Reduce Stress Today: Part One
Are you feeling stressed out? Did you know people react differently to stress and consequently it is hard to define? It is tied up in psychological, physiological and emotional bundles and depending on an individual’s coping mechanism it can be viewed as positive or negative. Check out these strategies to living a less stressful life.
Embrace Change: One thing is for certain, change has been with us, change is with us and change will come again. I look back at my parents who experienced three world wars, watched in awe as the horse and buggy gave away to the automobile, the automobile to air travel and air travel to space travel, and the industrial economy to the dawning of the knowledge economy. I look around today and find the emergence of the third world countries, the global approach to economic strength, climate change, the re-ordering of business structures, the decline in religious institutions, the increase in the speed by which we can connect to others, and our instant access to global events. I look ahead and foresee a smaller world but access to a bigger universe, space travel, building my own artefacts through 3D printing, face time giving way to holographic imaging, improved democratic institutions, advanced medical breakthroughs, unique niches gone global, greater tolerance among religious institutions and the rise of a shared spirituality among all cultures. Not all change is positive and we need to be vigilant as we go forward; but those that embrace change as a constant in life will have greater stress coping mechanisms than those who war against every change that happens- whether it is big or small. Embracing change reduces stress.
Be Open to Learning: Learning is change’s best friend. Can we accept change and not learn from it? The short answer is yes. We may view change as inevitable but not change the way we act or our approach to life in general. Some individuals stop learning once they receive a formal education, forgetting that an education is just the door opener to life-long learning. Other individuals keep themselves current on technical matters but avoid changing personal behaviors. The former is easier because it is an intellectual exercise, the latter is harder because we need to integrate intellectual awareness with emotional acceptance. Opening ourselves to learning from life experiences reduces stress as it gives us permission to positively make changes for a better life. Being open to life’s lessons through learning reduces stress.
Get Back in Control: Individuals often attempt to do too much within the time that they have and consequently they are always behind the proverbial eight ball. Most of us have a time piece of some sort. It indicates that we only have 24 hours in a day. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in those 24 hours and plan accordingly. Forget about thinking vertically – how much you can do in a day – and think horizontally – how much you can accomplish in a week. Break down your tasks and spread them out over the week, allowing time for the other important values you hold for family, friends, and community. One of the best programs to help you get back in control is offered worldwide by Priority Management. Getting back in control reduces stress.
Focus On the Important: There are two areas in our work and personal life where we need to focus our priorities. Those things that are important and urgent – if we don’t get them done, we are in deep trouble; and those things that are important and not so urgent – if we don’t get them done, we will soon be in deep trouble. If we are constantly beating the important and urgent drum, we are usually stressed out; if we procrastinate on the important and not so urgent we will add to our stress because soon those things will become important and urgent. Block out some time each day to work on both areas. At the end of the day check off the tasks that relate to each, and identify three priorities you intend to work on tomorrow. This way you will always focus on the important and reduce your stress about those less important matters. Focusing on the important reduces stress.
Find Joy In Your Work: A recent Gallop poll found that 70% of Americans are disengaged from their work. This is a sad situation. Too many people stay in positions where they no longer fit, are unhappy, or lack the energy to fully contribute. This affects their well-being at work and at home. When you don’t enjoy what you do you add unnecessary stress to your life. Those who do find joy in their work are successful and happy. People who are happy in their work share their joy with others, are easier to work with and are sought out by others. This is all about finding your true calling and connecting the dots between who you are with what you do. Finding joy in your work reduces stress.
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