Use This Unique Tool to Lower Stress

Most of our stress can be avoided.

Insert look of disbelief here.

I know, I know…it’s easier said than done.

If there was an easy answer wouldn’t we already be doing it?

True. True.

There isn’t necessarily an EASY answer, but I would like to introduce you to a simple and unique tool you can use in any situation to reduce your stress immediately.

However, just like any other practice, you kind of need to PRACTICE it for it to work.

You can’t expect to have large biceps if you never use those muscles.

Tools to lower stress

It’s the same thing for any stress-management practice.

You have to actually do that practice on a regular basis when you are not stressed, and therefore develop a body memory.

Then when you face a stressful time you can use that practice to help you.

So here it is.

Every situation can be broken into 2 aspects. Things about the situation you CAN control and things about the situation that you CANNOT control.

This may seem simplistic but it is actually very profound.

There are many things we cannot control and it’s in our best interest to get really clear around those things.

In general, we cannot control the following:

  • The past
  • The future
  • What others think or feel about us
  • The actions of others
  • Our past actions
  • Our future actions
  • The weather
  • Global pandemics

Almost all of our suffering and stress come from trying to control things we cannot control.

I’ll repeat.

Almost all of our suffering and stress come from trying to control things we cannot control.

AND

We can only really control our present thoughts and actions.

The first step in reducing your stress and suffering is to recognize what about a situation you can and cannot control.

Suffering and stress

I recommend making a list. Get out an old-fashioned piece of paper or put it on your phone or computer.

At the top put the name of the thing that is bugging you.

Let’s say it’s your current weight.

Then make a list of things about your weight that you can control.

Remember, you can only control your present thoughts and actions.

So….what about this process can you control?

You can control what you eat, how often you exercise, what you don’t eat, what you keep in your fridge, etc.

It’s okay to plan for the future as long as you remember that planning doesn’t mean it will work out as you planned.

Now write down what you cannot control. This might include “how your body reacts to what you eat or your exercise”, all of the “bad” things you did in your past, what others think about you, etc.

Just look at that list for a second. Now make your own list.

Do you see anything (I mean on your list) that you have been stressing about that you cannot control?

Yeah, most people do.

It’s okay. We are all learning.

And….you CAN control your THOUGHTS.

It is your job to control your thoughts if you want to be happy.

The tough part is controlling those thoughts in the present moment, to be present, and not worry about the future or fret about the past.

And your logical argument to yourself is that you needn’t worry or fret about things you cannot control because you cannot control them.

Make sense?

Now focus your attention on one action you can take in the near future that will help you overcome this issue.

If it’s your weight maybe you can make a commitment to lose weight. Maybe it’s reaching out to get some accountability from a friend.

Focus on a small action step you can take right away that will make the situation better.

This is so much better (and more productive) than fretting or worrying.

Because if there is one thing fretting, regretting, or stressing cannot do, that is to better any situation.

Rather than sitting and fretting, regretting, or stressing, you can adjust to actually change the situation.

You can take action. You can shift your mindset. THAT is where the magic is!!

Again, I know this tool may seem simple. But what makes it hard is that it has to be a practice or else you’ll probably just read this and forget about it.

If you want to make real change in your life and reduce your stress, I recommend trying this out. It is one of the most powerful practices I use.

And it connects very nicely with the blog post I wrote last week about accepting and loving yourself.

Understanding what you can and cannot control and really being clear on those things allows you to realize that accepting and loving yourself is one thing you CAN control.

And it allows you to accept yourself as you are AND strive to be better.

If you are sick and tired of yo-yo dieting and want to find out what might be the next best steps for you, I invite you to schedule a free strategy call with me. Just click the link below.

Read More Blogs about Stress Management!

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