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December 9

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Stress Happens – Choose Your Battles and Learn Acceptance

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Stress happens. We all get stressed and sometimes pretty agitated when things don’t go according to plan. Here’s how you can master the power of ACCEPTANCE to help you win the battle against the harmful effects of stress.

Things don’t always work on time. Things break. People don’t always do what they promise, and sometimes they’re rude, too.

Bad things happen to good people, and dropped toast lands jam-side down.

Maybe you can see what I’m leading up to.

It’s a critical coping strategy for stress: ACCEPTANCE

Let me be clear, though, that acceptance is not about giving up, giving in or becoming apathetic.

It’s about choosing your battles and being clear about how you spend your energy. When you have more energy, you’re more resilient to stress.

Rule 1 for ACCEPTANCE: Don’t stress over the small stuff

The rule is: if no one died, or was seriously harmed, it’s small stuff.

If you’re stressing about something, try to get a view of the bigger picture.

Put it into perspective.

Will this seem important a year from now? A month?

A good question to ask yourself is: How much time (and energy) am I going to spend being stressed/upset / unhappy about this? 5 minutes? Or 5 days?

Then take a few deep breaths and start creatively thinking about solutions.

Rule 2 for ACCEPTANCE: Count Your Blessings

One good way to find a better perspective into any situation is to focus on the many ways that you are blessed, gifted, lucky, or whatever you want to call it.

In fact, a good mantra when you’re feeling freaked out is: ‘I’m too blessed to be stressed.’

Acceptance is not about ignoring the stress. It’s about not getting stressed in the first place.

Really consider why you’re so upset about a situation that some people would give their right arm to be in. Like Coles has failed to turn up with your groceries for the party you’re having with your lovely friends in your lovely home — and you have a big fridge and freezer to put them in because you have electricity (not to mention central heating).

And you can afford the food.

Ok — that might sound a little over the top, but there are so many things we take for granted.

We could all do with remembering how good we have it.

This doesn’t mean you should never complain or expect proper service. It just means that you don’t fulfil the need to make yourself ill over it.

Rule 3 for stress management and ACCEPTANCE: There’s a reason for everything

It doesn’t matter if you’re spiritual, philosophical or hard-core practical: you can learn from everything that happens to you in life.

Some people believe that everything happens to us to give us a lesson that we need to have or to give us strength or wisdom we will need later.

There is a saying that life is nothing but a series of lessons.

We get the same lessons over and over until we learn them. Then we get to the next lesson.

That might sound funny, but think about it the next time you’re stressed, or facing conflict, sorrow or anger.

Is there something you can (or need to) learn from this situation?

And remember — anyone can be cool and charming when all is well in their world. Can you stay solution-focused, creative, considerate and loving when things aren’t going so well?

So, what all this boils down to is: choose your battles

There’s only one thing in this universe you have control over, and that’s you.

Other things, you may have influence over, or you may not.

If you choose to try to influence them, that’s great. Go for it.

Do it consciously, proactively, and with an eye on how much energy it will require. Just don’t let it be a bad habit to moan and stress about things that you’d be better off letting go of.

What one thing in your life do you need to accept to bring your stress levels down?

Your homework is to use the tools above to start practising acceptance now, today. Honestly, you’ll feel a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs. He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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