Dealing with stress is something we can all relate to, no matter your job, home life, or city you live in. For me, stress can allow my thoughts to get away from me; it can turn into anxiety. Stress can prevent me from accomplishing as much I’d like to in the day (which can turn into the year) if I let it.
“If I let it” … those four words are key. I’m a big believer that we may not be able to control our emotions, but we can absolutely control how we react to them.
Here are a few specific things I do to decrease stress and anxiety:
#1: Live in the moment.
It’s a statement we all hear so much – “the secret to happiness is to live in the moment.” Insert eye roll. Easier said than done sometimes, especially in times of stress. My interpretation of that phrase is more about focus.
Focusing on the moment at hand allows me to block out the white noise in my brain; the chatter saying, “this is going to be hard” and “are you sure you can do this well?” There’s a sense of calm that comes with focus. If you’ve meditated before, you might know what I mean. If you haven’t meditated, please try it!
Being in the moment can mean that I spend less time planning for the next thing on my list. It means that I end up winging things a lot of the time – there is risk with it. My communication skills have enabled me to do well in things like presentations, leading meetings, and public speaking without a ton of practicing beforehand or referencing notes.
I’m not saying that it will work for everyone, but it works for me, especially in those types of situations.
#2: The world will keep turning.
“The world will keep turning” is something I tell myself when I start feeling anxiety about an upcoming task. It’s my way of reminding myself that I am small; that there are much larger issues in this world than whatever task I’m feeling stress over. If I do well, or if I do poorly, the world will keep turning either way.
This phrase describes forward motion, which is often something I need if paralyzed in stress and anxiety. “The world will keep turning” so keep moving along with it.
#3: By this time tomorrow, this will be a memory.
It’s another phrase I tell myself to minimize my stress. A task (meeting, deadline, conversation, social event) is headed my way, but life moves so quickly.
There’s no use getting totally wrapped up in the stress and anxiety about something when pretty soon, life will be on to the next.
I tend to use this mantra when I’m up against something that I just need to get through. It could be something like a flu shot, or a busy day with a lot of things scheduled, or taking my kids to do something for the first time. Because I’m still pretty new to staying home, that last example includes things like taking my daughter to my dentist appointment and hoping she does okay.
“By this time tomorrow, this will be a memory” helps me feel like whatever is in front of me isn’t a big deal.
Those that know me well, know that anxiety is something that I deal with (and hopefully deal with well).
Those that don’t know me very well hopefully wouldn’t have any idea that I struggle with stress and anxiety – because that’s how I would prefer it. It’s not that I want to hide who I truly am; I would rather have my work and accomplishments be the focus.
If you try one of these three solutions, I want to hear what you think. In sharing the tactics that help me reduce my stress and anxiety level, I hope to help even just one person reduce their own.