Stress is something we all deal with.
It is not a discriminator of age, race, or gender. Think of the last time you saw someone who was extremely stressed out and then think of someone who always seems cool as the proverbial cucumber. The difference, most likely, is the way they handle their stress not the lack of it.
While there are degrees of stress and stress factors, let’s think of the average American who has stressors coming from several different angles: work, family responsibilities, relationships, finances etc.
How can you become less stressed out in the face of life’s hard moments and more like the proverbial cucumber?
You really do have more control than you may realize.
Even though you can’t control many factors in your life like your AC unit going out, or your child not getting into the college of choice or not getting that promotion, you can control your attitude towards it. This is BIG–and everyone can do it!
It is a matter of stopping your spiral of downward, negative thoughts about the situation and giving yourself a different perspective. Let’s take the promotion situation. It would look like stopping the shame driven thoughts such as “I’m a failure” or “My boss is a jerk” to speaking truth to yourself, e.g., “I am still a competent person and was high in the running for it” and “I’m do think my boss made what he/she thought was the best decision and there are probably other factors and elements I don’t know about.”
Then take the time to label and validate the specific emotions that the stressor produced: “Of course I am very disappointed that I didn’t get the promotion and am also somewhat hurt. Anyone else in my shoes would feel this same way.”
To take this one step further tell someone trusted about your stress and allow them to validate it for you.
These steps can mitigates stress and help it to lose its power.
(Laurel Boyd is both a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has a private practice called Renewal Counseling located in the same professional building that houses CC’s Coffee House in Ridgeland, MS. She sees adults, couples, children and teens. You can contact her at 601.451.8825 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)