Here’s a guest blog by Stephanie Goddard on stress management and acceptance.
You’re stressed. I know without you even saying it. How? Because that is everyone’s answer to, “How are you?” All day long. And, frankly, I’m tired of hearing about it. Stress is a badge of honor. We LOVE to be stressed. It makes us feel vital, alive and needed. Right up until it sucks. You didn’t backspace to another article. You may be ready to finally shake those old scripts your parents and your teachers put into place and start to think for yourself. It’s about time too.
Maybe you find this tone refreshing…or maybe you are insulted and continuing to read so that you can prove my advice to you as incorrect, and therefore, make me wrong. Either way, you are judging the situation.
In the first scenario, you’ve decided to like me. In the second, you don’t. But these are words on a page. They are objective pieces of black and white text put in a certain order and are as various and changeable as the number of people who read them. And that’s true with every single thing you see.
You (and I) make decisions constantly that put us in the state of acceptance or the state of resistance. That latter state—that’s the one that is the problem. That’s the state of stress.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is it true that you aren’t really trying or helping if you aren’t stressed?
- Can you be of use if you give just a little and remain calm?
- Do you believe we will judge you if you aren’t trying hard?
- Are you judging ME for suggesting you give without hurting yourself in the process?
You will forever be stressed unless you do one thing, constantly, every day: accept what is. Are you thinking something like: “But if I accept my boss just like he/she is, then they will run over me.” “The oil spill! I can’t accept such a tragedy…that’s irresponsible!” My children…I must tell them how to live, how to act, how to be in this world!”
In the famous words of Dr. Phil: How’s that workin’ for ya?
Reality and Stress
Reality or Life or Nature or the Universe…God. It’s all the same thing. And it’s in charge. You are not. The sooner you get your stressed-out mind around THAT, the sooner you will know a calm that will rival any Zen Master.
To resist what is happening is not only ineffective, it’s pure arrogance. Who are YOU to resist what is happening? A traffic jam ahead? Your boss didn’t say thank you? Is it too hot/cold? How many thoughts a day do you have like this? Hundreds? And have you found that your resistance to a thing, a traffic jam for instance, has changed that thing? Has the traffic started moving because you raged and pounded on your steering wheel? How many more times will you try that technique before you try another way?
Maybe you’ve heard this before…maybe you’ve heard it enough to think, ‘Well, why do I have to stop getting involved and try to change circumstances and people, but the writer of this article is trying to do the same thing to me? What gives HER the right?”
Here’s why I’m allowed to attempt to change your mind about your mind: because you sought me out. I didn’t come looking for you. I have a very limited, specialized area of knowledge and a responsibility to myself and my God to share it. When it’s needed. When it’s asked for. I don’t go around preaching or forcing. I make it available, and let it land on a ready-mind or let it remain unread. Not my business. Not my world. I can’t bend reality to my desire. I can only act when I feel motivated to do so, with no expectation of how it SHOULD turn out. And I am rarely stressed.
I am stressed about 10-20% of the time. You may be thinking, “Well, shouldn’t the owner of a stress management website NEVER experience stress?” I supposed that’s about as reasonable as asking a doctor why he/she gets sick. Are you back to trying to be right by making me wrong? Why do you do that? Do you not want your mind changed? Are you really tired of being stressed? I have no stake either way. It’s your state of mind to do with as you like.
But if 10-20% sounds good to you, then simply hear what I do to make that true…and you can take it or leave it: I accept what is happening. I accept it all. The good, the “bad”, the traffic jam. I notice that whether I agree with what is happening—or whether I rage against it—what is…is. And I don’t get a say in it. All I get is my acceptance or my resistance.
Why not try it? Try it for an hour. Try it for a day. When you find you aren’t doing it, don’t judge…don’t resist the natural tendency that was taught to you for many, many years. Just notice it, and gently put yourself back into accepting whatever is happening. Act when you feel absolutely wonderful. Let everyone and everything unfold. Get out of the way and see how the day turns out pretty much the same way it does every day. With or without your approval.
There really is no other sane option.
From the book jacket ‘101 Ways to Love Your Job’ Stephanie Goddard (Davidson) is considered a subject matter expert in workplace communications and specializes in leadership and interpersonal skills training. Her clients include many Fortune 500 companies as well as non-profit and public sector employers. Frequently appearing as a guest on radio programs and published in numerous articles on workplace communications, Stephanie is the author of ‘101 Ways to Have a Great Day at Work’ which is an Amazon ‘business-bestseller’; a SHRM bestseller; and has been translated into 14 languages. She is also a nationally-certified trainer in numerous stress management techniques. Stephanie lives in Raleigh, NC where she creates and conducts workshops as well as provides coaching to her local government’s employees including EMS personnel, social workers, elected officials, law enforcement officers, rescue workers, engineers and city planners. She is also the owner of Work-Stress-Solutions.Com.
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