I’m a worrywart by nature. I can’t help it, I always have been. But just because I naturally worry about things, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to worry less…or at least stop myself when I find myself getting stressed over something and try to get myself back on track.
Because let’s be honest: whether it’s work, chores, relationships, you name it, there will always be something to stress over. But it’s up to us whether we let those things get to us, and how much.
Here are some of the ways I’ve learned over the years to turn the stress machine off (or at least make it stop running so hard):
Stop stress before it happens. Some things always get me worked up, especially: when my house gets cluttered, when I have a ton of chores, or when a big deadline is approaching at work. I know this. So, I try to prevent these things from getting too stressful beforehand.
I have a bunch of tricks I use to keep my life and house in order in general. By tidying up every night, I stop huge piles of clutter from happening. I make lists of everything to keep chores under better control. And when it comes to work, I know when a big deadline is approaching, so I try to take care of smaller projects early so I won’t feel so overwhelmed and try not to book any appointments right before the deadline for the same reason. These situations are still stressful for me, but they’re a lot less stressful because I’ve thought ahead.
Come up with coping mechanisms. I have my go-to strategies for getting through stress: deep breathing, working out, herbal tea, and personal mantras. Find ways that work for you, and when you find yourself getting too worked up or worried over something, put them into practice. The more you do this, the more they will become habit. I automatically find myself doing deep breathing exercises when I get stressed now, just because I’ve done it so often it’s become a habit.
Let go. Sometimes things are beyond our control, and accepting that is the best way to deal with them. Learn to recognize when you can’t change a situation and learn how to roll with the punches. Try to find something to laugh about, look for the positives, remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day. Trying to hold on too tight or change something that can’t be changed only results in more stress, and it doesn’t change the situation at all…it just makes you more unhappy in it.
Talk to someone. Some people need to vent to get through a stressful situation, so find a friend or loved one who doesn’t mind being a sounding board, and let them know that you don’t need them to fix the situation for you (although suggestions are always great!), but that you just need to get things off your chest. Or, if venting just gets you even more worked up, call up a friend and go do something to take your mind off the situation. Either way, being around other people is a great way to refocus and boost your mood when you’re feeling stressed. We tend to get caught up in our own heads when we’re under pressure, and getting outside ourselves can be a huge help.
How do you deal with stress? Share your tips with us in the comments!
photo credit: Alan Cleaver