Let's Talk About Stress + Controlling Our Reactions

Stress: Something that is an unavoidable and unpleasant part of life. We all experience it, and we all handle it differently.

I am personally not great at handling stressful situations. I get overwhelmed, emotional, and have major anxiety. I also get stressed out really easily - not great.

I tend to get overly worked up and stressed out over problems and situations that maybe don't merit that type of reaction. I am a people pleaser and hate when I feel that someone is disappointed in me, angry with me, or just plain doesn't like me. I'm also a bit of a neat-freak AND a perfectionist (when it comes to some things). All of this leads to me getting stressed out so easily - and quite often.

Luckily for me, I am married to a level-headed, pragmatic man who is so wonderful in helping me work through my stress and see situations for what they really are. I am so thankful for Ben and his calm, loving perspective and advice.

I've gotten a lot better about keeping my stress levels down. You can check out some of my tips for managing stress here.

I've learned that you have control over your reactions to situations - and that's it. You can't always control situations, or problems that arise. You can't control how people feel about you (nor does it matter). You can't control what someone says to you or what deadlines you have or what unexpected event happens.

But you CAN control how you allow yourself to feel about all of it...how you choose to react. A situation is only stressful if stress is how you react to it. A person's words are only hurtful if you allow yourself to feel hurt by them. A problem that comes up unexpectedly is only overwhelming and devastating if that is how you let yourself react to it.

Your reaction to something gives it it's value.

You can choose to react in a level-headed, unemotional, and practical way. You can look a problem square in the eye and choose to stay calm and tackle it in a methodical and efficient way. You can make the choice to not allow what others think or say of you elicit an emotional response.

You can choose how you react to every single situation that you encounter.

Ok, so, this mindset is a bit extreme. Obviously, we can't always have that much control over our natural responses and emotional reactions. But the point is that this is a good thing to strive for... to look at problems, interactions, and potential stresses with a clear, unemotional, and solution-driven mindset.

Easier said than done, but still an admirable aspiration, don't you think?

I've been reading 'The Daily Stoic' this year, and I highly recommend it. It talks a lot about choosing how to react to situations and not letting your emotions get in the way. It talks about staying in the moment and being aware of yourself and how you interpret things. It's good. You can get it here.

How do you handle stress? What are your tips for controlling your reactions? Please share in the comments below!

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