See Ya Later, Stress Creators!
Please remember that an event, a person, or your surroundings, are not in and of themselves, stressful. It is our reaction to these events or people that cause the heart to race, the mind to spin and our muscles to tense. (Among many other reactions your body has!)
I would like you to think about a few things as you read the following article:
* You make choices everyday, every minute of every single day. * What are you choosing? What small annoyances have you been choosing to tolerate? * What have you convinced yourself? Have you told yourself that you cannot change things? Have you "accepted" that you are stuck, and that there is no getting out/changing events/leaving?
If you can keep these choices in mind as you read my descriptions and strategies, you may find that you start looking at things a different way.
And that can make all the difference in the world.
I would like to address the first of three areas today and give you some ideas for dealing with this in a healthy, life-enhancing manner.
Note: I am breaking this up into a three -part article and will continue in the next ezine.
The first step in making changes is to recognize the areas that you need to make them, and realize that it is your decision whether or not you will continue to deal with them.
The first area is People.
This is the area I get the most questions on, and the typical question goes something like this: "I already do all the things you suggest. I take care of myself, I exercise, I try to manage my time and give myself breaks....but it is my boss, my co-worker, my husband, my children.....they come in and make me crazy, and throw off my schedule." Very valid issue to address.
Here's what you do:
1. Remove. 2. Breathe. 3. Limit.
You need to Remove yourself from the immediate situation if at all possible. Use your manners (!) and excuse yourself from the area. If dealing with a teenager, say you will be right back and leave the room. (They do not like to be walked away from--make sure you tell them you are coming back to continue the discussion.)
Negative co-workers--say that you have something else to do. (More information below on co-workers.)
In the case of the boss, go to step # 2. (Often, numbers 1 and 2 are interchangeable.) Also, in the case of the boss, try to step outside yourself for a moment. By this I mean try to think about the other person. Your boss has a job to do. Whether or not you agree with how he/she is doing it, that is really none of your business. When we take a few seconds to realize that their actions could be the result of stress they are under, we may be more patient. Don't take everything personally. It is not always about you. :)
Breathe.You know that when you get stressed, one of the first things that happens is that your breathing begins to get shallower. You need to keep this in mind and immediately counteract the stressors' impact by taking three deep breaths. I have told you this before, but it always bears repeating: DO NOT be fooled by the simplicity of this!
Slow, deep breathing revitalizes your brain, your cells--every part of your body. It is calming, and has the added benefit of giving you time to think before you speak. (This can prevent further stress--think about it!)
Remember, breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, and slowly breathe out through your mouth. Empty the air out completely, then repeat. (Three times is ideal.)
Limit. Here is where you need to get the most creative.
You need to start limiting your time with the people who activate your stress reactions. If they are the people at work, really look at the time you spend interacting.
* Do you stop every morning to complain/gossip/compare notes with a co-worker, then end up feeling annoyed as you start your workday? * Do you spend every lunch hour talking about work with other employees? * Do you assume that you have to do everything for family members or it won't get done?! * Do you tell yourself that you have to put up with people in your family that suck the energy right out of you?
Stop. There are always choices.
You can stop gossiping and complaining about work. Turn things around--you have a job; do your best. You can choose to look at your work in a positive or negative way.
You can limit your time on the phone with family members. (Did you know that you do not have to answer your phone every time it rings?)
You can get creative in looking for help for elderly family members and other people that you may take care of. There are always alternatives if you choose to look for them. (There is that word again---choose!)
You have trained people to expect certain behavior from you. Is that really their fault? Other people will show more respect for you, when you show more respect for yourself. I want you to repeat this last sentence out loud, changing it slightly:
"Other people will show more respect for me, when I show more respect for myself."
Another interesting take on other people comes from one of my favorites, Eknath Easwaran:
"I need the opportunity to deepen my patience." :)
Couldn't we all use more patience?
Free up your energy for fun, and healthy living. Stop wasting time worrying and stressing about the other people in your lives! Take care of you and CHOOSE less stress!
*** Extra Coaching Tips:
1. After finishing a phone conversation that was somewhat stress reducing, take a nice deep breath and brush off every part of your body with your hands. You will be signaling your brain to "get rid of the negative stuff." 2. Do the silent scream. Excuse yourself, go somewhere private, and scream silently. 3. Move. Do not let the negative energy, the obsessive thinking build up. Move your body even with a few steps from side to side, and this can "move the energy" to a better place.
I will continue this article later, discussing stressors caused by our environment and events.