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Stressed Out? Here Are 7 of the Most Effective Strategies for Centering Yourself

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We all know what it feels like to be stressed out. Our mind races, we feel overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, and sometimes depressed. Small problems tip us over the edge because we haven’t got all our other problems “under control.” We just don’t want to deal with life anymore. I had a tendency to get easily overwhelmed and have worked hard to improve my ability to handle stress.

Here are the 7 strategies that have proven to work best for me over the years:

1. Determine if you’re stressed about something you CAN change, or something you CAN’T change

You should be able to know which kind of stress it is with a little bit of reflection. By knowing this, you can proceed with handling the stress more effectively. Is it one thing you’re afraid of? Is it one problem that seems insurmountable? Are you overwhelmed with too much on your plate? Or do you feel stuck and unable to change an undesired situation?

2. Don’t make excuses. TAKE ACTION!  

Don’t complain if you’re not going to take any steps toward changing your situation. Don’t make excuses or put off doing things that could help you. Don’t listen to your thoughts that say there’s no point in trying.  

Make a plan of action. f you’re stressed because of an unknown, figure out a way to get more information. If you’re afraid of not having enough money, figure out how you might be able to make more.

I like to write to-do lists in my phone where I can check things off, and write down events and reminders to call people etc. in my phone’s calendar with reminders turned on. Prioritize and be realistic about what you can accomplish. If you try to take on too many tasks you won’t accomplish any of them.  

Follow through on your plan: Set a reminder or alarm in your phone if that’s what it takes.  

Reevaluate: If things change and you either can’t follow through on your plan or it’s no longer applicable, go back and make a new plan of action.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor E. Frankl

3. If there’s nothing you can physically do, adjust your mindset

Sometimes what you’re feeling stressed about is outside of your control. If that’s the case, there is still one thing you can change, your perception.  

4. Know the real cause of stress

The real cause of stress is not actually what’s happening in your life, it’s what’s happening in your mind. Often, we blame other people and things that happen as the source of our stress, but the truth is those things are not the real culprit. How you perceive things (what you think about everything), is the real source of your stress. Sure, some things are harder or easier to get stressed about. But if you understand stress comes from your mind, it’s easier to handle when a stressful situation is outside your control.  

5. Don’t resist your thoughts and feelings

When you resist what is, you suffer. If you criticize yourself, fight your thoughts and feelings, or worry about feeling stressed, you will only feel worse. Stress can actually be a motivator for making positive change. Try to accept the fact that you feel stressed, and use it to your advantage instead of resisting how you feel.

6. Ask yourself, what am I afraid of?

If you want to know the real underlying source of your stress, look for what scares you the most. Stress is really fear in disguise. We feel fear, or stress, when we are afraid of losing something. It doesn’t have to be loss of anything obvious or physical – it could be loss of security, loss of love, loss of respect or status, loss of freedom, etc.  

After you’ve determined what you’re afraid of, examine that fear to see how realistic it actually is. Fear does not come from the rational part of our minds. Many fears are over embellished and unrealistic once we put them in the light of truth. Think of as many things as you can, that you know are true, that disprove your fear.

7. Don’t force yourself to think positively

You’ve probably heard about how positive thinking is good for you. Yet, maybe you’ve noticed times where you just can’t do it. Trying to think positively when I’m stressed never works for me. Trying to change my thinking from one extreme to another only frustrates me. I’m not saying positive thinking is bad, but I think doing it consciously has its time and place.

I think feeling stressed indicates something that needs adjusting in your life or in your mind. If you only try to think positively instead of investigating why you feel how you feel, you may miss opportunities for growth and change.

“Ten years from now, you’ll laugh at whatever’s stressing you out today. So why not laugh now?” – Tony Robbins

When you feel stressed, first determine whether things are inside or outside of your control. If you can physically do something, make a plan and take action! When stressors are outside of your control, remember that the real cause of stress is what’s happening in your mind in response to life. Don’t resist your thoughts and feelings.

