cognitive behavioural therapy; psychology; relationship counselling

How to stress-proof your life

How to stress-proof your life

There are sure fire ways to stress-proof your life. While it’s impossible to never feel stressed, there are ways to manage stress and to reduce it’s impact. The more stress we can avoid the better.

Cross that bridge when you get to it

In other words, try not to worry about something that might never happen. We often try to predict the future with “what if…?” thoughts but this isn’t helpful. There is no evidence that something will happen and we waste precious time unnecessarily worrying about the future. Instead of fretting over something we in all likelihood have little to no control over, tell yourself that you will cope with whatever comes your way.

Mindfulness

Most of our stress comes from our thoughts. We make up all sorts of scenarios in our minds, we buy into our fears and allow our insecurities to lead the way. Learn to dismiss the thoughts and get back to the present moment. Try living in the here and now, not in the past or the future. Focus on what is around you – what can you see, touch, hear, taste, smell and touch? Less time in your head automatically means less stress.

Don’t believe your thoughts

Thoughts aren’t facts. Just because they enter into our heads doesn’t mean that we must pay them attention. Imagine that you were a bus driver and had to drove your bus from Depot A to Depot B. You get into your driver’s seat but there are all these noisy passengers on your bus. They are shouting at you. They’re saying things like: “You’re not good enough to drive this bus, we want another driver”; “What if we get lost?” What if we never arrive at the other depot?”; “You look like a useless driver? You look like you cn’t read a map or drive properly”…etc

If you paid attention to every negative comment, you would never get the bus to Depot B or you might but with great difficulty. This is how it is in life when we pay too much attention to our negative thoughts. Think of them as annoying passengers on a bus. They will hinder you not help you.

I visualise myself pressing a button and this sound proof glass pane lifting up and separating me from the passengers/negative thoughts. They are there trying to distract me but I can’t hear them any more…I focus on the task at hand.

Self belief

Stress is often generated by self criticism and our lack of self belief. We talk ourselves into belieiving that we aren’t good enough, smart enough, clever enough etc Again, these negative thoughts (our inner bully effectively) distract us and veer us away from reality. Just becasue we see ourselves a certain way doesn’t mean others do. When you don’t feel confident the best thing you can do is go ahead anyway and “act as if”. Be an actor/actress. How would a confident person act? Would they stand a certain way, act a certain way? Visualise this and try to emulate this behaviour. Acting confident tricks the brain into feeling more confident.

Stop being afraid of failure, be more afraid of never trying. If you avoid things you will never reality test your scary thoughts and you will never know what could have been. Be brave and be bold and give it a go.

Make yourself vulnerable, believe that you can get through even if things don’t turn out as planned. That’s what living life is all about – being adventurous.

Stop being so serious

The end result is the same for all us. Start lightening up a bit. We are born into this world alone and we leave alone. What we do inbetween is up to us. You can choose whether to take life really seriously and stress yourself out or you can adopt a different strategy – one where you learn to laugh at yourself a bit more and be more playful in life. Laughter and a sense of humour can alleviate a lot of pressure in life. See the funny side of life, have more fun. Let stuff go – don’t allow this life to make you bitter and twisted. Find more fun!

Learn to live in the moment, be kind to yourself, spend time with good people and laugh more. Our thoughts create stress – what we think creates heaven or hell. We can’t completely avoid stress but we can help ourselves with the above strategies. I am a work in progress, I get stressed but I use the tips in this post and they definitely do help. xx

Mandy X