So many of our thoughts are wasted on worry. Stress is often the result of overthinking, or focusing on people and situations over which we have no control. Because if we did, have control that is, we’d change the situation so that it were not stressing us out. Of course there are some exceptions. It’s difficult not to worry about things such as a sick loved one or someone that we care about being in serious trouble. Unique situations aside, we create a great deal of our stress right within our own minds. So, the very first thing that I do when feeling stressed is analyze and work to control my thought process.
Is this a problem that I can solve? This is the first question I ask myself. If the answer is no, I then do my very best to put the issue out of my mind. Worrying about something that we can do nothing about literally serves no purpose. If the answer is yes, I immediately shift my focus to solutions. Focusing on problems is stressful. Focusing on solutions is productive, and often liberating because you take back your power over the situation. If I focus on solutions and can find none, I revert back to the response for this being a problem that I cannot solve. I put it out of my mind. You would be surprised how freeing a simple inventory of your thoughts can be. To say, “I can’t do anything about this, so there’s no point in thinking about it.”
I also meditate every morning, and sometimes in the evening as well if I’m having a particularly stressful day or period in my life. Calming your mind, if only for a brief period of time, helps tremendously. It’s not easy to turn off our thoughts, even if they are negative or harmful. Mediation does that for you. It is basking in the state of nothingness. If you allow yourself to fully succumb to your practice, you will emerge feeling a bit lighter and even with a sense of clarity that you may not have had previously. I personally practice Transcendental Meditation and can vouch for its benefits, but find the method that works for you.
Talking with someone can also help relieve stress. Just make sure it’s someone you trust to have your best interest at heart. Someone who’s generally levelheaded and can offer advice that is close to unbiased is a great choice. It’s even better if you can talk to someone who has been through an ordeal similar to what you are facing. Sometimes we are too close to the situation to see it clearly, and just need to get an alternative point of view. If something is weighing especially heavy on me I’ll talk it out with my best friend or even a colleague. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help either. There’s nothing a therapist hasn’t heard before.
Ultimately, it all starts in the mind. We worry about things that haven’t even happened, and possibly never will. Our minds also make situations seem much more dire than they actually are. If you’re stressed because you have too much going on in your life, you have to eliminate some things or prioritize so that you aren’t trying to do it all at once. You can’t be everything to everybody. However, if you’re stressed because of something that’s going on at work, bills are piling up, your business isn’t taking off like you’d hoped or anything along those lines – focus only on solutions. Ask yourself, “Do I have any control over this situation?” If you do, then exercise that control. If you don’t, let it go. Why? It’s simple.
Stressing won’t make it better.