Dear Stress, Let’s Break Up

Over the last year, I’ve learned a lesson that will serve me for a lifetime and I now have the key that unlocks the door to a less stressful life! Notice, I said “less stressful” because I believe that anyone telling you life can be STRESS FREE is being impractical.  We’re human, we get stressed at times, and that’s perfectly normal.  It’s more about how we can take control of our stress, rather than letting the stress control us.  Here are three easy steps to gaining control over your stress:

  1. Acknowledge the stress factor.
  2. Manage it.
  3. Minimize it.

Acknowledge the stress factor

When you find yourself becoming stressed, take a step back and try this:

  • Identify what the stressor is and if there are several stressors, write them down.  Note:  This is not to overwhelm you by looking at a list of stressful things, rather it will help you break things down into clusters instead of one big ball of stress.

Manage it

Once you identify what your stress factors are, you are ready to strategize ways to manage those stress factors.  Here are some examples:

  • Maybe you’ve identified that your stress factor is an unhealthy relationship in your life that’s weighing you down (a relative, close friend, etc…).  Take control and manage this stress factor by confronting this person, asking for advice from a trusted resource, or possibly even cutting ties with that person and eliminating that unhealthy relationship from your life.
  • If you’ve identified that your stress factor is often times not getting things done throughout the week, you could be dealing with a time-management issue.  So, manage that issue by finding some time-management tools or resources that can help you take control of your schedule and get back on track.

The examples listed above both require action after identifying the stress factors, but I want to also let you know that it’s OK to sometimes do nothing at all.  What I mean by this is that many times, we become even more stressed by thinking we have to take action at once – we live in a society of instant gratification.  Sometimes, a way to manage your stress factor is to just let it be until you’re ready to confront it…and that’s OK, too!  You be the judge of that.

Minimize it

Stress factors will always exist.  The important thing is that we’re ready with our game face on for when we encounter them!  After acknowledging and managing your stress factors, you’ve then minimized them – creating a less stressful life for yourself.

The neat thing about the three steps above is that you can simply hit that “reset” button and repeat the steps with each stressful situation you encounter.  Always remember that YOU are in control!

– Jen

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