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A simple secret to manage stress

“We suffer not from the events in our lives, but from our judgement about them.”

Pyschologytoday.com

Hello Motivation Seekers, well what a week it has been!  Coronavirus seems to be all that everyone is talking about.  I was out of coverage for news, social media and phones all week whilst doing the Abel Tasman track, so it came as a bit of a shock at the end when we found out what had been going on in the world and how much things had changed in one short week.

Tramping the track was extremely challenging, though we did manage it and felt proud of ourselves.  The thing I realised though, was that whilst dealing with the day to day tramping, getting from point A to point B and overcoming all the aches, pains and self doubt was nothing compared to coming back and finding out all the scary stuff going on in the world right now.

The first night I was back, I read everything I could on social media and then couldn’t sleep that night.  I felt anxious, worried and concerned.  I kept thinking of the worst scenario, the old “what if” syndrome.  How is that helping?  Does it solve anything?  What if the stuff I am predicting doesn’t happen anyway, all that worry would have been for absolutely nothing.

Our quote sums it up, it’s not what is happening that matters, it is what we think of what is happening that matters.  When I got worried and felt sick about it all, I was judging the situation and making myself feel worse.  Yes, it is bad and it can feel really scary.  However, it is all out of our hands.  We can’t control that this has happened.  We can control how we deal with this and how we react to it.  That’s not to say that we put our head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening.  The secret to coping with the stress of this situation, or any that threatens us, is to focus on the part of it that we can control ourselves, and put plans in place for that.  Taking action is always preferable to just worrying about outcomes.

If you are feeling like you can’t control your thoughts about this situation, then try some relaxation techniques.  Practise mindfulness and meditation or just deep breathing.  When we are worried or stressed our breathing becomes really shallow, which adds to the stress levels, so take time to do some deep breathing, take a deep belly breath through the nose to the count of 5, then release through the mouth to the count of 5.  Do this 3 to 5 times and you will find that you feel more relaxed and in control.

Find out what you need to know and make some plans to minimise your risk.  Doing this in a methodical and relaxed way without panicking will help you feel less stressed.  The key again is to be non-judgemental about it, not letting your mind run away with the outcome, but feeling that you are doing all you can to protect yourself and keep yourself safe.

Practise affirmations and positive thinking.  Focus on helping and serving others will also help reduce your stress levels and make you feel that you are contributing.  Remember, the worst of times in our lives can sometimes lead to the biggest breakthroughs in our lives.  It’s not about what happens to us, it’s all about how we react to what happens to us.

I hope you have a good week, where you manage to find peace and calmness amidst the chaos.  Let there be loving and caring in your week along with less stress and more focus on the things you can control.