Who can say that their life is stress-free? Not many of us can! Read on for more tips in how to reduce stress in your life... 21. Be perfectly IMPERFECT. Remind yourself on a daily basis that your goal is not perfection, but rather to have a fulfilling life. God did not intend for us to be perfect, which is why we are human. Striving for perfection only increases stress and ends up constantly feeling as though you have missed the mark or haven't done good enough. Instead of striving for perfection, think of it as being "perfectly imperfect".
22. Remember to ask for help. Use your support system for what it is intended for-- to give and receive support. Sometimes, it is difficult to ask for help, but work on not allowing yourself to feel guilty for asking for help when needed. Many times, it draws us closer to our friends, because they see us in a vulnerable position, which actually allows for a deeper intimacy and connection to develop. When you never ask for help, or feel guilty for asking, you are actually shutting people out of your life. If you struggle with shame issues that cause you to feel like you are "being a burden" or "feel like a weak person" for needing help-- work on your shame that keeps you feeling like you should be an "island" and do everything for yourself. You will inevitably feel less stressed, as a result of having more help and support!
23. Develop a list of healthy ways of coping-- and USE it regularly. Is one of your favorite things reading? Gardening? Running? Put those on your list and make time for them regularly. Especially when you are feeling higher levels of stress. Don't allow yourself to turn to unhealthy ways of coping, or self-medicating your pain.
24. You are the most important person to your child. Sometimes, this reminder can help give us permission to do things that take care of ourselves. After all, if you are the most important person to your child (which you are), then your child needs you to be the healthiest, happiest, and most stress-free version of you that you can be. If you are constantly stressed and aren't taking care of yourself, you can't fully love your child (because you aren't loving yourself). Kids need to feel a parent's unconditional love and presence on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level.
25. The only person you can change is yourself. When we see another person as "broken" and focus on trying to "manage" their lives or "fix" them, we only create more stress in our lives by putting our energy into something we truly have no control over. It's like pouring all of your emotional, mental and physical energy into a glass with no bottom. This creates more unnecessary stress. Plus, other people don't want to be seen as your "project", or something you are trying to fix-- and they probably don't want to BE fixed, anyway, even if you could! It's true that the only thing your can control or fix is yourself. Stop trying to fix other people and start focusing on the things that bring you joy.
Did you connect with any of this week's tips on stress reduction? We hope you were able to use them, and start reducing the stress in your life today!
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.