Stress. We all have it. We all get it and if you are anything like me, you would like for it to just go away! Unfortunately, stress is something that blocks us from living a healthy, purpose-filled life and often stops us dead in our tracks. Have you had that experience?
As I Googled stress one day, I found basic consensus that the top five stressors include:
- A sick family member
- Your health
There was a point in my life, when all 5 of those hit at the same time. No wonder I was having trouble just getting out of bed and dragging myself to the shower each morning and barely having the energy to get to work. I did learn although I couldn’t control some of those things, there were some ways to relieve some of my stress to improve my mental, physical, emotional, and relational life. So here are five things that I have learned to do to release some of the overwhelming stress in my life. I know I cannot rid myself of all stress, however, I find that releasing some of it is like a pressure cooker releasing some steam – I am able to get up, hop in the shower and get to work… and for me, that is success!
- Learn to say NO! Look at your schedule and commitments and start to de-commit, cancel or postpone those things you really do not need to do. Remember, when you way “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. Make your “yes” be something that will not add more stress to your life. If you can, trade it for something you can gladly say “no” to. For me, I said “no” to being on a committee at my church that was non-productive the previous year and said “yes,” to a business networking event where I could meet others, grow as a leader and share about our businesses.
- Share the load. It is true that no one is able to do things just like you. But once you give up the need to control some areas that are causing stress and begin to delegate, your load will be lighter. My husband agreed to take my mom, who couldn’t drive anymore, to the store every other week for me. You cannot imagine how that one change relieved a lot of stress in my life! All I had to do was ask for help!
- Let it go. Often the circumstances causing stress consumes our thinking. Train yourself NOT to focus on the stressor. How? Find a way to let it go. For me, I have several ways to do this. I will write the stressor on a rock and toss it in the lake. Sometimes I will write something down and put it in the shredder. At night, I’ve trained myself to write the stressor on an imaginary white board and then, in my mind, I keep erasing it until I can move forward. If you are a person of faith, surrender it to God.
- Hit the delete key. When your head is spinning and will not turn off thoughts say “not helpful” as many times as needed. Or imagine your thoughts being typed on your computer screen and then visualize yourself hitting the delete key. Then focus your thoughts on something or someone you love.
- Know what you can and cannot control. Take a pen and piece of paper and draw two lines to make three columns. Label the columns: Stressor, Can Control, Cannot Control. In the first column, list those things that are causing you stress. In the second column, if you have control or can do something to relieve the stressor, write it down with some action steps. In the third column, list the things that are out of your control. If you cannot control a stressor mark through it and get it off the list. It’s not worth your time or energy to focus there.
Coach Cindy Tannehill
Coach Cindy Tannehill is a John Maxwell Team Coach, Trainer & Speaker, Professional Certified Life Coach and the co-founder of Pass It On Purpose Coaching & Training Center in Kansas. She works with leaders and executives in businesses, NGOs, and faith based organizations around the world. She also has a heart for women entrepreneurs and has co-written an online course, Raise the Bar Academy – The Crash Course to help women entrepreneurs be successful in business and life.