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How to Immediately Manage Uncontrollable Stress

Updated: May 20

stressed person

How's your stress level?

Has your week been crazy? It is a full moon but come on! While the full moon may impact our behavior, I tend to think it’s what we’ve set in motion, and then find ourselves resisting, that is causing us most of our stress.

For example, you’ve taken a C-level position that requires travel, you’re a mom of two teenagers, you enrolled in a class you take on weekends, you fired your house cleaner and didn’t replace her, you haven't been exercising, you didn’t take your car in for scheduled maintenance, you forgot to register it, and now everything seems to be falling apart. Your daughter is acting up. You don’t have time to shop for healthy food. You’re irritated with the dirty house. You're so tired. Your car’s ‘check engine’ light is on. You got stopped for speeding and didn’t have your car registered. And you’re wondering why this is all happening to you?

Yes, this is a true situation with one of my coaching clients, with some details left out (and mentioned here with permission).

The moment we start to feel overwhelmed and stressed is the moment we need to stop and look at what we’ve created. Take ownership. Until we do, we’ll feel like a victim and we’ll continue the cycle.  Some people are addicted to feeling this way, and actually play the martyr. If you sense this might be you, start by being honest with yourself. (The article I linked to above is a good place to start.)

Remember, stress happens when you resist something. 

We put all these things in motion, and then we resist them, or at least we resist what is currently happening as a result of the choices we made.

It’s not to say that we have created all our stress, but I’m willing to bet if you look honestly at your situation, you’ll notice you’ve created most of it. It’s been true for me, and for my coaching clients.

We can’t always accept everything. But the way we deal with the things that are happening will determine our stress level.

Whenever possible, do not resist. Accept it. Act as if you like it. Change your language around it. Tell yourself you chose it. Even if someone is bothering you with nagging words, let it in and let it flow on out. If your child is fighting you with every word, be open and accept it, like an act of love. The more you resist, the more it will persist! 

For example, consider toxic gossip at work. If you are the manager, it is important how you handle it. One technique is “feel→felt→found”. This creates an acceptance and a redirection. You have a direct conversation with the person who is gossiping:

“I know how you feel, I felt that way too when I used to get frustrated. I’d spout off just to get it off my chest. But you know what? It was only making things worse. What I found is that by shifting my thoughts about it and looking for the positive, I stopped focusing so much on the negative drama. I stopped sharing this negative drama with people. I started looking for solutions. I hope you can do the same because that is the kind of workplace we have here. I’m here to help, but ultimately it is your choice.”  

Remember the Dorothy Nolte poem “Children Learn What They Live.”  If this resonates with your personal life and your children, read this carefully and watch your own behavior. Become the person you need to be to parent appropriately. This will greatly reduce your stress.

If this is resonating with you in the workplace, just replace the word ‘child’ with ‘people’ in the poem. Become the leader you need to be to manage and lead successfully, and watch your stress melt away.

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