I don’t think this would come as a surprise but there are billions of people on this planet who are really stressed out in life and feel totally trapped. Honestly, stress is a bigger pandemic than Covid and despite seeing all the apparent symptoms of stress, both physical and emotional, many are still struggling in search of an effective vaccine against stress.
Some are stressed because they failed an exam while some are stressed because they topped an exam and now they have to maintain their winning streak; some are stressed because they lost someone close to them while some are stressed because they are close to someone they don’t want to be close with; some are stressed because they are jobless while some are stressed because they have a job; some are stressed because their business just went bankrupt while some are stressed because they couldn’t beat their 3rd quarter profit predictions; some are stressed because they are not in a relationship while some are stressed because they are in a relationship; some are stressed because they are not happy while some are stressed because they worry that their happiness will be short-lived.
The point is, there is no shortage of stress in people around us. So, I figured, there has to be a way to uproot this evil, and lo and behold there is. Not one, but 8 amazing ways through which you can overcome stress and bid this unsolicited and forceful part of our life goodbye, once and for all.
But before we get to that, let’s dig a tad deeper about how we can extend our sources of energies and never really run out of it, in a human manner of course.
The Source of Energy
If given an option to choose between the Sun and a normal electric bulb to emit energy, then what would you be naturally inclined to choose? Well, if you are someone who likes to be in control and would want to emanate energy internally, without any external switch controlling your actions, then obviously you are gonna choose the Sun.
When it comes to real life, there are also two kinds of people. Suns and electric bulbs. The former kind of people don’t look for external stimuli to shine and are ever energetic and full of exuberance, while the latter kind of people often come with a switch, and are in turn, always under the mercy of someone or something else.
And the even more weird slash disturbing thing about being a bulb is that you don’t just have one switch that’s gonna control you, you have literally unlimited switch in forms of your family, friends, job, boss, partner and situations which can anytime change your state as per their own whims and you won’t have anything else to do but feel stressed out.
But you know what’s the best part?
We are all Suns Ourselves
You might not believe it, but it’s actually true. We all have the potential to be unstoppable in the truest sense and just keep on going ahead, irrespective of what kind of boulders hinder our pace. It’s only at the level of our thoughts, that we start degrading ourselves and count ourselves short, and consider ourselves limited.
Believe it or not, we are all infinite, with unlimited potential and infinite amounts of energy in us. When I say “infinite”, some overly bright and logical fellows take my words literally and counter with “But I can’t control the wind if I am infinite“, well no shit you can’t control the wind! What is actually being meant by ‘infinite’ is that we are all more than capable of solving whatever problems we are facing to live a happier and prosperous life.
As kids, nothing could stop us from doing what we wanted to do. There was no such thing as stress when we were real young because we used to be so hyperactive all the time, that we didn’t usually have the time to ponder upon how many times we fell over.
So, where did all the constructive positive energy go all of a sudden?
Well, it’s simple. One can only act creatively in a positive manner when his mind is calm and relaxed and free of all the useless and baseless clutter of life. But as adults, our plight is similar to that of a computer that’s hanged because of the innumerable applications open at the same time which are sucking out all of your energies.
As kids, our minds used to be much much freer than now, and that’s the need of the hour for us adults as well. And in order to free up our minds, we need to solve our problems. There is no other way.
So, simply see what’s causing all the problems. If they are out of your control, there’s no point in paying any heed towards it and if it’s solvable, then pour in all your energies to rectify them. Now, the thing to understand here is that your problems need to be realistic.
If you are lacking money to sustain your basic daily needs, then that’s a real problem that needs immediate solving, but if your room’s wallpaper is not matching your dog’s shoe color, then it can wait for now.
ACTIONABLE STEPS TO COUNTER STRESS
#1 Write it down
Our minds often have a rather cunning way out to make mountains of a mole which results in unnecessary stress in life.
Just because your boss didn’t congratulate you on your newest project, you start stressing over whether you were good enough or not; just because she didn’t call you back, you start pondering upon what went wrong; just because your husband didn’t appreciate your new dress you start wondering whether it is really that pathetic and innumerable minute examples like these.
One of the most powerful ways to overcome stress is to write down your thoughts, unfiltered. The best scenario will be you realizing that what utter BS is going on in your head and the fact that you were stressing over something totally stupid which you’d stop from now, the worst-case scenario will be you feeling light and calm than before just because you released all that tension stored inside you.
