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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Sunday Positivity

How amazing is this quote?? It is all the more amazing when you consider that it is from Helen Keller - a woman who was born blind AND deaf. You could say that she was denied quite a bit in life. But here she says that she didn't even have time to think about what she didn't have because she was so busy with all that she DID have. That's an incredible inspiration to me.

I am so blessed and have SO much, and yet I still manage to find ways to be discontent and to think about all of the things and opportunities that I don't have. Focusing on what I don't have does ZERO good...in fact, it makes me feel down right icky.

It is very stressful to dwell on everything that you don't have. Focusing on things that you can not change, or keeping a tally of material goods that you don't possess is a sure-fire way to be an unhappy, anxiety-ridden, bitter person.

There will ALWAYS be something that you don't have. We weren't meant to have everything. The beauty comes in focusing on all that we DO have. Because when you look for it, you'll realize that you have SO much...

And if Helen Keller didn't have time to ponder the things that she was denied in life because she was SO busy appreciating all that she had been given, then we certainly can at least try to follow her example!

Have a beautiful week, friends!

Sunday Positivity

I love Sundays because they are the day before Mondays and Mondays are my FAVORITE day of the week! I love the excitement of new beginnings and a brand new week to tackle. Mondays are a new opportunity to kickstart productivity and to start new projects, etc... And Sundays are the beautiful calm before the storm...a time for reflection and preparation and setting goals.

This quote is such a great reminder that what we dwell on, and give time to will become our reality.

We can choose to spend time thinking about negative things or all of the reasons why something will not work; but we can also CHOOSE to think about the positive, the good, and the reasons why something CAN work. We can focus on solutions; on love; on hope.

So, this is a reminder to you, and to myself, to nourish positivity this week.

Sunday Posivity

Even if life doesn't always look EXACTLY (or even remotely) like how you thought it would or how you think it is supposed to, it doesn't mean that there aren't amazing things in it worth celebrating! I've come to find that there is ALWAYS always always something beautiful in every situation...you just have to look for it. Sometimes you have to look really really hard, but it's there. 

Comment below with one thing that is worth celebrating in your life!

Have a great week!

Sunday Positivity

This year, I'm reading The Daily Stoic as my daily devotional. Only about a week in and I can easily say it is one of the best books I've ever read. HIGHLY recommend you pick yourself up a copy. 

One of the quotes that I came across in one of my daily readings was this quote from Marcus Aurelius, and it really struck a chord with me. What a beautiful, simple statement. I just love it. 

Definitely taking this with me as I start this week.

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday Positivity

Happy New Year! It's a brand new BEAUTIFUL year full of possibility and potential and opportunity ...Believe in yourself! You are capable of incredible things! Let's make this a WONDERFUL year!

What is your biggest goal in 2017? Share in the comments below!

Sunday Positivity

There is something to be said about being generous with our compliments and with our words towards one another. I've found that whenever I speak freely and tell someone honestly when I think they look pretty, or when I like their makeup or outfit, or anything, I feel so much better about myself. And you know what? It makes the other person feel good about themselves too! Win Win!

I challenge you this week to speak freely and to dish out compliments and kindness whenever you get the chance. If your co-worker's hair looks cute, let her know. If your friend posts a picture of herself after a work out, let her know how strong and beautiful she looks. If you see a stranger walking down the street who has cute shoes, tell her. If your waitress has amazing makeup, give her a compliment. I guarantee it will make you feel warm and fuzzy and it will make the person that you are complimenting feel amazing! Building others up feels great! :)

xo, Anna