“I become aware of the little things that are stressing me out and develop strategies to deal with them effectively.”
We often attribute the stress in our daily lives to what is happening on the outside. “My schedule is so busy” or “Work is a bear right now” are common reasons we give others and ourselves to explain the stress we feel.
No doubt, these things contribute to our stress. However, some of the extra “weight” we carry around is mental. It’s all the little unresolved problems and distractions flittering, as they do, at the edges of our awareness that create stress in our lives disproportionate to their actual importance.
Collectively, these little stressors create murky, undefined sense of dis-ease that can permeate our days and lessen our enjoyment of life.
How do we deal with these minor hindrances? Well, the first we have to do is to become aware of them. Can we identify them and name them? It’s almost impossible to address them unless we know what they are.
One effective way for surfacing these issues is to spend a little quiet time alone at some point in the day. Just allow your thoughts to flow freely without evaluation and take note of the concerns, worries, or issues that arise.
These small issues are like children clamoring for attention. They will usually make themselves known when you listen.
Once you identify an issue, you can:
- Estimate its importance.
- Take steps to resolve it.
- Recognize its relative insignificance and let it go.
These pesky stressors are the puff fish in our lives. You may be familiar with this kind of fish. It has the ability to blow itself up to appear much larger than its actual size to intimidate would-be predators.
Especially when we have an emotional investment, these little issues can cast a longer shadow in our lives than is warranted by their actual importance.
The key to breaking their hold is perspective. Here are three strategies for getting that perspective.
- Deja-Vu – we have probably faced situations similar to the one we are stressing about now and it probably came out OK. Most of the things we stress ourselves about never happen or are not as bad as we imagined them to be. Think of two or three examples of times when similar things worked out fine and your worrying did not alter the outcome. Then let go.
- The 30-Day Test – ask yourself whether this issue will still have the significance you are giving it now in 30 days? In six months? A year? If not, it probably is not really as important as it seems right now. Do what you can about it and then let it go.
- The Quasar Comparison – this is the “big scheme of things” approach to releasing the issue. Our problems, as big as they seem to us sometimes, are mostly insignificant in the big picture. Quasars are very powerful and distant objects at the edge of the visible universe. They are billions of light years away and a reminder of our universe’s sheer scale. A picture of a quasar can easily be found online. I keep one nearby to remind me how small my problems really are compared to the vastness of space and time. When realize this may not be as life and death as we are making it out to be we can let it go.
In closing, I am certainly not advocating avoidance of real problems in our lives. What I am saying is that our quality of life can improve when we find ways to jettison those annoying little stressors that hold us back.
I’d love to hear from some of you about strategies you use to reduce stress. Leave a comment.
Have a peaceful and prosperous day!
Maria Love is the Chief White House Correspondent for ANN. The fictional network appears in the new speculative fiction offering- Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation by Ray Davis. This novel is shaking paradigms among skeptics and believers alike in the area of human origins. It’s a clever mix of ancient knowledge, modern conspiracy, and page-turning excitement.
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