A dear friend of mine loves to tease me about a moment in my life (many years ago) when I declared “I am removing all stress from my life!” I was experiencing extreme personal stress, and I had had enough. It became a private joke between us, because, over the years, I never did seem to remove all the stress from my life. However, what I’ve come to realize is that although you can’t necessarily remove all the causes of stress in your life, you can remove some of them, and you can change how you experience the stress in the areas of your life in which stress remains a factor. Again, it all begins with awareness.
In my previous stress blog series, I discussed the destructive nature of prolonged stress, becoming aware of what our stressors are and how we respond to them, and finding better ways to manage stress that can positively change our experience of stress.
What I didn’t discuss was how to know when we should remove ourselves from a stressful situation, instead of trying to continually cope with it. We need to know when to say, “Enough is enough”, and move on.
Knowing your true self
I think the key to this is knowing your true self, what is most important to you, what inspires you, and what takes you away from being “in-spirit”. I’ll share a story with you that might help illustrate this point.
A personal story of stress
Quite a few years back, I worked in the banking industry. I was on the managerial track, and progressing up the ladder. However, I was miserable. I was constantly feeling extraordinary stress, and it was impacting my personal relationships and my health.
Initially, I tried to cope by figuring out ways that I thought I could reduce my stress. Most of these “solutions” centered around becoming more organized and getting more training in as many areas that I could think of. But at the end of the day, I was still feeling anxious, unhappy, and burned out. It took me a while to realize there was nothing that I could do that would reduce my stress sufficiently, because the root cause of my problem was that I was not being true to my own nature. I left that job right before I was promoted. I think it saved my soul.
Being true to your nature
Now this doesn’t mean that if you are working in your “perfect” job, or in your “perfect” relationship, that you will never experience stress, or that it may even become debilitating. But what I am saying is that the FIRST STEP needs to be an awareness of who you are, what you need and desire, and if those needs and desires are being met. Only then can you move on to deciding what your next steps should be.
Awareness and some next steps
In my next post, I’ll talk some more about this awareness and those next steps. In the meantime, please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.
- 3 Uncommon Strategies to Manage Stress (psychologytoday.com)