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4 Steps to a Less Stressed You

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Stress is not a fun emotion.  Nevertheless, it’s part of our reality, and as such, we need to learn how to deal with it in a healthy way.  Will it be easy?  No.  Is it possible?  Yes.  Here are four things I keep in mind to reduce my daily stress:

1. Recognize

One of the most difficult things for me to do was wrap my head around the fact that I’m the only person who truly understands how I’m feeling.  It was an exhausting thought.  A thought that made me feel completely isolated.  But with this recognition came something unexpected.  The sense of power.  All of a sudden it clicked—I’m the only one who understands the stress I’m feeling, therefore it’s in my hands to do something about it.  I have complete control in overcoming anxiety and stress.  Perhaps the best way of summing this up is with a quote from one of my favourite movie characters, Meghan (from the wonderful Bridesmaids), “You’re your problem, and you’re also your solution.”

2. Accept

Okay, so you’ve recognized that it’s within your power to do something about your stress.  Well, now it’s time for a level of acceptance.  I’ve invested a lot of mental energy into beating myself up for allowing situations to escalate into something that becomes stressful for me.  But this self-inflicted bullying does no good.  All it does is make me feel worse.  So I’ve begun to accept that a certain amount of stress will creep into my life, despite any efforts to keep it out.  It happens, it’s normal, and there’s very little I can do about it.  I think people could do to be a little more self-accepting.  Humans aren’t perfect, so why do we expect perfection from ourselves?

3. Maintain

Everyone reacts differently under pressure.  Some people just crawl up into a ball.  Some people burst out crying.  Some people get frustrated.  Some people start rushing around.  But it’s important to try to maintain balance.  With balance comes calm.  Often, however, it doesn’t become clear how stressed you are until you act out in frustration.  Try to learn your warning signs.  One of my warning signs involves the Internet.  If I get frustrated because my Internet browser is slow to load, I know it’s time for me to take a break.  Once you start to recognize the signs you can then take action to reduce your stress.  Which leads me to number four..

4. Communicate

Communication.  It’s absolutely essential.  Ask for help!  And boy, am I awful at this.  It’s something I’m always working on.  See, I’m great with taking on tasks.  But then I cross that line where I begin to feel completely overwhelmed with work.  Then comes the resentment.  Sound familiar?  Of course it does.  This is a common issue, and a poisonous one.  Resentment is an awful thing to have floating around.  But there’s a simple solution, and it comes down to communication.  Yeah, it’s hard to ask for help.  It feels like a failure somehow.  But I think the bigger failure is letting yourself get so overwhelmed that you become resentful and miserable.

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