Stop stressing over things you can’t control


Stress is like a wound in your everyday life. You can make a difference between good and bad stress.

Good stress can help you overcome complicated situations or “first times”, like public speaking, a first date, or making love with someone for the first time. Bad stress, though, can have harmful effects on your physical and mental health.

And of course, too much stress is never good.

They say that stressing about something you can’t control is pointless. And that’s true! So, stop stressing over things you can’t control. Don’t worry – there are ways to do this if you commit to it. Plus, honestly, constantly trying to control everything is exhausting, isn’t it?

Understanding stress

Stress manifests itself as a form of tension – physical or mental – that creates a very unpleasant feeling of discomfort.
Good stress is what you might feel when you’re preparing for a happy event like a big anniversary celebration or a wedding or trip. Bad stress, on the other hand, is dangerous for physical and mental health.

There some symptoms that can help you determine if you’re experiencing stress. For example:

  • an increase or decrease in appetite
  • tension
  • being over- or under -weight
  • trouble sleeping
  • physical pain (head, back, stomach aches)
  • lower energy level
  • constant feelings of anger
  • a desire to isolate oneself
  • a desire to cry or an overall feeling of sadness

You can also experience a state of stress that doesn’t last. Of course, just because stress is temporary doesn’t mean your physical or mental health isn’t at risk. Temporary stress that often affects physical or mental health includes having too much work, a fight with a loved one, or too many little inconveniences in your daily life, like traffic jams or being late. …One thing is certain: stress can’t be managed by drinking or abusing drugs.

Some tips to help you stop stressing about things you can’t control

The first thing to do if you want to stop stressing about things you can’t control is to get some perspective. Ask yourself if you could do something that would have a direct influence on the thing that’s stressing you. Often, you’ll see that you’re stressing over things that are out of your control, so if you have no way to control them, you’re stressing for no reason, since your stress won’t change anything.

Learn to detach yourself from things that you can’t control. If you have no control over something, let go and don’t let stress overcome you.

Focus on the positive things in your life. Take some distance.

Participating in a sport or physical activity can be an immense help in fighting stress. It doesn’t matter if the activity is yoga, going for a run or a bike ride, or something else. Do an activity that lets you get some air and use some of your energy.

You can add to this the practice of meditation. Meditation involves breathing exercises. If you meditate every day, even if it’s only for 5 to 10 minutes a day, you’ll see that it has an effect on stress. Meditate in a place and at a time that lends itself to this practice. You should be able to relax or, at the very least, reduce your stress thanks to meditation.

Another tip: If, for example, you’re in your car, in the middle of a traffic jam, you might be feeling stressed. However, traffic jams are one of those things that you absolutely can’t control. Either you can take an alternate route that would let you avoid gridlock, or you have to be patient. To help you do this, inhale deeply and exhale deeply, 3 times. You’ll see that this will help calm you down. You can do this exercise in any stressful situation in which you have no control. Little by little, you’ll learn to stop stressing about things you can’t control.

Also, don’t forget the anti-stress power of the people you spend time with. You must know someone in your family or your circle of friends whose company you enjoy and who doesn’t make you feel any stress. Don’t hesitate to spend time with this person (or these people, if there’s more than one) to help you battle your stress. It’s a very good idea to spend time with a person (or people) who never make you feel stressed.

The opposite is also true: avoid people and situations that stress you.

You yourself can also do something to increase your sense of satisfaction and well-being. Do an activity you like or give yourself over to your passion or try something for the first time. Think about doing something good for yourself and increasing your feelings of well-being and happiness. Spoil yourself with a massage at a spa; go check out an art exhibition; help someone in need; etc.

Basically, focus on every positive thing in and around you.

A little bit of planning can help you anticipate and manage your stress

Sometimes, you may recognize recurring times of stress. This might be before your period or simply due to any event that occurs each month. With a bit of planning, you can anticipate and manage your stress.

In a notebook and/or calendar, write down dates or moments when you experienced stress. If you know the reason, write that down as well. Little by little, you’ll see when these states of stress occur, and you’ll be able to anticipate them, which will decrease their impact or even completely eliminate it.

To take things even farther, you can write in detail about the times you felt stress, explaining the reason for your stress, precisely what you felt (physically and mentally), how you reacted in that particular stressful situation and what you did to get rid of the stress (for example, inhaling and exhaling deeply three times, meditation, an activity you enjoy, etc.).

Talk about what’s stressing you. Avoid isolating yourself. If you don’t want to talk about your stress to everyone you know, choose one or two people who have a positive effect on you and who, above all, know how to listen to and support you. Don’t talk about what causes you stress to people who will only add another dose of stress to what you already feel.

Pay close attention to what you eat. This has a direct impact on your physical and mental health. If you eat badly, you’ll be inviting stress in. On the other hand, if you have a balanced diet, it will be easier for you to fight and chase away bad stress.

The same thing goes for sleep. It’s extremely important that you get enough sleep in order to reduce the onset and intensity of stress. If you don’t sleep much or if you sleep badly, you’ll often be victim to stress because you won’t have a clear head and your body will be tired, and thus, vulnerable.

When you’re able to anticipate and/or manage your stress, congratulate yourself. Do something to reward yourself, like buying a new item of clothing or eating your favorite dessert, or anything else that would make you happy. That said, don’t go crazy. You shouldn’t get yourself something every time you manage to eliminate any stress you’re feeling. Do this at the beginning to encourage yourself, but the idea is that in the long run, you’ll be able to eliminate stress naturally and systematically.

If these tips still don’t help you to anticipate and/or manage your stress, don’t hesitate to talk to a specialist. For one thing, there’s no shame in talking about it, and for another, a professional could suggest additional solutions adapted to your particular circumstances.

Ultimately, it’s important to know the difference between good stress and bad stress. Good stress is necessary in positive situations. Bad stress is something to fight against so that your physical and mental health aren’t destroyed. Luckily, you can battle bad stress, and, as we’ve seen, there are several ways to do this.

What do you think about stress? Have you ever stressed over things you can’t control? If so, stop right now! Share your experiences and tell us what you think about all this in the comments.

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