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7 Things That Stress You Out That You Should Ignore

7 Things That Stress You Out That You Should Ignore

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:

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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.”

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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.

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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.

Ignore “Easy.”

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.

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Change

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.

More by this author

Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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