How To Overcome Stress

August 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog

Photo By Angie Rubin

Sometimes it seems to me that the last few years of my life have been mostly about overcoming obstacles and stress.  This big cycle started in 2006 with my late husband’s cancer diagnosis.  From that point on I dealt with a transplant, health insurance, losing Chris, losing my savings, my father’s serious illness, and family turmoil.  So to me all those years were sink or swim.  I chose to swim.

In choosing to live, to thrive and find contentment in very tough times, I’ve had to change the way I dealt with feelings and situations.  I’ve learned to:

  • Take deep breaths throughout my day.  It helps release stress energy and it grounds me.
  • Be fully in the present.  Thinking how life used to be or thinking ahead doesn’t help any.  It only creates more stress.  I focus on now.
  • Deal with one thing at a time.
  • Realize although my difficulty and pain are unique to me, they are not unique to human existence.  Every single one of us goes through difficulties in our lives. That helps me stop feeling like a victim.
  • Step outside the situation at hand and realize that everything that happens in our lives – whatever it is – creates the opportunity for change and wisdom.  So what can I learn from what’s going on?
  • Rely on myself.  I’ve learned to listen to my own voice.  I have a better idea of what matters to me, what I can tolerate, and what brings me contentment.
  • In solitude, I’ve learned I’m never alone.   I have always myself and with that knowledge I can create situations that bring happiness and sooth the struggle.

Of course difficult times are just that; difficult.  But if we can find ways to better navigate them, we don’t have to lose hope and despair.  Keep the other side in sight and the journey becomes a path to wisdom and contentment.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

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