The Stress Reduction Mindset
During Stress Awareness Month we at AMK Coaching have talked about the many types of stress you can experience, how to recognise it and how to cope with it through many ways including relaxation, diet and exercise.
We have focussed on external factors that cause us an unhealthy amount of stress. However, what about the times when we bring stress upon ourselves because of our beliefs, values, standards and ways of thinking. In other words, our mindset and the way that we respond to situations and events can create greater stressful for ourselves.
Here are 5 ways that we change our mindset in order to help ourselves cope and reduce the levels of stress that we create for ourselves:
#1. Be Realistic and More Accepting of the Situation
While we should always aim for achieving 100% in everything we do, we should be realistic and accept when we have not achieved perfection. Perfection is a rare thing and, as long as we know that we have tried our very best, we shouldn’t punish ourselves when things fall a little short of it. Especially when, in our hearts of hearts, we know that while not perfect, our efforts have actually come very close to the mark. Be kinder and more forgiving to yourself for being human. While people achieve wonderful things of every moment of every day, we are nevertheless only human and shouldn’t punish ourselves for that.
#2. Don’t Let the Quest for Perfection Lead to Procrastination
Often, seeking perfection can lead to inaction because we fear making mistakes. We fear being less than perfect and delivering a good or service that doesn’t quite meet our own expectations. How stressful is that?
Very good, or even very, very good within budget and deadline has to be better than ‘promising the earth’ as long as that person is willing and able to wait for you to get around to it.
#3. Don’t Fight Every Battle!
Sometimes we feel in ‘superhero’ mode, wishing to right every wrong. While most of us would agree that being principled and standing up for what you believe is an excellent trait to have, we unfortunately do not have the time and resources to deal with every issue that comes our way. We have to pick and choose our battles. Prioritise what we undertake and that may either be choosing those that:
- Are the most important causes to us;
- where we feel we can achieve the most, and/or
- picking those that we are most likely to win.
#4. Patience Really is a Virtue
We live in an increasingly 24/7 ‘I want it yesterday culture’. We’re so used to a fast world, which only appears to be getting increasingly faster that we never seem to question whether this need for speed is truly necessary. Some things are truly urgent. They do have to be done now and it would be unrealistic to claim otherwise. However, how true is that of the vast majority of activities that take place on our planet? When setting deadlines for others, being realistic about when they should be set is a very simple way of reducing a lot of unnecessary stress.
#5. More Accepting of Others
Remember how we mentioned earlier that you’re only human? Well, guess what? So are all the other people you have and will associate with. And, as a result, while they will each have great personal qualities, they will also have what managers will politely refer to ‘areas for development’. We all have them, so maintaining some humility more do wonders for reducing your stress levels. It’s very easy to blame others for causing us stress due their ‘incompetence’, but is it so true, or so fair? When we feel stressed because we feel wronged or inconvenienced is it really always the other person’s fault? Or is it just as much to do with our ‘unforgiving’ mindset that says that only other people are wrong and that we are always perfect? By accepting the fallibility of others as well as ourselves we can reduce stress levels all round. And that is what you want, isn’t it?