Proven Strategies to Prevent Stress, Part I
Everyone experiences stress at one time or another, and as I mentioned in a previous post, stress can not only be normal, but a positive motivator as well. You can’t always choose what happens to you – but you can choose how you respond to a situation.
When stress comes your way, follow these strategies to get things moving in the right direction again.
Stress Strategy #1: Challenge the Status Quo
Did you ever wonder why one person sees a situation as stressful, while another person barely notices, and another views it as an exciting opportunity?
The next time you encounter a stressful situation, challenge the status quo of the resources and of the expectation. As you do this, answer these questions below.
What resources do I have? Do you have more resources than you first thought? It may help you to make a list or outline of the resources available to you.
Is my expectation higher than that of others? Are you coming from the perfectionist perspective, where you expect everything to be done “just so” according to your expectations? Do you really grasp what is expected?
Shifting your perspective is perhaps the most powerful way to respond to a stressful situation. When you begin to look at a situation from a different perspective, the experience itself changes.
I know this can be challenging because it’s easy to become caught up with your own interpretations and assumptions about what’s happening, but if you’re willing to give it a try, you might be astonished at the results a fresh perspective can bring.
Stress Strategy #2: Evaluate Social Values vs. Your Values
Your expectation may involve social values that are not in alignment with your own values. Do any of the following statements apply to you?
- I have to own a certain sized TV, drive a certain car, live in a particular neighborhood, etc.
- I have to be involved in a certain number of organizations.
- I have to volunteer at work, church, or school.
- I have to earn a particular income and/or have a certain title.
- I have to go on a certain number of vacations – and they must be exotic and adventurous.
If some or all of the above statements sound like you, check in with your values –ask yourself – is this really in alignment with how you want to live?
Evaluate your goals – have you gotten off track? Are you travelling in the direction you want to go?
Stress Strategy #3: Focus on your Passion
Cultivating your passion is the best secret to overcoming any obstacle! When you’re doing what you love, stress feels like momentum – not pressure.
Have you ever been so engaged in doing what you love that you felt like there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you wanted to? You went to bed thinking about the next day and woke up ready to embrace the fresh opportunities the new day offered.
You might have felt alive with energy and enthusiastic about meeting any challenges – this is an example of “good” stress, because it gives you the motivation you need to soar to new heights.
In contrast, think of a time when you weren’t engaged in your passion, but you still felt as though there weren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all that you needed to. You might have literally fallen into bed with relief – and awakened the next day wondering how you’d make it through again.
When a challenging situation arose, you felt defenseless and unable to reach a solution. “Bad” stress like this can rapidly spiral out of control with devastating consequences.
When you’re not living with a focus on your passion, life in general can seem dim and uninteresting – and responding to stressors can become even more challenging. Remember the phrase “love what you do and do what you love” – and follow it!
What’s your #1 stress-busting strategy? Share it with us below!