Last week I reposted a blog from two years ago as stress and it’s damaging affects on one’s body appears to be enjoying a renewed rampage on many of my friends and clients. In continuation of my “summer vacation” series, this week I offer (reprint) some suggestions to help you manage your stress.
As I discussed last week, stress – chronic long-term stress, can wreak havoc on your body in a myriad of internally detrimental ways. I reminded you that there’s always a way to change a situation or circumstance, or at least change how you deal with a negative problem, when you want it badly enough. I asked you to think about what’s stopping you from making that much needed change in your life.
Well I guarantee it boils down to fear. Fear is the main culprit behind most people’s inability to change a situation, thus removing detrimental levels of stress from their lives. But fear can be faced and overcome – IF you’re willing. So here are some steps you can take to reduce or remove chronic stress:
1. Diagnose the core problem – the person, place, job, or situation that is the root issue to your stress. You may feel there are multiple issues, but usually there is a core issue, i.e., worries about money, poor communication, being spread too thin.
2. Acknowledge and name the fear that holds you captive. There are only four (4) fears that exist to us humans (all fears can be boiled down to one of these or a hybrid of two of them):
Fear of Failure
Fear of Rejection
Fear of Pain (physical or emotional)
Fear of the unknown
3. Tear apart that fear by looking deeply at what is the worst possible outcome if you face that fear. Death or serious physical harm are about the only outcomes that you clearly cannot recover from. Otherwise, all obstacles, with proper planning, can be overcome (and they won’t kill you).
4. Assess your support systems. Who is truly a supportive force in your life. Not a “yes” person, not an enabler. Someone whom you can trust with your intimate emotions, who will not judge you, and will tell you the truth. Someone reliable and consistent in your life. The more of these the better – then lean on them, not wholly, but just enough to get you through the really tough stuff. The rest you must do on your own to truly succeed.
5. Make a plan. Detail the steps and map them out on a calendar.
6. Commit to the plan. Have someone hold you accountable, and then take each step in constant forward movement until you are where you want to be.
To some these ideas may seem obvious and easy; to others, daunting. However you perceive it, the task is to take positive steps towards a change. Stress does not have to rule your life. The key to getting rid of your stress lies in your very capable hands (and head).
SO GO AND EMBRACE CHANGE! Happy summer.