“The block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, became a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.” Thomas Carlyle
When I was young, I loved the sense of adventure that went with rock hopping. Across a creek, near the beach, along a river bank I’d step, or jump, from rock to rock. Some surfaces were slippery, some unsteady, some too small, and often I ended up wet and bruised. Nevertheless, I loved accepting the challenge of making progress towards a new place. Despite some difficulties, each stone was part of the journey that led to achievement, to a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.
In my grown-up life, while difficulties are still there to be faced, I retain the excitement of making progress towards new places and new experiences. My 19 stepping stones are tried and tested techniques that have helped me smooth the way ahead.
Well, go on. Just try some of my 19 techniques to empower yourself. Who knows? Maybe you, too, will grasp the excitement and be empowered to live a more productive and happier life.
1. Accept that awful stuff happens.
The usual reaction to things not going your way is to resist and fight against them. By accepting things as they are, even though you don’t want them to be that way, you’ll develop a more peaceful state of mind. Saying a mantra will help – “I hate things being this way but I accept that this is my reality just now. I’ll work through this situation calmly and resolutely.” Slowly but surely, you will empower yourself.Advertising
2. Adopt a flexible attitude.
Being flexible means you can face daily changes without creating too great a stress reaction in your body. When something’s not working, be ready to consider other ideas. Changing your approach to meet the change in circumstances is essential for a happier and more successful future.
3. See challenges as opportunities for growth.
Ask yourself what you can learn from challenges as they arise. Is this a chance to become stronger? By turning these situations into positives, you’ll avoid resorting to overeating and other negative behaviors – the most usual ways of coping.
4. Use questions to empower you.
Instead of asking disempowering questions such as, “Why is this happening to me?” use a more positive question format. Questions that invite creative thinking are the best. An example might be, “What alternative actions could I take in these changing circumstances?”
5. Change negative thoughts to positive.
Negative thoughts that harbor unhelpful beliefs only hold you back from achieving. So monitor your thoughts. When you’re aware that they are negative, change them immediately into positive thoughts. You’ll be amazed at how much happier and confident you’ll feel.
6. Relish change.
Realize when it’s time to change direction. Often we think of change as negative. But change can be very exciting and positive. Embrace new thoughts, new opportunities and new ways of living. Even though change is difficult to initiate, sometimes it’s essential.Advertising
7. Calm yourself when you’re getting uptight.
When you’re calm, you are in control. You’ll think through the problem with more clarity. Make time to listen to relaxing music, or sit quietly and visualize a place where you’ve been that evokes calm and contentment. It will help you focus on what’s really important.
8. Believe you’re good enough.
It’s too easy to think you’re not good enough to get through difficult situations. Look at your abilities. Tell yourself that you are awesome and you can handle anything that can possibly be thrown at you. Believe in yourself.
9. Face reality.
Don’t try to hide from problems that present themselves. Come face to face with them and persevere no matter what. It’s a tough thing to do, that’s for sure. Look for solutions in unusual places.
10. Prepare yourself for busy times.
When weighed down by being too busy, prioritize your jobs until life becomes more manageable. Sticking to a plan will help you get back on track. Start each day with the most immediate job on your list.
11. Encourage and help others.
Take every opportunity to be a source of hope and encouragement to others. Looking outward instead of inward gives opportunity for you to contribute to the well-being of others. Your happiness and confidence levels will rise.Advertising
12. Make each day sparkle.
Instead of letting doubts, worries and fears about what might happen creep into your day, look for ways to make your day sparkle. Be positive about the fabulous things that lie ahead. You don’t know what those things might be, but that’s okay. You’ll move forward with excitement and courage. Shawn Achor’s TED Talk, How to Make the Present More Positive, includes some enjoyable ideas for staying positive and focused.
13. Be full of thanks.
Thinking about all those things that are going right in your life, keeps life in perspective. Be grateful for the now – for where you are at the present time. Now is the start of big things to come. Being grateful helps you see there is so much that usually is taken for granted. Gratitude improves productivity and leads to happiness.
14. Schedule play time.
For your body to remain in balance, you need to have work time and play time. Your brain and mind will benefit from varying what you do each day, particularly if you include some fun time in your schedule. Follow this with diligence and notice how you feel. There’ll be a spring in your step – even a lasting smile.
15. Get physical.
Spend some time outdoors every day. Being physical, through aerobic activities, gives you the energy to carry you through the difficult times. Exercise will help you reach your goals. You’ll be charged with enthusiasm for all things positive.
16. Take time out.
Take regular mental breaks such as mindfulness. Being mindful enables you to be more accepting of yourself. Sit somewhere quiet. Breathe in to energize your whole body. As you breathe out, believe that anxiety and tension are leaving your body.Advertising
17. Stay connected.
Spend time with people whose company you enjoy. It’s important to stay connected to friends and family, so you have people who can encourage you. You’ll appreciate their support.
18. Be an optimist.
Understand that life consists of hill and valley cycles. This doesn’t mean that you react positively to good days and feel down-in-the-dumps on the not-so-good days. It means being optimistic that the good days ahead will carry you through the very difficult days, without suffering excess stress.
19. Laugh often – and “live happily ever after”.
Laughing will help you cope better with any difficult situation. Of course it’s not easy to laugh when you’re going through a rough patch. But lightening up when you see a funny sign along the way, or smiling back at someone who is happy, can do wonders for you. You’ll have a bubble and sparkle that wasn’t there before.
Finally . . . . .
Let the stepping stones metaphor remind you that despite life’s inevitable missteps, many rewarding opportunities and moments lie ahead. The crucial thing is not what actually happens as you travel through life, but how you respond to what happens.
Choose to use some of these 19 stepping stones . . . . . and enjoy a happier, calmer and more productive life as you learn to empower yourself.
Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com
Last Updated on September 20, 2018
How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful
Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…
If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:
The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:
- Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
- Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
- Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.
Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.
2. Loosen up
After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?
Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.
3. Chew slowly
Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).
Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.
Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.
4. Let go
Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.
The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?
It’s not. Promise.
Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.
Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:
5. Enjoy the journey
Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.
Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.
6. Look at the big picture
The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:
Will this matter to me…
- Next week?
- Next month?
- Next year?
- In 10 years?
Hint: No, it won’t.
I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.
Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.
7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself
You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.
Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.
8. Practice patience every day
Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:
- The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
- Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
- Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.
Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.
Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.
Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com