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STRESS. Its a killer.

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Exercise, doing things you enjoy, getting back to nature, maintaining your physical well-being - these are all just about the best suggestions for dealing with stress that there are. Of course, I'm a girl (and slightly addicted to self-help books), so I do have some additional ideas....


Some of the suggestions on these links may seem a little touchy-feely to some of you, but any of them will help lower stress and improve a sense of balance and well-being:


LifeHack: 60 Small Ways to Improve Your Life


55 Ways to Take Care of Yourself When You're Busy


50 Life Secrets and Tips


For those of us who get stressed out because the people around you seem like hapless incompetents, your spouse/kids/friends/business partner/whoever doesn't ever seem to deliver what you expect or need, or you find yourself obsessing over what SHOULD be instead of what IS... I suggest checking out The Work by Byron Katie. One of the key things she stresses is that we need to categorize things into three areas:


  • My business
  • Their business
  • God's business


My business is exactly what it sounds like: anything that is within my own sphere of control. So it's my business what I say, do, think, eat, believe, etc. Their business is anything that is outside of my sphere of control and in the hands of someone else, like the coworker whose lunch hour is really an hour and a half or the spouse who always loses the car keys, or the neighbor who thought making a planter out of a toilet would be a good look for their front yard. God's business is stuff that is literally out of the hands of anyone you know, like the North Koreans doing missile testing or the price of ammo going up or an earthquake striking a major city in a foreign country.


Anything that is not your business is something you need to practice letting go of. You can't change it, you can't force someone else to change it, and you certainly can't stop a tsunami or un-level a building, so keeping thoughts about what should be churning just builds stress for you. Instead, bring the focus back to what IS within your sphere of control and act there. I can't make the price of ammo drop, but I can buy ammo when it's available and I have the money. I can't stop an earthquake, but I CAN be prepared in case one struck here - or I could make a donation for relief in that country. I can't force my spouse to put their keys in the same place every night, but I can keep track of my OWN keys (and I can possibly find a smart phone app so they can track their keys). I can't teach my coworker that it's disrespectful to blow off work or that it puts their job at risk, but I CAN be conscientious about my own work habits.


It's AMAZING how much stress you take off your shoulders when you stop arguing with reality about how things should be and just deal with those things you can actually influence. It takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders and it frees you from feeling so critical about other people's behavior, which just makes you feel better overall.

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