I know you’re stressed and have a million things to do. Be patient. If you get to the end of this article, I promise some new ideas about stress and I promise it’s not diet and exercise. Aaaaaaaaagh! If you start your sentences with a word that should only appear in comic strips, you might be stressed. If you finish sentences with words that are politely spelled with !&#%*@ symbols, then you might be stressed. If you yell at people, curse traffic, sigh at every inconvenience, say “I need a drink/smoke”, bite
your nails or curl up on the floor in a fetal position in your office, you might be stressed.
The trouble is most of us need our job and our relationships that provide the stressors. We also know that every job and every relationship will have its’ share of stressors anyway. Did you know that stress, in moderation, can be helpful? Like a little fear, stress can drive you to be your best, to stay sharp and focused at work, home, play and in relationships. Like most things that are good for us, too much becomes bad for us. Too much stress can cause a multitude of health problems, including heart disease, digestive troubles, obesity, and skin conditions. Beyond physical health, excessive stress can damage our mental and social wellness too, destroying relationships and leading to anxiety and depression.
Sometimes you get to the point where you can only think of extremely short-term solutions – drink, smoke, fight, quit, run away, lash-out, over eat, or stop eating. I’ve tried most of these quick cures, to no avail. This is where you expect me to say diet and exercise. No, you don’t want to hear that, until you’re ready to hear that – when you are, you’ll do it. It’s not like it’s a secret. Its’ the best cure for nearly everything, but until we develop self-discipline, the mother of all
character strengths, diet and exercise will remain elusive fantasies. Let’s talk about something you can do to manage stress today, that’s fun, creative and instantly rewarding.
1. Stop saying I CAN’T, and ask what CAN I do? This shift in word use is very powerful.
2. Stress comes when we feel that we are not in control – so what can you do to take some control? Business slow?
Relationship suffering? Take action and do something positive – anything! When you are working on something, it brings hope back into the picture. Hope is a positive start, on which you can build some momentum for more ideas, more effort, more action, and more results with less stress. Procrastination produces just the opposite.
3. Do you work in fear? If you are afraid of speaking up at work, know this – most employers are looking for people who engage and take an interest in making things better. If your company is looking to cut back, they would be wise to cut back the quiet worker who contributes nothing extra. Be the interested employee who contributes ideas. These ideas will reduce your stress because you’ll be working at making the place better, and at the same time will reduce your fear of not being valuable enough.
4. Are you valuable? Yes. I can’t say you are in the right job or industry or relationship, but most of the damage done to us, we do to ourselves. We tell ourselves we aren’t good enough, educated enough, experienced enough, we don’t know the right people, or people don’t like us enough… it’s all crap. Yes, that is the technical jargon used to describe the psychological disorder of not feeling like you are enough. Crap. You are enough. Stop choosing to feel stressed because you let others be in charge. At the very least, you are always in charge of how you feel, so start there. Go do something you love, without fear or a lack of confidence or a feeling of uncertainty stressing you.
5.There is no such thing as certainty. Like most people on this planet, I started out with nothing, had some successes,
some failures, and more successes. The only thing I am sure of, is that I’ll be okay no matter what false sense of security, or false sense of insecurity I feel from time to time. I am in charge of my life, which is a big stress-reducer. I
will mess it up and fix it again and that’s ok. Wherever you are, you are in the right place. How you got here was the right way. Wherever you go is up to you and you can start heading there anytime you’re ready, and that will be the right time.
In conclusion then, my message is to be proactive. Lots of opportunities to reduce stress and create more wellness in your life are being offered by the local non-profit, Evergreen Institute for Wellness, including an Introduction to Meditation for Stress Reduction, a class called Standing in Your Power and more. Their website also offers several free online wellness classes, visit www.evergreenforwellness.org.
Thinking of starting a business to take charge of your life? Find out if you should and how best to do it – I’ll be teaching a SCORE start-up workshop Oct 26th. Visit www.mtwashington.score.org.
Michael Kline is a local retailer, success coach and trainer. He may be reached through his website, www.klineseminars.com, or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.