If you’ve been stressed for a while you may have already tried the usual stress management techniques – better time management, deep breathing, learning to say no, etc.
And if those techniques haven’t helped? It might be because poor time management, poor breathing and always saying yes to people are not the causes of your stress. It might be because the stress is your reaction to the actions of others.
Take a few minutes to write down the times when you’ve felt most stressed recently – what caused that reaction in you? If the list includes the actions of other people, then this blog is for you.
Consider this – stress is not something “done” to you, it’s your response to external events. What this means is that other people do not own your stress, they can’t switch it on and off. You own the stress reaction, and while you can’t change the way other people behave you can change how you react to them. You can refuse to be negatively affected by other people’s actions.
You might also find it useful to put yourself in their shoes – why are they behaving like that? It’s probably got nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own issues – try pitying them!
By blaming others for your own stress you are in fact handing them control of the situation and giving up the opportunity to change things.
Next time you feel a stress reaction starting up in response to someone else, try saying to yourself ‘I refuse to be upset by someone who obviously has issues outside of this encounter’. Practice until it becomes a habit, and feel how much more in control it makes you feel. Let me know how you get on.