Try to accept how you feel and use stress as motivation. Explore your fears that may be behind your stress and then disprove them. Don’t force yourself to think positively without first addressing the reason you are stressed.

What strategy works best for you when it comes to handling stress? Let us know in the comments below!

Mandie Bigelow is a Wellness and Life Satisfaction Coach and writer. She runs a blog discussing mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, human potential, and relationships for those who want to break through any limitations holding them back and live a life of joy, passion, and meaning. In her spare time, Mandie enjoys playing Spikeball (roundnet), training in martial arts, and hanging out with her husband and two cats. She and her husband are writing a book called The Enlightened Relationship. Find her on Facebook @bloggermandie, or on Instagram or Twitter @mandiebigelow

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The 3 Most Important Things I Learned About Personal Growth

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When you look back on your life, what do you want to think about? Do you plan to reminisce on all of the good things that have happened and how they shaped who you are today? Or would you rather remember all of the bad decisions, challenging experiences, and mistakes made that hurt or wasted a portion of your life?

In my opinion, I think it is important to reflect on both. While it’s important to remember the hardships we’ve been through in our lives – without them we wouldn’t be where we are now. There are 3 very specific areas that I feel have helped me grow in a personal sense more than anything else in my life so far. 

These aren’t simple lessons in a book or a lecture that you can just absorb and apply to your life. These are things that I’ve learned through experience and reflection, and I’m still learning and growing today.

1. We determine how much we’re worth by what we think about ourselves, others, and life in general.

This might seem like a pretty obvious lesson in life but it’s actually one of the most important because we can determine our own worth by how we think about ourselves and the world around us. If you’re looking for success in any kind of business or social setting (dating), then I’ll tell you right now that it doesn’t matter if you have 10 billion dollars or not – people are still going to judge you based on your thoughts and beliefs alone.

What determines our value isn’t necessarily what we do with our lives (which is often based on luck) but whether or not we believe that ‘our work’ is worthy or not in some sort of grand scheme or universe. We may not always be able to control what happens in our lives, but we can always control how we value ourselves and others.

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

2. You don’t have to change your habits or personality just because someone else doesn’t like it – their opinions are THEIRS alone.

This is another one of those lessons that people tend to pick up on a little bit late in life, but if anything that makes its importance even worse! Basically, there’s going to come a time when you’re going to meet someone who has certain expectations of you as a person…but these expectations might not be realistic due to their motivations and personal beliefs. For example, sometimes parents might expect you to be a lawyer or doctor because that’s what they believe is best for their child.

However, this isn’t the case for everyone and so maybe your passion lies in music or writing novels. In this example, if you were also pressured into becoming a doctor – then there would obviously be some kind of conflict going on within yourself as a person. You should never have to give up something that you want to do just because someone else doesn’t like it! The reason why we’re put onto this Earth is to make our own choices and go after our OWN dreams instead of letting others determine what we can and cannot do with our lives .

3. You can’t change your life until you accept that you need to make a change.

When I was younger, I thought that this lesson would be pretty obvious – but as I got older, it really made me appreciate the fact that there are always different ways of perceiving our lives. For example, if someone wants to become rich and famous one day – their mind might simply overshadow any other possibility in their head because they feel like this is what they NEED to do right now.

However, this isn’t always true within our own lives because we think about things too literally instead of having an open mind. If you want to achieve success in any kind of business or social setting (dating) then you should be willing to try out different things instead of staying in your comfort zone. If you want something, then it’s up to YOU to actually go after it – nobody else is going to give it to you!

The three lessons above are some of the main things I want to pass on to everyone because they’ve come at an important time in my life where I need to start thinking about others instead of only myself. It’s great if we can learn to love ourselves first before anything else, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect everyone around you even though they might be your friends and family members!

If you enjoyed this article on the 3 most important things I learned about personal growth, then please share it with your friends and family! Also, check out my other articles on success & motivation as well as life lessons that could help people who are struggling with their life right now on lifengoal.com. Thanks for reading!

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