Sometimes stress hits us like a sucker punch to the gut. And sometimes it creeps up on us.
We may not be able to stop stressful emergencies from happening but there's a lot we can do about the stress that wears us down on a daily basis. Many of us have the same stress over and over again. And we now just accept it.
Our kids "forgot" to do their chores
Our house is a mess and our mother-in-law is coming over for dinner
Our boss keeps nixing all our ideas
One of these stresses is easy to handle. Experience them all on the same day and its stress overload. But expecting to have stress-free days isn't realistic. Sometimes life just happens. The key is to find ways to be prepared for your daily dose of annoying stress.
Think of it as your battle plan. And instead of waiting for stress to happen, you're going to tackle it head-on.
Step Up Your Meditation Game
Meditation is like brushing your teeth - do it every day because it's good for you. There are plenty of apps that allow us to meditate during our lunch breaks or while sitting at our kid's soccer practice. It's a matter of making it a priority instead of a luxury.
To help build a stronger practice, try incorporating elements into your daily meditation like crystals or essential oils. In Choosing Healing Crystals for Anxiety, Ella Gibbons shares how a stone's energy is more important than color:
"The right crystal will call to you. That sounds a bit like new-age nonsense but it’s true. Your goal isn’t to try to figure out why it’s calling to you, just that it feels right."
Do some experimenting and start surrounding yourself with elements that bring peace and help calm your mind during your next meditation.
Put Out Stress Fires Before They Start
I'm a big fan of preventing stress before it happens. This was a very hard lesson learned.
After living with the never-ending cycle of stress-react-stress, I changed my mindset. It's not enough to simply react every time there's a fire to put out. Why keep solving the same crisis over and over again? Why run around in circles reacting to situations you can change?
There are many things we can't change but many of our most draining stresses happen over and over again. Let's say you have the same argument with your partner every weekend about your recycling habits. He's annoyed because you keep putting glass in in the cans bin. But you only have paper, bottles, plastic, and tin recycling bins!
Instead of fighting over and over, the solution is very easy: get a glass bin too!
This is a simplistic example yet it illustrates that we don't have to live with the same stressors. Strive to solve these situations instead of reliving them over and over. Some will be easy to solve and some may take a lot of time and energy. Just remember your hard work will pay off in the long run.
Start Saying No
In 12 Ways to Bring Peace Into Your Days, Dr. Paulette Sherman advises us to:
"Say no to things that drain your energy and that don’t align with your Spirit. This enables you to say Yes to the things that do bring peace to you."
This seems so easy to do: we just start saying no. Yet, it's not always simple to do.
We over-commit to things we enjoy. We try to please everyone while putting our needs on the back burner. And we end up stressed out and forgetting why we enjoyed these things in the first place.
This one may require some deep self-analysis, but take the time to figure out what activities align with your Spirit. Say Yes to the things that won't create more stress and anxiety. And start saying No to the activities that only add negative energies to your already hectic day.
Simple Changes for Big Results
It's not an exaggeration to say that meditation saved my life. It brings me a sense of quiet strength and balance that cannot be overstated. It's a foundation that I've built my life upon.
That's a conscious choice and the first defense in my anti-stress battle plan.
Your battle plan will be different but the goals will be the same. Stop accepting that your day will always be stressful because that's the way life is. Start creating a personal anti-stress plan that works for you. While we'll never be able to eliminate every stress, we can do a lot to prevent challenges and create a stronger mental foundation for handling stress.