Wednesday, August 15, 2012

how to stress less: 4 tips to change your thoughts and feel happier.

Almost as soon as I posted the first tip in the "How to Stress Less" series, Dalyce emailed me to say that she loved it and wanted to write a guest post. I've been reading her blog, Finding the TRUE, for months now and love her positive approach to life, so I was excited to read her four tips for feeling less stressed: 


Oh, stress. 

In today's society, stress is sometimes worn as a badge of honor--a check to show others we are "making" it in life. 

We are busy, sleep-deprived, overwhelmed and these things seem to add up to we are productive, accomplished, amazing!

We are caught up in some funny trap where stress equates success.  So it is then--our ideas and thoughts about what we're doing and what we (and others) "should be" doing is what stresses us out the most.

So, I declare, that by checking out our minds in depth, we can reduce the levels of stress we face in our daily lives.

1) Check in (DE-VICTIMIZE): When the pressures of stress overwhelm you, check into your heart and mind and ask the hard question: "What am I doing to create this problem?"  I can honestly tell you that although the issue may arise from outside of ourselves (a deadline to meet, conflict with others, etc.) the way we react to it is the cause of our stress response.  Be brave, be honest.  What are you doing to make this more difficult?  Make sure you aren't victimizing yourself in the process.  Saying things like: "She always wants me to fail" or "Nobody would want what I have to offer" are simply lies we tell ourselves in order to stay small.

2) Check out (UNPLUG IT): In today's information laden, technologically crazed society, things can really start to pile up and cause stress where none is necessary.  So, check out.  Unplug the internet.  Turn off the phone and get centered in whatever activity fills up your spirit: art, running, talking with a friend face to face IN REAL LIFE.  Whatever you can do to fill up your soul--go do it.

3) Speak the truth (ASK): Please, ask for help.  When things get to be too much, or better, BEFORE they get to be too much, ask someone to help you.  Or if it is your own project that stresses you, ask yourself for help.  What would help you right now to make this easier? Also, don't assume others understand where you are coming from or what you are going through, or how their inaction affects your well-being.  They don't.  Tell people what is happening and how they can help.   Ask them to pick up the slack, and do so in a way that is kind and clear. Stop writing the mental list of how much more you do than others (see tip # 1).  You are only damaging yourself.  Don't be proud, don't be shy and don't tell yourself that asking for help is a sign of weakness.  It is rather a sign of great intelligence and at the end of it all, by asking someone to help, you are creating community, which a great thing in itself.

4) Accept it (BE KIND TO YOU): There are moments when life sucks.  There's just no getting around it.  Believe me, I know: I have lost some beautiful people to early deaths.  Understanding and accepting that life is hard at times, is essential to abating stress.  The thing is this: life is also really wonderful (like when those people were around).  Acceptance can be hard, I won't sugar coat it, but a focus on the positive helps the bitter medicines go down. 

Hey, I am no expert; these are methods I have personally used and continue to use daily.  Stress will never completely leave our lives, but there are ways that we can be the advocates to keeps our brains, hearts and spirits healthy, happy AND successful.

Thank you, Dalyce! I know I'm guilty of victimizing myself and I definitely need to unplug more often! I also love the idea of asking yourself for help; I often make things harder than they need to be.

See more tips on how to stress less.

If you would like to write a guest post, email me at ajigreer [at] gmail [dot] com.

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