Don’t Focus on the Stress

Let’s face it, those who have trouble coping with stress spend too much time focusing on the stress. “I’m so stressed out! I’m going to lose control!” Well, take a deep breath and focus on some realities: Stress is a normal, unavoidable aspect of life, and feeling stressed does not make you inferior to others; you can schedule stressful events under your control when you expect relatively few demands and changes in other areas of your life; you can reserve some time for yourself each day to relax, if only for a few minutes, and take a walk, listen to music, or chat with a friend – although not about stress; you can commit to and nurture important aspects of your life – your values – such as marriage, career, children, friendships and family. These are constructive actions that will distract you from focusing on stress itself and corresponding emotions like fear, frustration, and anger. Above all, when stressed, you can choose to stay away from self-defeating behaviors like excessive eating, drinking, spending, or gambling. These are avoidance actions that will only lead to increased stress. Instead of choosing such behaviors, focus on choosing actions that bring you a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and usefulness. Your actions define who you are. Choose them wisely.

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