5 Steps to Beat Stress and Reclaim Peace

 It may seem that you just can’t catch a break, and stress is overpowering you. These five steps can help you learn to manage the stress in your life and come through feeling more peaceful and in control.

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Step 1: Identify

List all of the stressors in your life. Family, work, money, living conditions, and the state or direction of our country are typical stressors. Don’t forget to dig a little deeper and look for how your behaviors and thoughts contribute.

You may want to keep a log before making your list to identify stress patterns. You can track:

  • The cause of stress.
  • How it made you feel.
  • How you responded.
  • What you did do to feel better.

Step 2: Avoid

It is surprising how many stressors you can simply eliminate. You may be surprised how many stressors can simply be eliminated. A friend who always brings unnecessary drama – don’t answer the text and cut back on time spent with them. An awful work commute – plan to find a job closer to home or one that allows you to work from home.  The news can be downright scary – turn it off. Too much on your plate – say no to things that don’t have to be done or increase stress.

Step 3: Alter

If avoiding a stressful situation isn’t possible, you may be able to alter it.

The drama-filled friend – answer the text with a positive message and refuse to get caught up. Alter your work commute – go in 30 minutes early to miss the rush. Do a quick scan of the news headlines – don’t delve into the specifics. To free up more time, set tighter boundaries – I only have 10 minutes; what can we get done in that time.

Be proactive about building a balanced life with time for the things that matter. Learn to express your needs in a clear, calm manner and allow others to do the same.

Step 4: Adapt

When it isn’t possible to avoid or adapt to a stressor, it may help to change your expectations and perspective.

Take a step back and look at your friend’s drama as her drama – not your drama. Use your work commute to listen to some uplifting tunes, an audiobook, or an inspiring podcast. Before scanning the news headlines, remind yourself that the media uses shock to raise ratings. And that busy life – be grateful you have a family, a job, and can contribute to society.

Step 5: Accept

When a stressor is out of your control, the best way to cope may be to just accept it for what it is. You cannot control the weather, the behavior of others, the death of loved ones, a diagnosis of severe disease, the economy, or war. Nothing is helped when we stress over things beyond our control, but our physical and mental health suffers.

As you work to maintain a peaceful outlook amid a stressful situation, it may help to talk to someone about your feelings, forgive and let go of anger and resentments, look for any potential upside, and keep your focus on those things in your control.

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