As a retiring worry wart, there are times I’m faced with minor issues, personal and professional, that seem to drive me crazy, but are really not worth the added stress. I used to destroy myself over every little problem that arose in my life, from completing homework to witnessing unethical behavior to chipping a newly painted nail. But with observation, insight, and honesty, I began to identify what was worth stressing over and what was not. Below are some helpful concepts that I’m learning to use and practice in my everyday life.
Take a moment, breathe, and think again. Think about the issue and what’s causing you more stress. Then think to yourself about how this will really affect your life. Some of the worst decisions come from acting too quickly. Think through the consequences or the possible outcomes of this problem.
How will this event truly affect your life in the long run? I tend to talk to myself in situations like this and ask myself these questions. Saying it verbally out loud makes it more realistic and helps me think through the question and develop approaches and solutions to the problem.
Remind yourself that this isn’t personal and stop acting like it’s the end of the world, because it’s not. Reassure yourself that this too shall pass and there are worse scenarios that could be happening to you; like you could be battling an illness or losing your job. Being stuck behind that school bus on the way to work is not the end of the world.
Find ways to cope with your stress and learn from this experience. I think I’m a stronger woman today because I learned how to deal with not sweating the small stuff in my collegiate years as a student, sorority president, and part-time worker. I had a lot on my plate and I had to learn how to manage my time and not take everything so personally.
Being able to admit and identify that you worry about too many things is invaluable. Once you identify this, you can use these ideas to resolve it. During my sorority recruitment, I connected with a potential new member (who is now my sorority grandlittle) over our OCD issues. She was experiencing the same things and we could laugh together over our stress. We established a great friendship, and now 6 years later with each of us living on different coasts, we’re still helping one another. It’s easy to talk to someone you know thinks the way you do, and by talking about your issue out loud, you’ll be able to develop a plan to tackle them on your own.
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