A Handbook for Life Center Blog

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Two Secrets For Handling Stress In Your Life

Have you ever asked yourself one or more of the following questions?

Why does life have to be so hard?  Why do stressful situations keep appearing? Why aren’t I progressing the way I want to at work? Why do my kids constantly need to be reminded of their responsibilities?  Why don’t I have enough money to buy that special thing that I want?

You could probably add to the list with many similar questions of your own.   I found that the mere act of asking those questions added to my stress level.  I don’t think any of us wants to add to the stress in our lives.  So, how do we reduce stress levels and find ways to deal with the challenges of life?

I do two things.  First, I don’t ask myself “Why?”   I ask myself, “How important is this?”, and if it is important to me then I ask, “How can I change this?”  I try to put every problem into its proper perspective.  Many times when I take a closer look at a problem, regardless of how critical it may seem to be, I realize that it’s just a short term inconvenience and not worth my agonizing over.  Ask yourself if the problem is just an annoyance or something that really needs to be fixed.  Then, if you decide that you do need to take some action ask yourself questions like, “How can I fix this?” rather than, “Why is this happening to me?”

Second, when I am really overwhelmed by the challenges in my life I make a gratitude list.  You may have heard about gratitude lists and thought something like, “That’s a lot of B.S. and won’t work for me.”  Well, have you ever tried it?  I have.

Maybe you can relate to some of the issues I have used a gratitude list to help cope with.  On several occasions my wife and I lost our jobs, once within a month of each other.  I have had some very serious medical issues.  I recently added up all of the surgeries in my life and counted 15.  My son had a brain hematoma when he was two and then some additional medical issues later in life.

Maybe you are saying that your issues are worse.  That’s OK.  My point is not to compare struggles, but to explain how a gratitude list has helped me cope instead of being overwhelmed.  Rather than focusing on what I don’t have or what challenge or pain I am living through, the gratitude list lets me give thanks for things like the roof over my head, food on the table, my loving wife, my friends or whatever.

I found that taking time to give thanks for the good things in my life helps me to have the belief that I will get past the immediate crisis that I am facing.

So, my two secrets to handling stress in life are:
1. Ask yourself, “How important is this?”, and if it is important then ask, “How can I change this?”
2. Make a gratitude list that you can read when you are overwhelmed so you will be reminded that things are not as bad as they may seem.

Give those a try.  I found them to help relieve the stress in life even when things seem to be at their worst.

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