While there’s plenty of material for an article on physical stress, we’re going to look at psychological stress and what you can do to manage it. Most of us go through life as emotional victims of the people and circumstances surrounding us. We put out one fire, turn around and see two more, making us feel powerless over the events of life. In this article, we’ll unearth amazingly simple tips to manage the stress of your job, decisions, money and events…what you can do to regain control.
Stress Is Being Out Of Control: Other definitions work for different types of stress, but psychological stress is all about control…the lack of it. The less control you feel you have over life’s circumstances, the more stressed you are. Some respond to these stresses by breaking down…even so far as to go into a depression anxiety state of existence, where it often requires medication just to face the day. In most cases, this extreme is not necessary if we just change how we approach life. Sound simple? It is…it’s just not fast and easy to make the change! So, lets look at some stressful areas of life to get examples of what we’re after.
Stress Management And The Job: This has always been the big one for me…job stress (or job search stress). This is the out-of-control feeling we have because someone else controls our income. They say what to do, when, how, who with…everything. We’re completely out of control, right? Wrong! We have great power over our careers if we will just exercise it. We choose what we do, who we work for, who with, and when. We do so by choosing an education, career and employer. If there is ever anything we feel is unreasonable or inappropriate about the demands placed on us, we choose whether to stay and accept those demands, or to leave. I’ve left several jobs and careers, and finally decided the only way I was going to be happy and in control was to work for myself. You’re witnessing the outcome of that decision right now.
Many of us, when searching for employment, set limitations that decrease our choices of career and employer. Then we’re stressed about the four or five interviews we have in a year, because “We really need this job.” What if your options were wide open? What if you applied for everything you could do and were able to choose between employers, rather than waiting for one to choose you? In career counseling, I tell people, “If you don’t have a job, make finding a job your full-time job.” An average person with a high school diploma and 10 years of experience ought to be able to find out about 20 jobs a week and apply for 10 of them. In an average economy, there’s no reason for anyone to be out of work for more than 3 months if they do that. Why? Because you put in 120 applications in 3 months. That completely eliminates job search stress, because you’re not counting on any one of the employers…you’re in control.
Stress Management And Decisions: The most stressful state to live in is the state of indecision. We worry about this outcome and worry about that outcome, so we don’t do anything that produces an outcome…then we worry about that. You want to take the stress out of decisions? Pick a direction and start running! If it turns out wrong, you’ll find out faster. Then just pick another direction and run. We can’t wait until all the lights are green before we pull out of the garage. The stress is unbearable when you haven’t decided, so decide!
Stress Management And Money: Oh boy, one of the most stressful things in life, yet, it is totally within our control. So, why are we stressed by it? Because we refuse to exercise our control. Money is probably the largest source of self-induced stress. I recently heard of someone making in excess of $ 250k per year who lost their house due to debt. Here’s a stress management tip: It isn’t income…it’s outgo! Control that, and you’ve taken the stress out of money.
Stress Management And Current Events: This is my big challenge, especially in election years. I find myself yelling at the TV and radio. Things look like they’re not going my way and I start worrying about all kinds of things. I’ll share this stress management tip that I use several months a year, and I’m about to use again…Turn it off! Listen to soft music and read a good book with a happy ending. The news companies make money based on how bad they can make things seem. It is not keeping up with current events…it’s keeping them on top of you. When we’re suffering from stress, we can’t afford to have that stuff playing in our minds.
Do What You Can Do: All of the above areas, in fact, all areas of stress in life, have one thing in common…one tip. If we concentrate on this one thing, most of our stress will just melt away into nothingness. The one thing we can do to eliminate stress in any are of life is…do what you can do. All we have to do is what we can. When we focus all of our efforts and energies on what we can do, what we can’t do loses all it’s power over us. The stress is gone, and in it’s place is steady progress towards satisfaction, fulfillment and peace. So, do what you can do and let what you can’t do take care of itself…that’s stress management.