If you’ve been advancing through the 4-step process to better manage your stress, you have officially made it half way! You have identified the major stressors in your life and begun to avoid the unnecessary stressors that are within your control. In the next step, you will continue to learn how to identify and deal with stressful situations that are often times aren’t quite as controllable as those in step 2. Already, you should be feeling a little bit of stress relief and you should be proud of yourself for making it this far, but just imagine how you will feel after completing the full 4-step process.
For now, let’s more on to step 3 in this series on managing stress.
3. Acknowledge and accept that some things are out of your control.
Let’s face it, some sources of stress in your life are completely out of your direct control. A difficult boss, or a demanding class, cannot possibly be completely avoided. Often times, the fact that you try so hard to alter these stressful situations can cause more anxiety than ever. However, at this point, the best thing you can do is fully acknowledge and accept that these situations are totally out of your control and do something to change yourself instead.
Begin by taking a look at your stress journal. Are things that are beyond your control causing you stress? If you answered yes, then next comes understanding that although the situation or stressor cannot be changed, you can change how you react. Try looking at the situation from a different perspective, reframe the problem, or look for an upside to the situation. If you get stuck in a traffic jam, look at it as the perfect time to rock out to the radio. If your boss hands you extra work at the last minute, consider it a compliment that he/she chose you to complete the project. In any difficult situation it is always best to focus on the positive, and by doing so your stress levels will diminish immensely.
By focusing on life’s big picture rather than the day-to-day stressors you will realize how little some things matter. When something gets you riled up, ask yourself whether it will matter in a year? A month? Or even the next day? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, then why stress about it? This is how, in the day-to-day life you lead, you recognize and manage stress. Realizing that something won’t impact your life in the long run completely changes how you view the situation and more importantly, how you react to it.
Breathing and relaxation techniques are more great ways to start to control how you react to a potentially stressful situation. Whether you prefer to simply close your eyes and count to 5, practice mindful yoga, or just go for a short mind-clearing walk, you are allowing your body to combat negative and stressful emotions. You can easily find other great ways to practice simple relaxation techniques on the awesome blog Living By Design, that is dedicated to teaching people how to live a calming lifestyle.
By acknowledging and accepting that some things are out of your control and sticking to these simple yet life-changing techniques, your stress level will change dramatically. You may not be removing the cause of the stress, but by calming and controlling your feelings and reactions, you will not even feel stressed! This is a key component of managing stress.
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