It seems that some people were born to struggle. You’ve seen them. They often appear to be right in the middle of one or more crisis’s. Maybe they’re trying to juggle a couple of jobs while raising a family. Maybe they’re behind with their bills as many are these days. Perhaps they’re at a complete loss for what to do next. They often live in quiet desperation day to day and feel they have nowhere to turn. But there is a way to find peace and it’s easier than many may think.
1. Write It Down
Some folks are so frazzled they aren’t even aware of the nature of all of their daily responsibilities until several chores are right on top of them. That’s why it’s wise to make a list every day as a reminder. What’s even more effective is to keep a daily journal. Often, things don’t seem so terribly urgent when we view them on paper. In fact, some of our day-to-day responsibilities actually seem trivial though when added to more the more serious stuff that cause the real tension.
In addition to listing chores or tasks every day it’s also wise to highlight the feelings or calming emotions we would like to maintain as we make our way through the day. It seems so simple but just writing little reminders like, remember to smile or slow down and take it easy can have a remarkable calming effect. These little reminders are like seeds that sprout when you begin to take on the associated task. Go ahead and try it, you’ll see.
1a. Feared Things First
One thing I’ve found to have an extremely calming effect is taking care of unpleasant or challenging chores as soon as possible every day. If we wait and continue through our daily routines leaving such tasks before us the thought of having them undone often steals our power or momentum and can cause unnecessary anxiety.
Think of how much easier things will seem when you’ve taken care of one or more issues causing you emotional discomfort. Over the years I’ve seen many people adopt the “feared things first” approach to their daily routine and it actually has made such a dramatic difference in their overall demeanor that there was no need for further attitude adjustment strategies.
2. Express Gratitude
This is one of the suggestions with regard to “calming emotions” I mentioned under Write It Down. Often we get so caught up in life’s little dramas we forget to look at all the blessings we enjoy. During the times I feel out of sorts I sometimes take a short timeout and visit elderly people confined to nursing homes.
I don’t actually know any of them personally but there are many residents of these institutions who receive no visitors at all. Every time I’ve done this both the patient and myself come away feeing pleased and satisfied. And these visits also cast a great deal of perspective on my own situation leaving me with a genuine feeling of gratitude.
3. Forgive And Release
Most of us have been harmed in one way or another by the people coming and going in our lives. And if that’s not enough, many of the folks we encounter while carrying out the duties of our day-to-day lives are sometimes less than pleasant. First, we must understand that these actions are rarely ever personal. You see, often the people we encounter have very little control over their lives and feel they’re able to exert just a small measure of control by getting your goat. Please, don’t take it personally. See it for what it is. I actually like to have fun with this. When I sense someone might be in “one of those moods” I'll look for some little thing to compliment them on. It totally disarms them and they'll often smile.
Regardless of the severity of the offense, whether it’s a store clerk with a dark attitude or something far more serious, we need to forgive all those who have harmed us in any way. This is often much easier said than done but actually doing so releases resentment and frees up enormous amounts of energy. This is energy that will serve you and your family rather than wasting your power harboring resentment against someone who doesn’t even know how you feel.
Many have trouble with this as they feel they’ve been harmed emotionally and even physically and find it extremely difficult to forgive. But forgive we must as the energy we expend harboring resentment and hatred can directly lead to many physical and emotional problems. Forgiveness is the only relief. And remember this, your forgiveness is for you not the offending party.
4. Don’t Rush
Perhaps the behavior that causes the most stress is rushing about with little or no plan. People often burn up energy anticipating mistakes they never make and events that never even come to pass. And what’s the point in rushing when one hasn’t even taken the time to prioritize his or her activities?
Now stop for a moment and think back to the very first suggestion I made about making a daily list. With a list of your daily activities it’s much easier to maintain a balanced schedule while calmly accomplishing tasks in a calm and methodical manner. Add to that the fact that you’ve already taken care of “feared things first” and you can almost guarantee a smooth, productive day.
5. Observation Not Judgment
One of the biggest stressors people encounter comes from fretting over other people’s issues. During our day we’re often witness to what we might consider questionable or outright weird behavior of others. It could be as simple as watching someone leave a shopping cart in a free parking spot or it could be something far more serious. Dwelling over things like this is nothing but pure self-torment. Thinking about such things we can become quite angry. This does nothing more than rob us of our power.
Rather than embrace these emotions resign yourself to be an observer of life. You can’t change anyone’s behavior and judging it can be a recipe for avoidable stress.
6. Act As If
Acting “as if ” is another attitudinal item rather than a task. Some people have got this down to a science. They go about their daily routine acting as though they’re the unluckiest people on the planet. They simply assume they’ll have to settle for the last parking space a half mile from the mall entrance. Or they assume the checkout line at the market will be jammed around half the store. See, we get what we expect and what we believe. That’s a fact. It’s the law of attraction in a nutshell. So if we want life to be more of a pleasant journey wouldn’t it be wiser to start acting as if you’re deserving of better people, places and things? Of course it would.
Rather than embracing Murphy’s law, start believing in your own law. Act as if you’re going to get that promotion. Act as if you’ve got the right answer. Act as if you’re deserving of success, love, good health, respect and every other thing you desire. You might be surprised to see your desires materializing sooner than you expected.
Okay, lets briefly summarize what we’ve covered which is nothing more than an easy way to organize and streamline our days for maximum productivity and minimal stress.
1. Make a list of the day’s objectives including your productive, nurturing attitudes.
2. Take care of unpleasant or stressful items first (whenever possible) allowing yourself some peace of mind for the balance of the day.
3. Acknowledge gratitude for what you have rather than focusing on what’s missing.
4. Forgive and release. Remember, this is for you far more than the individual you’re forgiving
5. Don’t rush. Prioritize your tasks and work efficiently at getting them done.
6. Act as if. Expect good things and you’ll begin to see them showing up. This strategy of thinking has a way of building and gaining momentum that will pay dividends for the rest of your life.
Charles Steed has been a student of human development for more than 20 years and has written extensively on the topic. He’s been a master practitioner of NLP since 2002.