BY J.P. HOGAN
Many of us are familiar with the sources of stress these days - busy schedules, conflicting requirements, personal finances, job demands, personal pet peeves, etc, etc. Additionally, many are equally familiar with the time-tested measures one can use to deal with stress - eat right, get some exercise, make sure you get enough sleep, take time out for yourself, and so many more. All the demands of life, the personal irritants and the advice on how to cope with stress can become overwhelming and paralyzing at some point. Over time I’ve found some simple keys for dealing with stress in my own life. First, put the event or action that is causing stress in perspective (does it really matter?) and second, take action to address the things that do matter or that can be influenced directly.
Putting things in context is step one. Is the issue really important to me and is it affecting something in my life that really matters? If not, why let it cause stress? This takes some thought and it starts by spending some time deliberately thinking about the things that really do matter in your personal and professional life. Once you’ve got a firm grip on what really matters to you, you’re in a position to look at the issue from a different perspective. It’s surprising how often I’ve discovered that I am “stressing” about something that is of little real consequence in my life after taking a brief moment to remember what really matters.
Step two is acting to address those issues or things that are causing stress. In this case, I’ve found it useful to recall an anonymous quote I ran across several years ago. “It’s tough to roll up your sleeves when you’re wringing your hands.” In a nutshell, these words capture the essence of first knowing what matters and then taking action to address the things that can be directly influenced. Standing around fretting about something won’t solve anything, but taking action on the things that matter is a sure-fire way to reduce stress. Often, stress can be the result of having too little time to take action on the many fronts. Knowing what matters most also gives you the ability to establish some priorities to help you build an action plan addressing the issue(s) causing stress at any given time.
Here at iMatter we have developed some tools and processes that can help you identify what matters most in your life and, as a result, help you deal with stress.