If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re under the kind of stress you’d just love to get rid of. If what you’re dealing with is overloading your skills and resources, it can feel like a weight pulling you down and draining your strength. Here are three things to you need to know and do to get a grip on your stress instead of it having its grip on you:
The only thing worse than carrying a heavy load of stress is failing to realize the weight of the load you’re carrying. A client of mine has an abusive boss—but until recently he didn’t think it was a big deal. The problem is, when you say, “It’s not a big deal” you’re less likely to make the changes you need to stop the ongoing stress. Tell yourself, “I’m dealing with a really tough situation and it’s been affecting me.”
Give yourself credit for what you’re dealing with and you’ll gain a new level of respect for yourself. If you watched a friend or family member going through what you’ve been going through, would you tell them, “It’s not really a big deal.”? No, you’d say, “You should be proud of yourself, because this is hard.”
Identify solutions to stop the stress
We shouldn’t minimize our stressful situations, but we also have to avoid the other extreme—“catastrophizing” or “awfulizing” them. Instead, operate from the belief that there are always solutions.
Admittedly, that can be hard to do that when you’re overwhelmed—but you can do it. Resist the temptation of believing, “I’ve tried everything and nothing works.” If your relationship with your life partner is wearing you down, start with admitting that and then take action to make it better.
Just because the last two therapists or coaches didn’t help you, doesn’t mean the third one won’t—or that something else might not work. When stress is pulling you down, it’s your job to find the solutions that will stop the gravitational pull of that stress. One of my clients had the habit of letting her stressors pull her down until she adopted this motto for herself: “I’ll figure it out.” Believing more in herself was one of the solutions she identified and tapped into.
Own your power
“Stress” is subjective and we know that because what overwhelms one person motivates someone else. I have a client going through a divorce who has grown from it despite her husband doing all he can to make her miserable. She learned that the stories we tell ourselves about a problem or even huge challenges determine whether or not it overpowers us or if we discover how powerful we are.
Yes, she’s cried and there have been times she felt like giving up. Owning your power isn’t easy or we’d see everyone doing it. Learn to manage your self-talk, discover what your needs and true desires are and learn how to take care of yourself during times of stress. You have the power to do all three. If you’re going through a stressful time, use it. Learn about yourself, grow and find out how powerful you really are.