find things to be grateful for. Look and you will find.
- Can it Hurt You? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Look seriously how bad a problem is it. This thing that is causing you stress. What’s the worst that can happen. Really? That’s bad, so what are you doing about it. Get off your ‘Ass’ and brainstorm if you have to, find a solution. Don’t stop until you do. Never give up on yourself, defeat is only temporary as long as you keep fighting. I know you are special, now start showing it.
4. Accept the stressor
Something we can’t change. Some things in life are unavoidable. When I got into my brand new car yesterday, was there anything I could do about the fact that in the middle of the night somebody had driven into the side of my car, leaving nothing but dents and broken glass. Of course I wasn’t jumping for joy, but what could I do.
- Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control. You can’t prevent or change what has happened. I know in life we face terrible moments. Someone we love may have passed away, we may be fighting a serious illness, or maybe you’ve lost your job. We can do nothing other than accept these things. My fathers saying is ‘shit happens’. Accept it, and move on. I know it’s easier said than done, but why waste energy and time trying to change the unchangeable. Focus on the things you can control, particular choose the right reaction to your problems.
- Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. Isn’t it better to find the good in a bad situation, rather than beat yourself up about this bad thing that has happened. It was like when my sister died, I knew she was going to a better place, at last she would be at peace. I missed her badly of course I did, but for her maybe, just maybe she could now find happiness.
- Vent your frustrations. I’ve already said stop holding things in. Your best friend cares about you, so speak to them. Tell them what’s happened, how you are feeling, maybe they can help you. What I know is when you let things out, you feel better within yourself. A problem shared as the saying goes, may not change the situation, but it will help you, because its better out than in. You also no doubts will get support from your friend.
- Stop being a miserable git. Forgiveness is such an important personality trait. Instead of allowing yourself to de-energise yourself with anger, revenge and hatred, just let it go. It hurts nobody but yourself. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on. I promise this is a very powerful way to reduce your stress.
I hope you my readers will forgive my approach today, I know its not my nicey nice manner, in fact it is slightly aggressive. I have done this intentionally. I am a Stress Management Coach, and as you know write many articles on the subject. There are times when one has to be what they call ‘in your face’ when getting a message across is so important. So today I am trying to ram my message home. Only you can get the stress in your life under control, you truly can do it, you just have to take action, make changes, and your life will be transformed. So please, just do it, start using these strategies, and the others I’m writing about.
I know that an hours free Skype coaching call will do you wonders, so if stress and you is like a losing battle, give yourself the support of me the coach. I will repeat an hour will cost you nothing, but give you loads.
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I liked the aggression Larry. Sometimes it really works to get a person out of that self wallowing in pity. Great post
Rimly somethimes the softly softly approach works best, and sometimes it’s the in your face one. I try and deliver what iu have to say in as many ways as possible so everyone will get some benefit out of my articles
I wish I was the type of person who adapted, but I’m more the one who runs away.
JR nothing is set in stone, we may be one way now but we can learn to change, we can adapt. You just have to want to!
Real good…Avoid, Address, Adapt, Accept….Easy to choose with four words whats best in each case
Once we know what we’ve got to do, then we just have to do it
Great tips Larry! I always enjoy stopping by 🙂
Jessica always love knowing you’ve come by
Larry this is a fantastic post filled with some great tips to combat stress. It’s so easy to get stressed, we have such fast lifestyles, rushing around, wanting everything now. We work hard and play hard.
Funnily enough one of my main goals in life is to have less stress in my life – the more successful I become the more stressed I too become and reading motivational blogs like yours really does help me 🙂
Great post! Reminds me of the quote by Mahatma Gandhi “Be the change you wish to see in the world” Many times we try to control things around us thinking that we can change them but we hardly realize that what is going to happen will happen. It is only YOU on which you have control. So it is best to hope the best and prepare for the worst.
Thank you as always Alpana
John, we certainly have the power over ourselves, the day we chosse to take control over our own lives, my belief is we can create the life we want, more through belief than hope
Stress is something I have had to deal with on a daily basis. Great tips and tricks Larry! I have to do many things to help and sometimes it takes walking away for a bit.
Great post. I would like to emphasize one thing – very often people stress over things they cannot change. This kind of behavior is one of the worst things you can do. The best thing to do is leave those things alone. It is wise to focus on positive and positive future instead.