Either way, there is no downside to it. And maybe perhaps you might discover that you can become a writer too, solving other people’s problems, who knows?.
I guess I have already reiterated this time and time again, but still, it keeps on coming up. And me being me, I can’t even shut up about it, because this shit works.
While meditation doesn’t always involve sitting on your ass and closing your eyes, it can refer to any event in your life where you are totally aware of what’s happening both inside and outside you. Essentially, any activity that you do, whether it’s writing, reading, or simply talking to someone if you are totally engrossed in it, then you are already in meditation.
And of course, needless to say, that it helps you in throwing stress out of the window as it simply doesn’t leave any room for it to exist. I mean, while meditating, you won’t really have any energy left to cater to your stress, resulting in stress leaving you and finding another prey.
Basically, it will help you see why exactly are you stressed—that’s what becoming aware does—and then either you’d get down to solving the issue if it’s solvable or would just stop worrying about it if there’s nothing you can do about it. It really gets that straightforward.
So start meditating already, I won’t tell you again(I probably will, over and over again).
#3 Look at the Enormous Sky
When we start thinking in a really compact and narrow manner, our chances of being under stress skyrocket. We feel like running in circles and there seems to be just no way out, making stress overpower us and how.
In such situations, maybe what you need is an open sky and some time alone. When you embrace the vastness of this universe by gazing at the sky, you will immediately be struck with this realization that even the biggest of the problems you are facing at the moment is sweet fanny Adams in front of the universe.
This simple exercise will magically diminish the stress you were carrying on your poor shoulders and you’d feel relieved instantly.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? Knowing that we are so small, helping us feel big. I know, right! Life is full of surprises.
#4 Don’t be too Serious
As long as you are breathing, you will get by. Keep this mantra in mind and start saying it to yourself when the water level goes above normal.
At our most vulnerable times, a little push can literally either make us or break us. So, whenever stress pounds at your door, you don’t have to take it that seriously. Because if you do, then stress will win. And you don’t want that to happen.
Just see it as something that’s part of everyone’s life, and it’s not that big of a deal. One need not make a fuss about it. Besides, whatever is causing you stress at the moment, you can literally find a bunch of other people who have already gone through what you are going through and have successfully overcome the obstacle.
So, if others can pass it through, you too can overcome your stress pretty easily.
Also, we are all imperfect human beings, who used to make mistakes, are probably making some at the moment, and are always gonna be making them, and that’s ok. Don’t be too serious about it and put undue pressure on yourself to be perfect, because the truth of the matter is that you can’t be(and that’s perfect).
Acknowledging this simple fact will make you calm and you will become more welcoming towards your screw-ups, ultimately minimizing the stress from your life.
#6 It’s your choice to take stress or not
I know I skipped the 5th point. It’s literally your choice to be stressed out about it or to simply blaze past it and move the hell on.
While this may look funny to you, when you closely look at the issues you are stressing over, you are gonna have a pretty good laugh about it as well.
The day you realize that this very choice to either take stress or not is your superpower is the day stress will be out of your life, for good. Though this doesn’t mean that there won’t be any problems in your life, there will be tons of problems, but to be stressed out because of it or not, is entirely in your hands.
You have to at least entertain the possibility that you have a choice. If you are already pretty sure that your life’s problems are simply so severe that you have no other option but to get stressed out, then nobody else can possibly help you get out of this rabbit hole.
#7 Let go of the Past
Just like rivers don’t go reverse, you also need to stop treading back to your past again and again.
Things often turn out best for those who know how to make the best out of the way things turn out. Every past tragedy in your life comes with a plethora of learnings and lessons for you to grow from and become better than before.
You overcome stress when you stop seeing tragedies as tragedies and instead, start seeing them as lessons you haven’t learned yet and wisdom you haven’t imbibed yet.
But if you haven’t broadened your horizons yet, and you keep seeing your past screw-ups as ‘negative’ instances, then nobody can help you with your stress issues. You are practically begging for stress to grace your life.
#8 Change the Meaning of the Events
Events in themselves have no meaning in your life. It’s you who assign a meaning to them, and consequently, you either relish the feeling or become all stressed because of it.
So, it’s a no-brainer that if you are the one who’s controlling the ‘assigning the meaning’ task, then you might as well choose to give an encouraging and uplifting meaning.
Let’s say you got fired from your job, a job where you gave in your blood, sweat, and tears. SO, now one meaning can be what most people choose to assign, the discouraging one, “Oh damn! I lost my job!! I am such a worthless loser who can’t do anything meaningful in life. Maybe perhaps I am born to be a failure.”
