Do you feel like your life is a series of unfortunate events?
Do you feel like running away? Would you like some tips on how to overcome stress?
If you find yourself leaning towards answering Yes, you are not alone. Many people feel that way. Let’s explore three misconceptions related to this issue.
First misconception is that the only way to feel less stressed is to run away. In a discussion with friends, I heard one person saying “I need a vacation to deal with life but I can’t afford it.” Do you think that an expensive vacation is the only way to break the stress cycle and deal with life?
Well, vacations do help to break the routine but they are not the only ways.
Furthermore, you can’t take vacations all the time and they may or may not be affordable. Expensive vacations might not be a good example of how to overcome stress. There are other ways.
Simple techniques are available and accessible to you to break the stress cycle and increase peace and joy in your life.
What are these techniques? When you reflect, you will find that you already know many of them.
You will find a systematic approach to these techniques in the book “Stress To Joy”.
The second misconception is that either we need to have full control of events or we are doomed.
In today’s highly demanding society, you may feel the need to control everything. When things don’t go according to your desire, you may feel frustrated. You are right that you don’t have control of life’s circumstances but you do have influence.
Now, am I just playing with words? No.
There is a clear distinction between control and influence. Have you ever noticed that a gardener has an influence on choosing the right place to plant a seed? A spot is chosen based on the seed’s light needs and the supply of the proper amount of water and fertilizer, still the gardener doesn’t have control over when the flower will bloom. Similarly, you have an influence on your life’s circumstances by the choices you make every day, although you don’t have control of how the circumstances would unfold.
Many people have extreme viewpoints.
The people with one extreme viewpoint will say that all the circumstances are outside your control so you cannot do anything about it. Just accept them. Some people accept their circumstances with bitterness. They carry anger and resentment in their heart.
Others, accept their circumstances with hopelessness.
The people with other extreme viewpoints say it is all your mistake. Everything that happens is your fault or the result of your wrongdoing. All is in your hands. When you have this extreme viewpoint, it may help or hurt you. You may feel good if you are able to change your circumstances but also bad because you feel that you caused the problem in the first place.
If you are not able to change your circumstances, you feel that there is something wrong with you.
Observing the confusion that gets created by these seemingly opposing extreme viewpoints, I am a proponent of a balanced viewpoint. There are some things that are outside your control and there are others that are consequences of your decisions. The best approach is to focus on what you can do to influence your situation and accept what is not in your control.
The third misconception is that all stress will disappear if you wait long enough. Sometimes, people wait until the stressors turn into major problems.
For example, when sleep or weight issues are not attended soon enough, they turn into physical or mental illnesses or make an existing illness worse like heart disease or depression.
Some simple changes when made early enough can make a huge difference.
When you correct some of these misconceptions, you will find better ways to break your stress cycle without running away from them. Breaking the stress cycle regularly is crucial because if you don’t, you will be at risk of developing ill health. If you do take steps to address your stress in the early stages, you will be able to enjoy your life fully and be the best you could be.
So, my response to the question at the beginning of this blog is that your life is not a series of unfortunate events causing stress but a series of challenges that are opportunities for bringing out the best in you.
You don’t have to run away from them but transform them into opportunities for growth using simple tools. I have tried to collect many of these tools in the toolbox that forms my program and book “Stress To Joy.” I suggest that you explore these tools from wherever you find them. Use what makes sense to you and leave what doesn’t but take steps before your stress changes into illness.
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#1 Best Selling Author, Speaker, and Psychiatrist
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I share many tools and techniques that I have found to be helpful. They are not intended to replace treatments. Please seek treatment from licensed medical or health professionals as needed. I change all names for privacy.