Many people assume that being extremely busy, over-worked, not having enough relaxation time lead to stress when the reality is actually true.
When I work with people to understand and manage the stress in their lives, the most common underlying reasons for negative stress are:
- Uncertainty over what to do next or where to turn next
- Lack of control over one's situation (physical or emotional)
- Overwhelm associated with these two factors combined
The worse possible case occurs when you feel you have no control AND you have little certainty or hope over how to change that in your life.
Often times, when we get into this desperate state in our lives we substitute healthy feelings and habits with unhealthy ones that become mistaken as the CAUSE of stress when in fact they are simply attempts at dealing with the immense negative stress that is already in place due to lack of control and uncertainty of where to turn next.
- With not having control and uncertainty around our future many people substitute crazy amounts of work in the hopes that they can escape this web of fear and uncertainty…looking busy may be a way out
- Or, we substitute destructive behaviour such as avoidance techniques such as binge watching TV, binge eating, drinking or doing drugs to escape the stress in our lives
- We take on everything hoping that SOMETHING sticks and we can find a way to more control in our lives
- We seek approval externally and completely avoid introspection or mindfulness because it's just too painful
So, what can you do if you are at a point in your life where you feel overly stressed?
3 Ways To Lower Your Stress
Take Back Control By Believing You Can Change
The very first thing you MUST do to reverse the tide of stress taking over your life is to teach yourself that YOU do control the ability to change your life and that WILL change your situation. Moving from a mindset of hopelessness and overwhelm to a mindset of hope and certainty is critical to taking back control over your life and that will lower stress and the impact it is having on your life.
Here are some practical things you can begin doing TODAY to reverse the tide and reduce stress in your life:
- Practice meditation – if you don't already have it, download the FREE report Live Big: 5-Steps To Unlocking Your Inner Power which contains a step-by-step approach to mastering meditation – even if you swear it doesn't work for you. Meditation allows you to put irrational thoughts, fears and beliefs into the background making way for new thoughts and beliefs – a crucial step in taking back control and reducing stress
- Study those who have overcome major odds. Go up to YouTube and watch inspiring videos, read inspiring books and biographies – feed your mind inspirational material that will slowly manifest themselves as thoughts of empowerment and control versus thoughts of fear and dis-empowerment
- Affirmations…right out BOTH your biggest fears and affirmations that state an expected outcome as if you had already achieved that outcome…practiced 3X daily these will help transition your beliefs from lack of control to being IN control of your life
- Spend Time In Nature – you may not control many elements of your schedule, but taking a 15-minute walk, swim, bikeride or simply stand close to water or a tree will clear your mind and give you a newfound sense of control that will translate into other areas of your mind and body over time
Learn And Grow
A major factor closely linked with being in control over our life is learning and knowing.
If you want to run a marathon but haven't a clue how to prepare, then you are NOT in control are you?
But, if you study, research and learn HOW to prepare to run a marathon and talk to some people who have done it then it suddenly opens new possibilities and beliefs, reduces uncertainty and puts you back in control of your ability to one-day achieve your desired goal. The same goes for anything in your life…much of your lack of faith, hope and reduced sense of control comes from not yet knowing enough about HOW to achieve which can be fixed quickly with learning and skill improvement
Indeed, a great deal of fear and anxiety in life today comes from simply not knowing.
Learning HOW to learn is one of the greatest skills anyone can have because it always leads to increased empowerment.
Have A Path…Even If It Changes
Always, always, always have a plan…even if your plan to get from point A to point Z only gets you to point B and you have to re-write the plan, so be it.
First, having a plan by nature gives you control and empowers you.
Second, having a plan gives you clarity and certainty – at least until you are forced to change it. This gives you purpose, confidence and helps you focus eliminating distractions so you can make progress
Third, taking a first step helps to clarify what is required second, third and fourth
Fourth, taking action sets you aside from most others which will begin to attract energy and like-minded people toward you and people who are holding you back will begin to move away (or more aptly, you will begin to move away from them naturally)
If you are experiencing severe, chronic stress in your life then look closely at the cause.
Chances are it has to do with either lacking control over that part of your life or being uncertain about where to go next…you may be going through depression, boredom, procrastination, anxiety or other symptoms, but know that (in most cases) the real cause is lack of control and uncertainty in your life.