Being stressed out has a crippling effect on our creativity and our ability to enjoy life. The purpose of these reminders is to help you walk in the direction of your happiness, and to move beyond the stressful situation by moving through it with peaceful awareness.
“Most things I worry about never happen anyway.” – Tom Petty
When stress lingers inside of us, it’s often not the load that breaks us down; ultimately, it’s the way we carry that load that either breaks us down or moves us forward. It’s not just the major stressors that trouble us, either. The seemingly small, everyday pressures can take a toll on our bodies, minds, and spirit.
No matter how this turns out, it’s going to end up the way it’s supposed to be. That’s what I’ve been telling myself for some time now, and I can personally say that it has been a huge stress buffer. Either I succeed or I learn something. Either way, there’s something to treasure, to grow from, to smile about, and to be at peace with.
If you’re stressed out and you’re having a tough time letting go of it, try staying open to new ways of looking at what’s going on. Sometimes, all you need is a super simple reminder that there’s this other way of seeing the situation, and that new perspective may be just the thing that lifts your burden.
10 Reminders When You’re Stressed Out
1. Not all thoughts are true.
Many of our negative thoughts are not facts–they’re just thoughts. Stressful feelings are often rooted in untrue thoughts that have the tendency to beget more untrue, negative thoughts, thus more stress, and so on. You have the ability to break the cycle.
Get honest and ask yourself of the thought, “Is it true? Is it 100% true?” Be still and answer honestly. Where did this thought really come from, and how do you feel when you think this thought? Can you find any evidence to disprove this thought?
One way to get around the source of stress is to first address it, then dispute it.
2. What you say is important.
The things you whisper to yourself have the capacity to either lift you or drain you. Ruminating on negative thoughts, for example, gives them the power to control your experience, while prioritizing positive thoughts encourages an optimistic mindset and enhances your experiences.
The words you speak are also powerful, for they reveal how you really feel about life. For instance, “should have” and “what if” statements are signs that we spend more time worrying about missed opportunities and negative outcomes and less time contemplating what has gone right, what we’ve learned, and what could go right.
Slow down the momentum of your negative thinking and speech–slow down physically, mentally, and emotionally–and you can better face the situation with a clear mind and a fresh perspective.
3. It’s good to accept help.
Doing everything yourself isn’t just unnecessary, it’s ineffective. Sometimes we’re too caught up in what we’re doing that we can’t see any other possible solutions, and in those times it’s wise to seek the help and insights of others. Who are the people in your life who are always supportive, constantly cheering you on, and persistently positive about your dreams? Be open to receiving their help and advice when you need it.
4. Comparison is unrealistic.
You don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else but who you were yesterday, and you don’t even need to do that. Comparison isn’t a necessary ingredient of peace or happiness. Comparing your part of the journey to someone else’s much different part of their journey doesn’t support your positive, personal evolution. This is your life to live, so show up for yourself as yourself.
Follow your own path, which might be a little bumpy, but, as Vincent van Gogh once said, “Normality is a paved road: it’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
5. There’s something to be grateful for right now.
When you’re caught up in the stress, think of one good reason you’re blessed. Overlooking what’s wonderful is a tragedy. Do your best and let go of the rest. Don’t let what you want make you forget about what you have. It’s impossible to be happy if you’re not grateful.
Discover something positive to shift your attention to, no matter how small that something is, and even if you have to look a little harder to recognize its existence.
6. There’s something to be learned.
As Willa Cather said, “There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.” Sometimes I wonder about the things I’ve learned from loss, and whether or not I would have learned them otherwise, or how else I would have learned them, or if I would even be here now if things had been different. I don’t have all the answers, and I’ve come to learn that if I can make peace with not knowing, yet find a lesson in the middle of not knowing, then I am far more powerful than I have ever believed.
We are capable of finding meaning in nearly anything, so long as we have a why to live for. Sometimes, that why is learning what we need to learn in order to peel back another layer of ourselves.
7. There are simple joys to be found.
There is beauty to be seen, and there are flowers for those who choose to see them. If you slow down enough, the small splendors of the world will reveal themselves to you. With every mindful shift in attention, a new beginning is born.
8. Not everything is under control, but everything will be okay in the end.
If it’s not okay right now, just hold onto your faith that things will turn out okay. External factors (like job obligations and relationship issues) are a part of life, but they only become overwhelmingly stressful if we associate them with a fear we have. Fears are based on the expectation of how things “should” be, but we cannot be in control of the world.
Believing we need to make everything happen, fix everything, and do it all is a sure way to be stressed out.
It’s okay to let go of control, to do your best, to be okay with uncertainty, to trust in your ability to figure things out, and to trust the process of your journey.
9. You can make a decision that you love.
When you love your decisions, you don’t need to rely on the opinions and expectations of others so much. When you support your own happiness, you can find a ray of hope in a stressful situation. Focus on building a strong, peaceful, loving inner world so that you can act from this place rather than just being a volatile reaction to life’s volatile stressors. One (teeny, tiny) decision at a time, you grant yourself permission to become a conscious collaborator in the manifestation of your own miracles.
Do something–do anything you feel truly good about–right now, and say, “I love this choice I’m making.”
10. The only person you can change is yourself.
When I say, “you can only change yourself,” I really mean that you can only become yourself. You become more and more yourself as you learn and evolve, struggle and succeed. You can change what you know and how you apply that knowledge in order to be closer to who you are meant to be.
You cannot make anything else or anyone else be something it’s not, or someone they’re not ready to be. Everyone has their own story to write, and it’s not up to you to write anyone’s story but your own.
Accept the outside as it is, don’t try to mold people into unrealistic versions of your expectations, and just practice being the best version of yourself. Concentrate on what you can change, and on what you can discover about yourself.
When you’re stressed out, what peaceful or encouraging thoughts do you try to remember?
Please share your own thoughts, lessons, insights, or experiences with me in the comments.
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“Stress never feels as natural as peace does.” – Byron Katie