Lower your tolerance to stress…easier said than done. I thought that we are supposed to raise our tolerance to stress! You know, take on more and handle more. This is a very appropriate time of year to identify the stressors in your life and to practice techniques that are designed to help you lower your tolerance to stress. As we move through the holidays and into a bright new year, I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge and insight about not sweating the small stuff, enjoying life more and stressing less!
There are days when I feel that I can handle a lot of stress, then there are days that I can come to a boil in an instant. Some things are easier to tolerate, while others cause an immediate reaction that may not be so pretty. So what does the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff philosophy recommend? What can I learn in chapter 19 that will help put stress in its place?
First let’s make a list of what our stressors are. Mine may be different from yours and we might have a few in common. Pull out a piece of paper and pen and let’s do this together. If you want to make this a more fun and less stressful exercise, use different colored ink or colored pencils to color code your stress items. Red might be high stress and black might be the everyday common stress. This is not a scientific project, but might help pinpoint what priority you are giving stress in your life.
- Work – My work consists of handling our business bookkeeping and record keeping, interacting with customers, employees and family.
- Family – Everything from a divorced adult son and all its complications, a daughter with serious health conditions and her upcoming wedding, an aging mother in law and all her issues, to my wonderful husband with whom I work and manage our businesses and his active never-ending outdoor activities while attempting not to piss me off!
- Writing, blogging, playing guitar and singing – Yes, even these relaxing activities can add a layer of stress as I try to satisfy my personal goals and engage my creative side. These things are to be my pleasure, but sometimes they become like another job.
- Technology - Keeping up with smart phones, computer software, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, on and on…Constantly being connected is stressful and an imposition.
- Pets – Our dogs drive me crazy and often need as much attention as a 2-year-old. They have their own unique way of making their wants and needs known, plus my husband I have to plan our outings and vacations around pet needs
I’ll stop at 5 because that is enough for this blog post. There may be more, but I’m sure that they fall somewhere in the categories above.
Dr. Carlson points out: “What you want to start doing is noticing your stress early, before it gets out of hand. When you feel your mind moving too quickly, it’s time to back off and regain your bearings. You’ll find that when you catch yourself getting too stressed out – early, before it gets out of control – your stress will be like the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill. When it’s small, it’s manageable and easy to control. Once it gathers momentum, however, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stop.”
Do we want our emotions and stress rolling and gaining momentum like a snowball? Do we want to heap on more stress to see if we can “handle” it? So, what can we do to learn to lower our tolerance to stress? First learn to recognize it, as pointed out in the paragraph above. Next, back away from it (if possible), take a walk, get a glass of water, make a cup of coffee, do some “Planking” and “reevaluate what’s important rather than power through everything on your list.”
Look for alternatives. Are there some items that you can delegate to others? For example, is there another person, who can throw in a load of wash, pick up some groceries, or run an errand? Can you take one item off your list and move it to another day to get done? Can you unplug from technology for a day or half of a day and amuse your brain with something that diverts your attention and even makes you laugh? By lowering your tolerance to stress, by using the strategies to break the cycle, you will (hopefully) find that you are becoming more effective tackling those stressful items or situations and will be stressing less in the long run.
THIS WEEKS ADVENTURE ASSIGNMENT
Lower your tolerance to stress by making a list of your stressors. Get in touch with what is really stressing you out and what importance you have given it (or them). Next, be conscious of what is stressing you and back away until you can evaluate how best to handle it, thereby taking the pressure off at the moment. Practice, practice, practice.
I look forward to your comments and insight as we continue on our path to stress less and enjoy life more!
Hello and welcome! If you are new to this blog site, or to The Don’t Sweat Adventure, please click here. Once your curiosity is satisfied, and are ready to begin, then move to the first post on May 1st.