Updated: Jul 30, 2019
According to an article by the Mental Health Foundation 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year, to the extent where they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
I can certainly relate to and empathise with the 74% having experienced stress and anxiety at various stages of my life. Over the years, I came to a realisation that life doesn’t get any easier and if anything, the culmination of more senior roles and responsibility only adds to the pile.
With that being said, more recently, I came to realise that situations are often what they are, but our perspective and approach is a choice we have complete control over. Someone once said to me ‘stress is a choice’ and at the time it went over my head. The further I thought about it, I realised how true that actually was.
It instilled a sense of power in me, realising that we all have the capacity to dictate our thought patterns and the lens from which we view situations opposed to trying to change them.
Below, I have shared my Top 3 tips for how to reframe the way you think about stressors in your life:
1: Build Resiliency
As mentioned above, life doesn’t tend to get any easier and with that considered, it isn’t necessarily always optimal to focus on changing situations. Instead, turn your attention to building character and resiliency to improve your ability to deal with whatever comes your way. Building resiliency often consists of not allowing situations to be bigger than they need to be along with prioritising positive outcomes opposed to only seeing the negative.
2: Pursue Your Passion
In life, I see many people simply going through the motions. Whether it’s their work or family life, they often lack energy and vigour. When I have spoken to some of these same said people, the majority tend to report that they’re unhappy with the nature of the work they do and they often feel they’re destined for something more. Inherently, this makes them prone to stress, mental health challenges and depression.
As cliche as it may sound, we only have one life and I feel it’s crucially important to pursue your passion in life over and above doing things simply as a means to an end. Often when I mention this, most people’s response consists of excuses as to why they can’t make that leap of faith. You can find excuses in everything, the challenge, is being bold enough to find a way to make things work. The main objective I hear from people is that their passion isn't financially viable enough for them to sustain their current lifestyle. There are strong financial rewards at the top of any line of work but it takes depth of character and a commitment to the cause to be the person to pursue what you truly feel best serves your life.
3: Show Gratitude & Give Back
Many people have a focus on money, material items and reaching a certain level of lifestyle as the holy grail to unlock happiness in their life. These same people often inherently feel stressed based on them not having achieved the things they thought or expected of themselves. I would challenge each of you to find someone in a less fortunate position than you and give back to them with either a token of money, food, your time or your wisdom. Describe how you feel after the experience - If it’s anything short of you feeling enriched in some way, I would be surprised.
It’s inherent in human nature that a component of us thrives on being able to live a life in service of other people. By making giving back to others a central back of your lifestyle, it heightens your sense of purpose and helps move you through perceived stressful times.
Equally, I encourage you to show gratitude for the things you’re already fortunate for. Often, when we’re stressed, we feel compromised about the situation we’re being faced with. You may feel hard done by, you have run out of money or you may simply be frustrated with your Manager at work. Irrespective of the situation, at that moment, turn your attention to 3 key things you’re grateful for in your life. Whether it’s the fact that you have a device you’re able to read this article on, a roof over your head or a wonderful family that you cherish.
As a takeaway, just remember to ‘control the controllables’ and be the master of your own perception.
Disclaimer: All views expressed on this site/article are my own and do not represent the opinions or views of my current employer or any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. This post is for informational purposes only and any advice should be followed at the reader's own discretion.
©2019 by Alex Alleyne