Today I’m going to give you some simple tips to dial down the stress and it’s not going to be about getting more rest, exercise or deep breathing. Not that any of that isn’t good for you but we’re going to take a look at stress in a different way.
A long time ago, think millions of years, our bodies adapted in a very special way to keep us alive. When a saber-toothed tiger attacked, our ancestor’s bodies flooded with energy. Their stomach shut down, the adrenaline kicked in, and enough energy surged to help Grandma and Grandpa Cave dweller to fight the tiger or run away.
This “fight or flight” mechanism triggered what we now call “stress.” But unlike our cave-dwelling ancestors, we typically don’t have saber-toothed tigers chasing us through the forest. In this day and age, our stressors are quite different, like losing a job, caring for an elderly parent, getting divorced, carrying too much debt and filing bankruptcy as well as other stressors that are more mundane that we experience every day.
These daily stressors include commuting, traffic jams, looming deadlines at work, over committing and over scheduling, missing appointments, or arriving late. These are the stressors that cause us to create metaphors to describe the stress that we are experiencing with words like Overloaded, Overwhelmed, and Burned out. It’s the feeling you experience between perceived reality and reality.
Stress is really in the eye of the beholder. Some people can sail through their day with their peace of mind intact: letting the stressors of the day roll right off their back. Other people walk by the coffee machine saying, “Good morning, let the stress begin.”
Most of these mundane stressors are self-imposed. When you arrive late or don’t meet your deadlines, or over commit or show up late, you feel bad. That’s because your actions aren’t in keeping with your values or intentions. It’s very frustrating for you because it means something to you to do what you said you would do.
Here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to mitigate the stress.
- Am I taking the actions that are producing the results I want? Tell the truth, it’s either a Yes Or No.
- How Might I do Things differently? And really look and see how you might do it differently.
- What action can I take right now that will make this better for me? And then go do it.
Go to my website and on my resource page you’ll find a Simple Stress Assessment that you can use to evaluate what stresses you the most. Then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s set up a time to talk.