I don’t profess to be an expert; in fact, I’d say I’m the world’s biggest procrastinator. Just ask anybody that knows me, and they will tell you, undoubtedly, that I will almost always wait until the last minute to do things. Now for most people, this would completely stress them out, but for me, it’s how I function best. I need a level of anxiety to produce my best work. I’m not saying this is how everyone should be, but as my grandma used to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” One has to identify their stressors when battling stress. There is a multitude of things that stress people out for any number of reasons, like being late, running late, being in a new situation, deadlines or family… As you can see the list can be endless. Endless but not hopeless, which is the message I’m trying to convey.
As stated previously, you must identify your stressors. Developing coping mechanisms will help you manage that stress. Let’s take my oldest daughter, who is a lot like me, she will wait until hell freezes and unthaws again before she starts a project or paper that is due. She typically calls me on the verge of tears trying to figure out how she will complete her assignment. I usually fuss at her for not doing the assignment sooner (if this isn’t the skillet calling the kettle black), but then I talk her off the ledge. What I’ve found over the years is that my daughter functions like me, she needs that anxiety and tension to do her best work, so waiting until the last minute to do things builds the necessary pressure to produce awesome results. To help my daughter, as well as myself, deal with deadline stress, we need to be able to vent and bounce ideas off someone that is objective. Once we receive that feedback, we can continue with the assignment and complete it on time. Yes, we complain about how stressed out we are and how we don’t believe we’ll ever finish or if it will be any good, but low-and-behold, she typically gets A’s and I did, as well, when I was in college. We know how to manage our deadline stress. We respect the process and we work within its parameters.
Now for those individuals that are, unlike me or my daughter, you may find that stress sneaks up on you when things are out of order. Call it compulsive, but order equals happiness to you. If you are this type of person then you would do well to always organize your stressors, but keep in mind that being open to change will also help reduce your stress. Individuals with this tendency tend to be rigid in thought and process. Learn to loosen up and don’t sweat the small stuff. Most things don’t fit into neat little packages, so being able to be flexible and amiable will help you feel less stressed when put into a typically stressful situation. For instance, you sleep through your alarm, and you need to be out the door at a certain time. If you are the obsessive-compulsive type you tend to be, you probably add a cushion in your time calculation anyway, so you’re okay. Take a deep breath and complete your morning routine as usual, what you will find, is time slows for you and you still have your time-cushion. Like I said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Now for my manics that run around like a chicken with its head cut off, slow down, smell the flowers, catch your breath, and just freakin’ breath you roadrunner on speed. What I’ve noticed in manics (like my boss) they need equalizers around them, people that don’t get panicked because they’re panicked. I am that equalizer for my boss. I force him to calm down, speak slower and clearer so I can best assist him with his latest dilemma, which is typically not that bad. Manics create their own stress in their minds by telling themselves it’s a life or death matter. The reality is, there is time, you just have to slow down long enough to see it. So to manage your self-inflicted stress, take a beat and breath a few deep breaths, and you’ll find that you will get what you want exactly when you need it, if not sooner than you need it.
For other stress factors, put workable systems in place. If you find that you are always running behind schedule or are always late, learn to do most of your morning routine at night, i.e. shower, get your clothes ready before bed, prep your lunch, set the timer on the coffee pot, and give yourself a decent cushion in the morning, so if things do get a bit side-tracked, you won’t flip-out and need a Valium to get through the day.
Family stress will always exist, but for people that get stressed by family, it’s usually because you want to solve all their problems. Sometimes all they really need is a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on. Be that type of support system. Stop trying to live their lives for them and make decisions for them. They will learn to stand on their own two feet and you will need to learn to let them. A bird cannot leave the nest unless the mother bird pushes them out into the world. Cut those damn apron strings! If you establish boundaries and learn the difference between helping and enabling, you’ll see that a good listening ear or strong shoulder will be all the help they need.
Stress is stress, is stress. You can control, manage, and reduce your stressors if you identify them and learn to work them instead of them working you. The bottom line is you can choose to be stress-free anytime you decide to put your mind to it, make a conscious decision to live a happier stress-free life so you can live to a ripe old age. Stress kills and you’re the cure!
(If this post helps you, please like and please follow. I can sometimes come up with good stuff! 🙂
© CV Davis – Author