The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. William James
Stress can become so overwhelming on top of juggling work, home and family. It always seems like when one stressful thing happens there is more problems to follow. Routines that worked seemed to work so well go out the window. Your whole focus is how to control the chaotic situations around you, searching for balance that was there just last week. Chasing that perfect balance causes even a higher level of stress. But our minds think if you shuffle around one more thing everything will be all right.
The toughest thing to do when you are stressed is to stop and take a look at the troubles you are facing. The fear is losing control over everything in your life. Stopping to take a breath in the midst of stressful times is the very best thing you can do for yourself. You give yourself the space to see your problems in a different light.
Let’s talk about three thinking errors common to people with stress:
You are your worst critic. Sometimes you don’t have to look very far for an opinion on how you’re handing problems. Critical thoughts can blur your mind, such as, “Why didn’t I do it that way?” or “I am so stupid.” Picking on yourself can help keep you caught in chronic stress.
Ask yourself how you would treat someone you love during stress-filled times. Would you listen and give them support? Would you comfort them with loving positive words? Turn and give yourself the love you give to others. Believe down deep in your soul that you deserve every ounce of love you can muster up.
Your decisions are based on fear not facts. Fear is a very powerful emotion during stressful times. And while fear may be a helpful emotion when dealing with a life-saving situation, it can block rational thought in making the best decisions during a rough time. Just surviving and getting though the day is all that matters instead of making decisions from a clear mind.
Find strategies to move fear out of your mind and into fact mode. Connect with someone you trust to talk about why you are scared. Write down your fears on paper or a journal. This will help you get clear about what is fear-based and what is reality-based.
You dream instead of taking action. Have you ever said “I wish it were Friday,” or “I wish (fill in the blank) wasn’t happening to me…” We all have dreamed about better days at some time to be anywhere but work or in the midst of a tough situation. However, this thought process can be a distraction instead of taking action about what you really want in life.
Write down a list of this you want and what is most important to you. Pick just one thing you want more than anything to achieve. Then write down your goal and list at least the reasons why you want it. Now take action while the iron is hot.
Avoiding these three dangers can send you well on your way to reducing stress levels and living your life to the fullest.