Life is hard enough without letting things – especially things that other people do or say – stress you out even more. Some stress in life is good, I think. I mean, without feeling a little stress to perform, would you always do as well as you could at your job? Without a little competitive stress, you might not try to win, or at least do well, in a race. A little stress about your mother-in-law coming over gets you off the couch and cleaning a bit before she shows up.
On the other hand, too much stress can have negative health benefits, increase your anxiety and make you feel bad about yourself. While a little stress is good, take the opportunity to eliminate – or just plain, old ignore, other stressful things in your life, like these:
Ignore Blatant Negativity
Whether it’s from someone else, or you are creating it yourself, blatant negativity should be avoided at all costs. People who always have something bad to say can really bring you down and stress you out. I recently started a farmers’ market in my little town. It’s been going really well, even though the weather hasn’t always been ideal. Living near the ocean, it gets windy, rainy and just plain ugly some days. There is a woman who is a vendor at the market that always makes a point of complaining to me about the weather and indicating that she thinks I should be able to do something about it. As the newbie in town, this really bothered me for the first few markets, until I realized that this particularly negative person would complain about any weather — or anything else — no matter what. Now, I just smile and nod and walk away before she can get to any negative comments that I can’t do anything about.
Ignore People Who Try to Blame You
Just like my farmers’ market lady from the above scenario, there will always be people who either try to blame you for everything — or who bring all of their problems to you. And if you’re like me, you want to help people. You want them to come to you when they have issues and you want to help them sort them out. But have you ever noticed that there are a few people who have drama in every aspect of their lives? And they need you to get in the middle and sort it out? Don’t. This sort of negative energy can start to permeate your life as well and you simply don’t need it. Once you let the negative lives of others seep into yours, you start to feel stressed out — over stuff that isn’t your problem! Sometimes, you have to say “no,” or “I’m sorry, I can’t help with this right now.”
Ignore Other People’s Opinions
Other people’s opinions of what you do and how you do it can bring a lot of stress into your life. For a long time, I avoided moving to Alaska and pursuing my own dreams because of the opinions of my family. They thought I would be irresponsible and crazy if I took my kids so far north. Now I know that they were really just afraid for me, but for a long time I let that stress control my life. Whether the other people’s opinions are good or bad, you must ignore them to keep that stress out of your life and move forward.
Ignore the Idea of “Perfect.”
Too often, we want things to be “just perfect.” The house, the yard, our car, our job — all of it should be and act just according to our plan. When the house doesn’t look nice for company or we don’t get the promotion in a timely manner, we start to feel stressed. Unfortunately, life doesn’t happen on a perfectly planned time table. Let the notion of “perfect” go and you will find the stress you feel reduce immensely. Sometimes, when the book club is coming, “good enough,” is “good enough.” Sometimes, when the day is beautiful, it’s more important to spend it at the beach with the kids than to worry about the lawn getting mowed or the weeds in the flower bed.
Ignore the Desire for Stuff
The desire to get more stuff can create more stress than we really need. Yes, a new car would be nice, but for how long? If you are fortunate enough to have a car that works well, then don’t worry about getting another. Do you really need a huge TV or the latest washer and dryer? The desire for new and better can create stress among family and friends that you really don’t need, especially if you feel like you are the one being left behind. Practicing gratitude for what we have — and wanting what we have can reduce stress and make our lives much more pleasant overall.
Life isn’t easy. Ever. In fact, if something is too easy, it’s probably not worth your trouble. Things that are satisfying are often hard. Trying to make things too easy can be stressful. Assuming that things that are important are going to require effort will actually reduce the amount of stress you feel.
Be flexible. Change as it is needed. Make changes. Adapt. When you accept that things have to change, you can reduce the amount of stress you feel. Go with the flow and you’ll find life, work and relationships a lot less stressful overall.