Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Is Life too Stressful? A Different Take on Handling Stress

There’s a lot of people in this world who feel ‘stressed.’ PicsArt camera app

Many of us have attended workshops titled ‘What is stress?’,  ‘How to handle stress’ etc. They offer basic  practical tips, but do they really address our underlying behaviours and motivation, or why we might react in this way?  With a little reading, I discovered a different way of looking at, and handling, stress.

Marc and Angel recently posted on their blog about the thinking processes behind one’s own personal feelings of stress.  They believe that ultimately it is one’s own behaviour, (not good luck or lack thereof), that impacts most, on whether a person feels happy and successful, or not.  By ‘behaviour’, Marc and Angel are referring to:

How you react under stress.  Whether you decide to meet your commitments or not.  How you communicate and interact with loved ones.  Your attitude toward bosses, colleagues, employees, and customers.  How hard you’re willing to work to do a job right.  Whether you’re focused and disciplined or scattered-brained and distracted.

Some people certainly have more than their share of bad luck; others may experience a lack of opportunity, in life, through circumstances totally out of their control, and this of course, will impact on their stress levels, and how their life pans out.  Others might manage to cope and even be successful for a time, muddling through, until the pressures in their personal, or professional lives build and boil over into feelings of STRESS. It is then they might find they react with self-destructive behaviors, or other actions that cause them even more personal grief. These behaviours often affect those closest to them in a very detrimental way. Do you recognize any of the commonly beliefs or behaviours that may trigger stress, outlined below?

Belief 1

“It is all too hard! I don’t have time”

Do you believe life is too hard for/on you?  Is it too hard to find time to exercise or get fit, resolve conflicts with loved ones, spend with your family, or follow-up on an opportunity? Marc and Angel believe that “You are where you are because of the choices you’ve made in the past.”  It really is just as easy to develop good habits as bad ones.

All of us make a choice to go online, watch TV, or spend time with the family; we also have the choice to work on a special project, go to the gym or further our education, and even the choice to show kindness and concern to those around us, just as much as we have the choice to sit, sleep in, or chill out and let things slide.

It takes around three full weeks to begin to develop a new habit and building a new habit, every day, IS hard work. However, hard work pays off and this has to be a personal choice one consciously makes, and that choice is relatively easy. It might be even easier for you to think that life has thrown you a curve ball and that this effectively prevents you having any choice in the matter. If you do happen to think this, ask yourself if you really want to put in the hard yards to effect real change in your life? Then hang in there for the three weeks, and see if it is easier to keep it going, after that. Develop a habit that will help you deal with your inner stress. Use a star chart/reward system or whatever works for you. The first day you miss, in those first three weeks, might break the whole habit, so hang in there and persist!!

Belief 2

“It’s Not My Fault” – Shifting the blame

When we consider our motives and those of others, we often look for who is at fault and this inadvertently causes stressful feelings in us, because we feel it is unfair/unjust. Some of us blame family, friends, parents, teachers, the education system, work bosses, even the government. Many times I have been guilty of this very thing, yet I like to believe I am the one who is in full control of how I choose to deal with my life! So how can I blame external people or things for taking the ‘responsibility’ for my personal actions? I can’t as I am the one with that responsibility. If I want to grow and move on with my life, I have to accept responsibility for the whole of my life, as the only person that can really do this is ME. This gives me choice and with it, the confidence to tackle life’s crises, as opposed to feeling stressed that everything negative that happens in my life, is completely out of my control.

 “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”  [Sigmund Freud]Don’t let this be you.

When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibilityyou surrender full power over that part of your life.  In reality, the price of happiness and success IS responsibility.  And no one else is responsible for you. [Marc and Angel]*Europe 2011second batch 016

 

Belief 3

People Can’t be Trusted

I know a few people who find it extremely hard to fully trust anyone. Of course, some level of discernment is a natural defense mechanism that we use to protect ourselves, but most successful people don’t assume that the world is out to ‘get’ them.  They are relatively trusting of others to do the right thing/task. In doing this, they build up a supportive community around them, by conveying trust by their words and actions.

Contrast this with someone who is suspicious and distrusting of others, who must do or verify everything themself. These are people who are full of negativity and this closes the door to any new friendships and possibilities. This belief causes loads of stress and physical fatigue, as they attempt to analyze the intentions of those they interact with, on a daily basis. This self-destructive behaviour, which they falsely believe will protect them, will in fact cause them anxiety and stress.

Trust grows trust. Distrust breeds suspicion. There  are many more good people than bad in this world. You are one of them.

Belief 4 

Others seem to Manage

Comparing our situation with other people’s, seems to not only elevate stress levels, but also makes us feel less competent, in an instant.

Marc and Angel explain this one better than I can:

Don’t let envy (or jealousy) get the best of you.  Envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own – there’s nothing attractive or admirable about this behavior.  So stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s.  Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.*

Belief 5

Expectations – they ‘should’ have …

Expectations breed disappointment and stress. Has anyone ever felt every expectation was fully met? I doubt it. Many conversations  I hear, revolve around working out why others around them have said, or did, this or that and what the others, in their opinion, should have done. These “shoulds” are statement that are difficult or near impossible to fulfill. Try not to have expectations of others. Rather, believe that most people are out there, trying to ‘be’ the best they can be, with what they have got, and with the information to hand, at that very moment in time.  It may not be right, we might not agree with it, but we cannot expect any more than this.

