Stress Management and Relief

Dealing With Change

“When one door closes another door opens; but if we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.” — Alexander Graham Bell

Change is a major source of stress. Change challenges you to let go of the past, especially the comfortable, old ways of doing, to accept new challenges and opportunities for growth. There is an illusion that you can manage change by controlling the world around you, however, change is most effectively managed from within. Mohandas Gandhi explained, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Approach changes with a plan, a method of creative problem-solving. See problems as situations in need of improvement. Goals are the ways to improve the situation and programs or plans are the means by which goals are achieved.

Mastering change involves looking at the world through new lenses. Alexander Graham Bell wrote, “When one door closes another door opens; but if we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

The first step is to seek inner stability. Maintain the calm of an open mind, encourage flexibility in the face of rigidity, and be willing to abandon former perceptions and security blankets. Change, like stress, can be beneficial when harnessed

  • Be gentle with yourself. Cultivate a pleasant environment. Surround yourself with what you like whenever possible, whether it is flowers or colors or pictures. Make a space for yourself where you can relax, alone or with others.
  • Remind yourself you are an enabler, not a magician. You cannot change anyone else’ behavior. You can only change your own behavior and responses.
  • Take a mini-vacation from stress. If you can find fifteen minutes a day, or one hour a week if daily isn’t possible, make a date with yourself. Schedule a walk around the block, lunch in the park, a sunrise or sunset alone, a bubble bath without interruptions, a stroll through a favorite store, a cup of your favorite beverage away from the demands of the day. Take a deep breath and concentrate on a slow exhalation while tension melts from your limbs.
  • Have a massage. (Exchange massages with your spouse.)
  • Give support to another and learn to accept it. Everyone feels helpless (and perhaps hopeless) at some time. Admit it and get on with it. When someone needs you, be there for him/her. When you need someone, tell him/her. Use a buddy support system. Find someone you can call or talk to any time.
  • Change your routine when it might help refresh your life. Get up a few minutes earlier and go for a walk? Take a different route home from work? Wear your rings on different fingers? Order something different from a menu? Have dessert before your meal?
  • Learn to recognize the difference between complaining that reinforces stress and constructive criticism that helps.
  • Focus on one good thing that happened each day. Keep a gratitude journal where you list what you are thankful for daily.
  • Be a resource to yourself. Try something new, learn to play again. Laugh. Laughter releases endorphins, chemicals in the brain that restore calm.
  • Avoid shop talk outside of work. If you socialize with co-workers, keep it social, not a rehash of the day’s tensions.
  • Say “I choose,” instead of “I should.” “I won’t” instead of “I can’t.”
  • Make exercise a part of your daily life-even if it’s only taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking at the far end of the lot.
  • Make rest a part of the daily plan. There’s no such thing as catching up with sleep on the weekend.
  • Have a diet check-up. Eating too much fast food, deep fried, sugar-laden foods? What about your caffeine intake? Balance you diet, balance your life.
  • Say “no” when asked to do something you really don’t want to do.
  • When you’re concerned (worried) about something, write down your feelings about it or talk with someone about it. Worries shared are halved.
  • Simplify your life. Eliminate the trivial.
  • Take slow, deep breaths throughout the day. Sigh.
  • Choose not to waste time on guilt, worry about the past. Remember, events exist in time, feelings do not. The event may be past, but feelings linger on. Let go of both.
  • Enjoy nature, nurturing, music, children. Seek harmony in life.
  • Do one thing at a time. Focus on it, do it more slowly, intentionally.
  • Respect yourself. Talk positively about and to yourself.
  • Learn to relax, using prayer, meditation, yoga.
  • Accept yourself.
  • Develop listening skills and negotiation skills.
  • Be aware of the demands you place on yourself and others. Release those that are unrealistic.
  • Prioritize activities. Do what’s most important.
  • Set goals for yourself.
  • Delegate, delegate, delegate.
  • Face fears. Find facts. Take action.
  • Remember happy times. Stroll through photo albums.
  • Keys to a happy life are: something to do, someone to love, something to look forward to,
  • Do first things first.
  • Reward yourself.
  • Make your space friendly and comfortable. Give thought to lighting, temperature, noise.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Don’t seek approval from others.
  • Make peace and move on.
  • Time your activities according to your biorhythms-if you are a morning person, schedule the hardest tasks in the morning.
  • Choose to stay or leave, to work or not.
  • Choose an appropriate level of emotional involvement. Choose your attitude.
  • Have fun

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