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Want To Live A Stress-Free Life? Make Use Of Your Curiosity In This Way

Want To Live A Stress-Free Life? Make Use Of Your Curiosity In This Way

Ever have so many things on your plate that the thought of having to remember to do just one more thing would make you crazy? Are you struggling to fit in time to make it to the gym and the grocery store? Everyone gets stressed out at times, and it can really affect our quality of life.

How can we keep stress from getting the best of us? Studies show that the way we are affected by stress depends greatly on the way we view the outside world.[1] It’s all about our perception. Stress usually creeps up on us when we feel like what’s happening is out of our control. By simply slowing down to ask ourselves a few questions, we can calmly analyze the situation and get to the root of our anxiety.

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Don’t Just Accept Your Situation—Ask Questions

Stress can come from a variety of external factors. Maybe your car broke down, your hours got cut at your job, or your cable bill went up unexpectedly. Many times, we just accept that the world is against us and continue being tense and unhappy. If we slow down to analyze not just the end result but the path to how we got there, we can get a better idea of how it all came about in the first place.

Ask yourself, what am I feeling? Don’t just lump it all under “stress,” which is not really a feeling. Then ask, what is really making me feel this way, and what could I do right now to make the situation better? It could be that you’ve just trained yourself to feel constantly stressed for no reason. If you’re feeling stressed about money because you went over your budget last month from buying lattes every day, you can figure out the solution pretty easily.

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Find Out Why

 Sometimes you need to go a step further than just asking those three questions. Once you determine how you feel and what is the immediate stressor, you should keep asking questions to get to the root cause.  Why do you always feel pressed for time? Why do you schedule so many things back-to-back? Why did you take on extra projects when you knew you were already busy? Work backward to find out where the stressor originated. You may find that some of your stress could have been prevented, and use that information to keep the same thing from happening again in the future.

Come Up With a Plan 

After you work out your feelings and get to the bottom of where your stress began, you should feel like you have a lot more power in determining how the outside world affects you. You no longer feel like the victim and are empowered to start making changes to things you can control. Don’t do anything drastic. Think of one particular area of your life that is hanging over you, such as your finances. (Money problems alone cause stress for more than ¾ of Americans).[2] Pick one thing you can start doing today to be smarter about your money, such as bringing a lunch to work instead of eating out. Just by asking yourself questions and then taking small, simple actions, you will feel your stress start to dissipate.

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When we’re curious about our situation, rather than being bitter and casting blame, we are able to take the driver’s seat once again and gain control over our stress. Once we feel like we have a say, the negative effects of stress are minimized. We are more willing to take actions toward change and toward reaching our full potential.

Featured photo credit: Photo via Visual Hunt via visualhunt.com

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Reference

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Megan Machucho

Freelance Blogger and Copywriter

Want Your Kids To Be Happy For A Lifetime? Make Them Feel Secure In The Early Days Want To Live A Stress-Free Life? Make Use Of Your Curiosity In This Way If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful, Don’t Protect Them In This Way

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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