“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
– William James
We all have heard that stress can cause health problems to a loss of focus and motivation. However, sometimes it’s unavoidable in this journey called life. Think about a time in the past when you were the most successful and performing at your highest level. Were you feeling stress during that time? The answer more then likely is positive stress. In fact, stress can be a powerful motivator and source of strength when harnessed and driven fiercely but more importantly embracing it as a positive and not a negative.
- Use it to your advantage.
Stress wasn’t designed to kill us. In fact, back in the caveman era, it served as a very powerful tool to help us avoid dying. Stress can increase our awareness and our responsiveness to the world around us, in addition to giving us a boost of adrenaline that makes us stronger and faster.
Research suggests that although we might not enjoy it, many of the stressful effects that helped us avoid danger many eons ago can still help us in today’s modern world. When you feel stress, recognize that it’s your body’s way of enhancing your performance. Don’t fight it. Instead, feel it and accept it. The first step in dealing with stress in a healthy way is to recognize it for what it is – then you can decide how to deal with it.
- Focus on what you can control, versus what you can’t.
There are a thousand things that are out of your control every day, no matter how much effort you put in – so ignore what’s outside of your influence. Psychologists suggest that you try writing out a list of stressors and put them into two circles. One circle holds the things you can control. The other is for the things you can’t. Ignore that second circle and choose a single concrete action to take on the first. This will begin to evaporate any unnecessary stress and help move you towards your goals.
- Accept the unchangeable.
Everything that has happened in your life up to this minute is unchangeable. It’s history. The greatest waste of energy is looking back at missed opportunities and lamenting past events. By liberating your mind from the mistakes of the past, you become free to concentrate on moving forward with your life.
Try writing down on a sheet of paper a list of things that happened in the past and still upset you today. Now crumple the paper into a ball and toss it away. This symbolizes letting go of past misfortunes, and psychologists have shown that this simple activity can greatly help to relieve stress in our daily lives.
- Change the changeable.
Change your reactions to what others say and do, and you can control your own thoughts and actions by dwelling on desired results instead of the penalties of failure. Carefully examine your own attitude and behavior as if you were another person observing yourself. Be in the audience not in the play.
– Tim S. Marshall, Author of “The Power of Breaking Fear”
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“The Power of Breaking Fear”
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