A Final Word

Life is Dynamic, full of change, drama and is often unpredictable. It can be scary, but the universe has a plan and it is always in motion. This is beautifully summed up by these wise words from Marc and Angel:

Some of the great moments in your life won’t necessarily be the things you do; they’ll be things that happen to you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life.  You have to take action, and you will.  But don’t forget that on any day, you can step out the front door and your whole life can change in an instant – for better or worse.  To an extent, the universe has a plan that’s always in motion.  A butterfly flaps its wings and it starts to rain – it’s a scary thought, but it’s part of life’s cycle.  All these little parts of the machine, constantly working – sometimes forcing you to struggle, and sometimes making sure you end up exactly in the right place at the right time.*

Questioning our underlying beliefs may assist in reducing the extent to which we feel stressed and this, in turn, may help us to modify those undesirable behaviours that can be destructive. Eliminating expectations and comparisons with others, might change how we ourselves react to stressful feelings, and gives us confidence to take responsibility for our own life. Developing new habits to deal with stress, takes persistence, but carries with it a multitude of benefits.IMG_9148

 

 

How we can handle Stress is Something to Ponder About

Community, Mental Health, Motivational

Old Habits that make you Unhappy

Marc and Angel always have incredibly profound words for me. I have abridged their content and distilled the essence of their words to the all important phrases and added some ideas from my own experiences. I hope these have meaning for you. They definitely have meaning for me.DSC_0142

Are your habits and routines sucking up your happiness?

Oftentimes we unknowingly hold on to little, obsessive habits that cause us a great deal of stress and unhappiness.  Even when we feel that something is wrong, we fail to seek the changes we need to make and instead cling to what’s not working, simply because it’s what we’re accustomed to. It is familiarity, that makes us feel secure, whilst causing us unnecessary stress. It’s time to give up the habits that no longer serve your well-being and embrace the positive changes you need to be happy.

Today is the perfect day to give up…

The need to be busy.

Busyness is often confused with productivity.  They are two different things.  Busy is running in place on a treadmill; productivity is actually getting somewhere worthwhile.  These days technology gives us this constant feeling that there is so much to do and not enough time to do it We are always connected to something that wants our attention, or something that could be done.  This feeling creates stress.  The more behind you think you are, the more stressed out you are going to feel.

Stress is not good for you.  It makes it difficult to think, connect with others and it is associated with a plethora of physical ailments that lead to unhappiness.

Tip:  Stop trying to be busy.  Put first things first and give up the rest.  Organization, meditation, improved time management and efficiency and a change in perception are all ways to manage stress.  You must learn to let go.  Release the excess.  You were never able to do it all anyway.

Disorganization and laziness.

We complain that there are not enough hours in a day to accomplish all that we want, yet our laziness often leads us to many wasteful hours of disorganization.  The discipline it takes to sort through a messy desk, counter, closet or mind takes time.  Becoming organized is a habit.  Start with something small, like your office desk or even making your bed after you get up.

Tip:  Studies have shown that people who make their beds are statistically more productive, profitable and peaceful in their lives and careers.  Interesting, isn’t it?  But not surprising.

 Fear of… everything.

Fear is one of the biggest reasons why we don’t move ahead in our lives.  Fear of failing and fear of succeeding.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of fear.  As long as we are alive, we are prone to some level of fear.  Ironically, to feel alive we must overcome that fear with actionAs Bill Cosby once said, “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”

Tip:  Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that your happiness and growth is more important than it.  Do something every day that stretches your comfort zone and helps you face what your fear.

Something to ponder about today.

Related Article:

forestwoodfolkart.worrying-too-much

Mental Health, Motivational

Stressful Habits, and Past Mistakes

More Wise advice from Marc and Angel worthy of re-blogging with minor alterations:

Stressful habits can bleed you dry of energy and make it impossible for you to function effectively.  You can’t live a happy, successful, fulfilling life if you’re spending all your energy in the wrong ways.

It’s time to put your foot down and make some changes.

You CAN reduce your stress the moment you STOP…

1.  Choosing to mull over past mistakes and regrets.

If you feel like your ship is sinking, it might be a good time to throw out the stuff that’s been weighing it down.  The next time you decide to unclutter your life and clean up your space, start with the things that are truly useless, like old regrets, shame, and anger.  You must learn to let it go.  You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading your previous one.

2.  Participating in unhealthy relationships.

Being alone will never cause as much loneliness as the wrong relationship.  Be with people who know your worth and respect you.  You don’t need lots of friends to be happy, just a few real ones who appreciate you for who you are.  Oftentimes walking away has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength.  You must learn to walk away not because you want others to realize your worth, but because you finally realize your own worth.

This is really important if you are in an abusive relationship. Be strong, and one day you will wish you walked away sooner.

3.  Your own negative thinking.

Your mind is your sacred space.  You can close the windows and darken your space, or you can open the windows and let light in.  It’s your choice.  The sun is always shining on some part of your life.  What do you typically think about?  How far you’ve come, or how far you have to go?  Your strengths, or your weaknesses?  The best that could happen, or the worst-case scenario?  Pay attention to your self-talk.  Because maybe, just maybe, the only thing that needs to shift in order for you to experience more happiness, more love, and more success, is your way of thinking.

This is easier said that done, but it can be done, it takes practice before it becomes a new habits. Teach your mind the new habit.

When you start to experience any of these stressful habits, you’re entering dangerous territory.  You start to feel stressed out and everything feels like a chore.

The good news is there is a way to get back on track.

Your habits are simply broken and need some adjustments.  When you trust a broken set of habits on a daily basis, it’s only a matter of time before things escalate to red alert.

Understand that the weakest link is not you – it’s the set of broken habits you’ve built into your daily routine.  The problem is, when you don’t know that your habits are broken, you can’t foresee all the trouble and stress that they are creating for you.

But like I said, it doesn’t have to be this way.  You can make adjustments starting today that will instantly help you feel better, think more clearly, and live more effectively.

Teach your mind a new habit to ponder about.