For most people the majority of the stress in their lives is self-inflected. We worry about stuff that hasn’t happened and likely never will. We imagine unlikely possibilities over and over until we are convinced they are almost certain to happen.
Nothing eliminates stress and worry better than action. The most effective action you can take to eliminate stress from your life is to make decisions.
Sitting around wondering what to do and when to do it mixes life into a toxic combination of fear, worry and stress. Making a decision and acting on it becomes a powerful elixir of motivating control over your life.
You may be thinking that if the whole decision making and taking action thing was as easy as I make it sound you would have already done it. Well, I’ll admit that sometimes it’s not so easy but I’ve never seen a time where it wasn’t possible. So I’ll share with you now 7 “mini actions” that by themselves are far easier to do. When done together and in order they lead to nothing less than freedom from that toxic combination.
First resolve to do something about the situation that is causing you the stress. If that seems simplistic it isn’t. Many many people dwell on their problems with the assumption that “there is nothing they can do.” The first little baby step is deciding that you will try something to free yourself from that situation. You MUST know that every situation is temporary, the question is will you control your future or allow circumstances to control it for you.
Next gather information. Some of the information you’ll need to make a good decision will come from self-reflection. What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses. Some of the information will come from outside sources. Books, online research that pertains to your situation and trusted friends. Be sure to talk only to friends and family that care enough about you to be honest and that have your best interests in mind.
The information you collect will likely lead to several possible action steps. Make a list of all the possible alternations. Use your desired outcome to create additional alternatives if none of the alternatives you see take you where you want to go.
Now you’ll need to weigh the alternatives against your desired outcome using your personal values to guide you to choosing the best one. List the alternatives in priority order with the one most likely to help you achieve your goal as number one. Number one will become Plan A but plans don’t always work so you’ll want a Plan B and C. That eliminates the stress of worrying about what happens if Plan A doesn’t work. You’ll know exactly what you will do next.
Choose your alternative. If you can’t decide between two alternatives then flip a coin. If that sounds like a ridiculous way to determine your future then consider this…in the moment that coin is in the air you’ll know exactly which way you hope it falls. You will have made your decision!
The most important step is acting on your decision. Action defeats stress and worry. Even if the decision turns out to be the wrong decision you will have made progress. Even a little progress, maybe even in the not so right direction, is better than sitting still wallowing in stress.
Share your decision and plan with people who care about you. Ask them for help with accountability to stick with your plan. Ask them to make sure your action is constant until the stress inducing situation is resolved.
You do not need stress in your life. Decisions and the actions that follow eliminates stress. Now, stop thinking about this post and DO something.