I am writing this during a time of social isolation in our world. The COVID-19 virus has the governments of the world issuing "stay at home" orders.
So, you’re stuck in the house for a few weeks. Your social calendar is on hold. Your workout routine is in serious jeopardy. Your dishes seem never ending. Your internet is down sporadically. You are hearing stories of job loss, illness, pay cuts. You are trying to keep yourself and your household healthy physically and emotionally. You are concerned about resources. The kids are not up for the walk that you planned to get everyone moving. Negative emotions, understandably, keep popping up.
You gotta love when your teenagers says “Hey, mom, you alright?”
My teens do call me out when I start being short tempered, rude or agitated… To be honest, having the kids out of school and the many concerns about the future has absolutely brought on stress for my household. We all know that stress comes when we feel a lack of control or overwhelm.
I have never been one to really stuff emotions or overly sugar coat things. My natural response is to just press on harder for results, which can heighten the not so pleasant emotions and stress for everyone. I am a work in process for sure. Now, on a global level, more than ever, managing our stress is critical for healthy relationships and finding the joy and fulfillment in our lives.
Want to know the first key to reduce the stressing?
Practice acceptance first.
Does it surprise you that one of the best ways to reduce stress and diffuse any stressful situation is to simply accept it first?
Accept that we are stressing. Accept our emotions. Accept whatever is actually happening. Accept our feelings about it all. Accept that we really are stressing!
I am not saying to sit idle and make no effort to improve any stressful situation. But first, let’s get the anxiety and frustration from the stress dialed down. Is acceptance your normal response? Is the increase in frequency of stressors making acceptance more challenging? Practicing acceptance will allow us to move forward with the best next steps.
- An attitude you get to choose
- Your perspective on what is happening in the situation
- Taking control of your thoughts
- Recognizing the facts of the situation in as much detail as possible
- Identifying and acknowledge the emotions that are stressing you out
- Being honest with yourself about what you cannot change right now
Acceptance is NOT:
- Ignoring an emotion or burying your head in the sand
- Being a doormat or accepting toxic interactions
- Giving up on changing the way things are
- Ruminating about the negative
- Blaming others
- Focusing on how terrible it is
- Hoping it will just go away
- Struggling against the situation
Your stress is actually coming from the emotion that is coming up in a situation. Emotions that distress us serve important purposes in our lives. They help us adapt to or overcome life’s challenges, or protect and defend ourselves. They help us identify and respond to fear, threat, loss or new opportunity. Bad feelings do exist for good reasons.
However, the distressing emotion is not serving you well when it becomes heightened and you are not taking productive action or it is making a situation worse. Acceptance works to reduce stress because it helps you manage your emotions. If you want to stop stressing, you need to be in charge of your emotions, rather than your negative emotions being in charge of you.
When we are in a stressed state, it can be really hard to label the emotions we are feeling. If we deny the distressing emotions, ignore them, or misunderstand them, we create more stress.
In an effort to practice acceptance and to reduce stress, check out the rest of my chat about this topic on #tuesdaywithtammy on my business FB page. I share more about labeling our emotions and the cycle of emotions.
The true source of stress in your life is not whatever particular thing you think is stressing you out, it is the emotions the circumstance is stirring in you.
YOU are worth reducing your stress and making the most of these challenging times.
Let's do this!
Always with hugs, (germ free and virtual but a big ole Texas Hug, nonetheless )