We are all guilty of more than a few sins when it comes to managing stress. Be it, sweeping the problem under the rug, bottling it up and exploding, or taking it out on others. Does this sound like you? I know I’ve been there before. So without further ado, I give you the top 3 sins of managing stress:
#1 – Any statement that begins with, “If I could just find/make the time…”
There is no time to find or make. It is only in the Alice & Wonderland of our own heads that we can bamboozle ourselves into believing the myth that we are going to find or make more time. Time is a finite phenomenon that is always being used for something (even if that something is nothing or scrolling through IG).
Finding or making the time really means exchanging the use of time from one thing to another. How time works in the real world is that it is always a trade-off. Until you accept that and start making trade-offs, i.e an hour of work for an hour of self-care, you will NEVER find the time.
#2 – Trying to calm down
The conventional wisdom when we are stressed out is to “calm down” and try to relax. You know, like deep breaths and meditation, etc. In my opinion, that is one of the worst things you can do. Besides the fact that it doesn’t work (at least not for very long), it’s like taking a holistic Xanax. Just like popping a pill, instead of discovering, processing, and expressing what’s causing you to be anxious or overwhelmed, you simply take a drug or use some meditation to shove the genie back in the lamp.
The roots of a stress trigger must always be discovered, witnessed, befriended, and resolved for a stress management technique to be enduring.
Check this out for more information on how calming down could make it worse.
#3 – Ignoring the elephant in the room
Everybody has a few arch-villains that are stressing them out. These arch-villains could be unintegrated trauma from their past, an abusive relationship, a toxic work environment, and so on. Most folks either ignore the elephant in the room – their chief stressor – or pretend that they don’t have to deal with it.
I can tell you, that does not work, though most people will bend themselves into pretzels (that would impress Cirque De Soleil acrobats) to avoid dealing with their chief issues… sometimes, for their entire life.
Conquering these chief villains takes courage, a determination to grow, and skillful support. It can and should be done.
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