Stress, part 1

Most of us feel stress from time to time. Fear and too many things to do mixed with emotions can quickly overwhelm the mind. Listening to Bobby McFerrin's song, Don't Worry Be Happy, may not be enough to change things. So what can we do about it? There are a few simple things we learned during Steph's illness that helped us move forward through the fear, stress, and too many things to do. 

Focus on issues in your control. Take the concerns running around in your head and write them down. Now honestly determine which ones you can impact. Spend your time on these issues. Begin with your top priority and layout your plan. It's often a process of baby steps, but know that you are moving forward and celebrate your progress. We found planning, action, and belief helped us overcome worry and fear. 

So what about the things out of your control? Try putting them into perspective. We create much of the environment around us by what we think and how we react. Think positively. Try to be patient and focus on understanding the situation before you respond. This allows your emotions to settle and gives you time to determine if you need to act or accept what is happening. If a negative thought comes into your head, let it go and replace it with a happy memory.

What people in your life trigger stress? Remember, you can pick your friends. Do you know people who stress you out with their gossip, judgments, and negative views of the world? If you can't ignore them, talk to them about the weather, hobbies, or their kids. Be kind and move on. In my work life, I learned that spending time with low performers tainted my outlook on things. When I sought out high performers, I learned how they made the best of things. That helped both my attitude and performance.

Can you limit your exposure to stress triggers? The news used to be something you saw at six and ten at night. Now it's on 24/7, filled with 'Oh My God' headlines to grab your attention, and many are not accurate. That was a trigger for me until I stopped watching most of it. Be aware of the electronics that bombard our lives and make good choices.

Take one day at a time. Yes, you already know this, but when you are stressed, emotion and panic replace logic. Set realistic goals and actions you can do today. Plan your work and work your plan. Remember to set aside some time to relax and give your mind a break. Take a few deep breaths, stretch your muscles, and empty your mind. Sit down and close your eyes. Think about someone or someplace that makes you smile.

See you next week for Part 2 of my blog on Stress.

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