The other meaning can be, “Wow! I just got fired from my job. Yeah, I am disappointed, but it’s definitely not the end of my career. Maybe I can finally focus on what I love to do and start my own thing. And since I already have gained so much experience from my job, I am gonna have an upper hand over all the newbies. OMG! I am so excited to start this new phase of my life.”
See the difference? One meaning will literally shit you over and will bury you in your own mountain of stress you helped create, while the other meaning can set you free and push you forward. Whatever color you give to the event will become the color of your life, as simple as that.
#9 Comparisons with others
Uff…and then there was this. Are people still victims of comparison? I would be surprised if they weren’t. It’s really killing us lately. You know, it has become the kind of disease that the big companies love to leverage to increase their top lines again and again.
All they have to do is make you insecure about your neighbor’s success or your colleagues’ meteoric rise in the corporate world and convince you to buy their product to make you feel at par.
The human mind loves to compare. Whether it’s two separate situations, two people, two objects, or simply two moments. The thing to note here is that comparison in itself is not the issue, it’s the feeling bad about it, undermining yourself because of it, and wanting to go against what you actually are, which constitutes the real problem and causes stress.
Some people have maligned the very act of comparing only, which I feel is a bit immature. You can’t stop comparing actually. That’s just not how your mind works. And if you start believing that comparing is bad, then every time you consciously or unconsciously compare yourself with someone, you will feel guilty about the fact that you compared, which is actually nonsense.
If you are comparing yourself with someone to see what they are doing right and what you are doing wrong, then what’s the harm in that? You are essentially gonna learn a lot from others if you take comparison in good spirits.
Yeah, but if you are comparing yourself with someone with the sole motive to be like them or to imitate each and every action and lose your own identity in the process, then that’s not the right way to go about the comparison.
And you know, when you compare yourself the wrong way, then just comparing yourself to people who are above you is not the only problem you are gonna face. When you compare yourself to people who are below you, then that will also start stressing you over.
Now, you are gonna get sandwiched between the constant struggle of trying to be as good as the one who’s above you, and also ensuring that you remain above those who are below you as the simple idea of the latter surging ahead of you will leave you all stressed and panicky.
#10 Expectations will amplify your Stress
The main reason why your expectations cause stress in your life is that you think the world needs to ‘change’ itself to fit in your idea of a ‘perfect world’. That’s what expectations are all about.
The worst part about an expectation is that, if someone fulfills your expectation, then it’s very likely that instead of being grateful about it, your expectations are simply gonna skyrocket over the course of time.
And well, if your expectations aren’t fulfilled, then you would always feel that void in you, a feeling of something that’s incomplete, a chapter left unfinished.
The best way to deal with stress, in this case, is to believe in your mind that ‘Everything in the world is perfectly fine, and I don’t want to change anything about it.’ The funny part about it is that, if you affirm this, then your headspace will be in a lot better position than before, which in turn will help you think better and make more prudent decisions in life.
And that has the power to have an impact on the world. “Expect nothing, relish everything, and act your best.”
Can you see the irony? Not caring about the world is the real caring. Just to be more clear, by ‘caring’ I mean caring at the level of your thoughts, not at the level of your actions. You gotta keep doing all the good deeds you do, just excluding the expectation that the universe is gonna repay you in some way or the other.
You are gonna be better off that way, trust me.
Stress sometimes is good
Now that we have bitched enough about stress, maybe it’s time to discuss the positive side of it. Everyone is just taking a giant shit on a topic like stress, but always remember that nothing in this world is black or white, it’s black and white. So while there are enough shortcomings of stress, maybe there’s something more than meets the eye.
The thing is when you stress about things that you know you can achieve, then that’s actually a good kind of stress if you think about it. Such stress can at times help you push harder and think wider than before. This type of stress will keep you from becoming complacent and would ensure that you are aware of the fact that you are always left with room for improvement.
The good stress will force you to revisit your failures and learn what went wrong the last time so that you don’t repeat it again. It can also assist you in not getting lazy as you will always be on the lookout to make things better than before.
But when you stress about things that are out of your control, then those all come under the umbrella of bad stress. You know the kind of stress that will lead to nowhere and would just result in you wasting your precious energy.
So, relax. Take a deep breath.
It’s never that bad as you think it is. As long as you are breathing, no mistake is big enough. Be grateful for every breath you intake and live life.