Finding Balance: Navigating Stress in Life
Can you live a happy life full of stress? Happiness seems to always be the end goal. For everyone to be perfectly, peacefully, effortlessly happy. We all know that one person, who seems to always positive and acts like a ray of sunshine. While you on the other hand crack under stress regularly. Perhaps that person hides the fact that they’re struggling. Besides, we all handle stress differently. This leads to questions like ‘Can you have peace and stress living in harmony?’ ‘Can you have one without the other?' Or is it best to have a stress free life?
We all perceive stress differently and there are different outlets on how we direct or manage stress. For some, hearing the word alone can be stressful. It can recall things keeping you up throughout the night, or appearing in your dreams if you manage to fall asleep. You may remember how your weight, appetite, or mood has been affected when stressed. None of these factors seem desirable. Certainly, there can be times where you might not be able to eliminate or minimize stress. Some may feel as if they do not have a choice, and it is not simple or easy to stop focusing on the negative. It may feel as if they’re drowning and are unsure of where to begin to start decluttering.
This is where stress management becomes your best friend. Some simple strategies include: try allowing yourself a break throughout the day, or multiple, spend time on your hobbies; if you don’t have one this is the perfect opportunity to discover one. Find what relaxes you, and allow yourself to truly decompress and give yourself something to look forward to. Sometimes stepping away from stress first, doing less, will allow you the clarity and motivation to tackle something difficult.
What about the situations where stress can be used for motivation? Using stress as fuel to push yourself to change bad habits or routines which can include the physical, like always sleeping in, being rushed and arriving late everywhere. Or the mental, like always thinking negatively. Using stress as motivation to become productive may help you start to feel the weight lifting off your shoulders. While there might be individuals who feel overwhelmed because of stress, others may use the feeling of stress to increase productivity. There are individuals who can identify the feeling of stress, and can accept that feeling will not go away until they tackle the obstacle that is causing stress. The desire to overcome stress can be motivation to better themselves or their situation
What about those who want to remove stress completely or at least reduce it? They understand it can be done, and want to reach that end goal. The easiest place to start is at the root and to focus our energy on solutions to remove it. It is important to understand different factors cause different stressors; some are unavoidable that we have no control over, and some may take longer to get rid of. Maybe you have a financial burden, which will take time to plan how to control spending money on items that are wants instead of needs. Or maybe you have lost someone important in your life and will need time to grieve.
Then there are some stressors we know we can clean up a little faster. Maybe you have been procrastinating cleaning out your basement cluttered with years worth of belongings, and can finally dedicate a weekend to tackle this project piece by piece. What is important is understanding what stressor you could be dealing with, and allowing yourself the appropriate amount of time to make your way through it. Be realistic with your timeline, and then focus on putting one foot in front of the other until you reach the finish, however far or close that may be. Try taking huge deep breaths, at least 3, before tackling something stressful. Or better yet, do something more stressful than the thing you need to do, and then that task becomes that much easier. For example, not wanting to go to the gym may stress you out. So instead you force yourself to make a really difficult phone call. After the phone call is over, perhaps the gym won't be as daunting as it was before. Or maybe you want to ask for a promotion, which increases the stress you experience, but you also need to have an even more stressful conversation with a loved one. If you tackle the more stressful one first, you may feel the first task isn't so terrible.
Whether you view stress as something you want to get rid of, or something that gives you motivation, maybe we could all try and view stress in itself as a positive, necessary part of life instead of always assuming it as a negative. If we are always going to encounter stress, why not accept that stress will be something to deal with and try to take positive perceptions on stress from the start. Some may wish to focus on stress management, others may find it motivating, and others may wish to work towards a life that is stress free. Identifying what stressor you are dealing with and how you perceive stress is a great starting point. There will always be a solution on how to combat, or accept stress, even if your answer might not appear right away.