What if you could take stress and turn it into success. Wouldn’t that be a better way to use your energy? Sometimes a simple shift in the way we direct our energy and focus can radically alter the way we experience life.
Often times, we don’t really need more time and energy. We just need to shift the way we are using what we already have. Let’s look at three specific ways that we can create such a shift.
Accept the fact that some things can’t be changed
We can’t change the past, period. Worrying about it will only create stress. One of the best things you can do for yourself is accept that fact. Everything that has happened in your life up to this point is history, it’s completely unchangeable. One of the biggest ways to waste your time and energy is to fret over the past; it’s gone so let it go.
Looking back at missed opportunities won’t recreate them. Feeling guilty over past mistakes doesn’t serve you. Harboring any kind of negative energy toward yourself or others over things that have already happened will only leave you feeling drained and frustrated. It is a complete waste of vital force to hang on to any negative emotional anchors from the past.
Action step: Make a list of any past events, situations, relationships, or mistakes that you feel bad about. Write them all down along with the negative feelings attached to them. When you are done, read each item and then ask yourself: “What do I need to do to get closure here?” If you need to apologize to someone, go do it. Most of the time all you need for closure is to let it go.
Once you’ve answered that question for each item, tear the list up and throw it, and those negative feelings, away. It’s trash and that’s where you should put it. The next time you are tempted to revisit those feelings or events, tell yourself “no emotional dumpster diving.”
Accept the fact that some things can always be changed
One thing that you can always change is your perception of, and reaction to, everything that happens in your life. It’s your life, you own it and that means that you have the power and the freedom to decide the meaning and value of every experience.
Many people are so locked into reaction mode that they fail to recognize their own ability to control their response. This mindset is a huge source of stress. Nobody makes us mad or happy, we choose those feelings. When we decide to exercise the ability to choose our emotional response, we tap into a huge source of personal power. We are not victims of our circumstances unless we choose to be.
Action Step: The next time you feel like “reacting” instead of responding, ask yourself: “What else could this mean?” Then come up with three alternate meanings and choose the one that feels the most empowering. Now respond to that. Doing this will transform a stressful reaction into a successful response.
Don’t let other people’s problems become your problems
Some people are just a disaster looking for a place to happen. One way to avoid getting stressed out along with them is to simply get out of their way. If someone is in a bad mood, do your best to stay away from them. If the driver behind you is tailgating, pull over and let them pass. It’s their problem, but taking it personally will make it your problem too.
If you go out to eat and there are loud, obnoxious people next to you, change tables. If someone tries to vent their anger at you, excuse yourself without taking personal offense. By staying alert to potentially dangerous situations you will be able to avoid them most of the time. You can’t control the way other people behave, but you can control whether or not you allow their problems to become your problems.
Action step: Review the most common scenarios where you have allowed other people to stress you out. Now devise an alternate strategy that you can use the next time that situation arises. Make sure it is a strategy that allows you to remain emotionally neutral. Rehearse that strategy in your mind so you can easily implement it next time.
Choose success over stress
As you can see, we all have opportunities to redirect our personal resources toward success and away from stress. Isn’t it great that we each have the power to choose where our energy will go and how it will be used?
Do you use any of these strategies personally?
Do you have a favorite way to avoid stress and create success?
The lines are open!
Jon Mercer has an excellent stress coaching video series called EasyCalm and you can watch the first video here. Lots of great tips and no optin.