January 26, 2011

textbook revelations #1

Stress Print by Michele Littlefield
Good morning, class! Everybody put your thinking cap on...it's time for joyful.life's textbook revelations.

Since my PDP is all about stress reduction, I thought it would be fun to share some stress reduction techniques that everyone can apply, regardless of your stress level. One thing to know about stress reduction is that it is more common for people to use reactive stress strategies (like taking a deep breath or chocolate gluttony) rather than proactive strategies, such as a workout routine or defining what is most important to you. With proactive strategies your stress level will be naturally reduced and give your mind and body the opportunity to develop resilience. I don't know about you...but I am in some desperate need of resilience.

So...to get you started...take a moment to think about the top 5 things in your life that create stress. My top 5 are 1) time - not enough for completing tasks at work and projects at home, 2) money - I am so busy I forget to manage it, 3) stupid people - I know that's mean, but sadly it's true, 4) bad/distracted drivers - because they create unnecessary danger and frustration, and 5) technology - it's a love/hate relationship.

Now, make a list of things that you can do to help reduce or eliminate those items. Note that some stress is good and some can never be eliminated. Evaluate each one for it's potential and develop a plan for improvement. For mine I plan to create some schedule guidelines to help manage my time effectively and develop a personal statement that will help me to determine if a task is important. If the task doesn't align with my personal statement it is not considered important and its priority is reduced. For money I will automate as many payments as possible and set reoccurring reminders for all other bills. For stupid people and bad/distracted drivers, well, those are stresses that can't be eliminated. For those, I will react to them with a deep breath, a smile, and move on. For technology, I can use the skills I have for troubleshooting, and the rest we'll leave up to the experts.

It is here where we encounter the hardest and most time consuming part. Implementation. Once you have identified the problem, developed multiple solutions (always come up with at least 3 options no matter how crazy they may be), and selected the best one, it is time to implement your plan. This can take some time, but it should always be worth it in the end. My issue will undoubtedly be maintenance of said plans, but through self-awareness I have identified that weakness and can avoid the downward spiral.

Lastly, I will leave you with a list of 50 Ways to Cope With Stress that I found somewhere online (my apologies to the author), which you can also download to check off those that you have mastered.

Remember: Live Simply, Breathe Deeply, and Think Happy.

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