Let’s cut to the chase. The secret to reducing stress is to:

Stop resisting reality!

What Is Your Reality?

Here are some real stressors that I’m hearing each week:
  • Yet another announcement of change that you are too busy to absorb.
  • Denied resource critical to execution.
  • A project that keeps getting delayed.
  • Budget that disappears.
  • Person who disrupts the meeting, again.
  • Year of wobbly revenues, now targets even bigger.
  • New, unexpected boss.
  • Competing demands and deadlines.

And of course, we haven’t even scratched the personal surface (e.g. aging parents, teenagers, disabilities, leaky roofs, lost keys or wallet, etc.).

3 Modes of Resistance

What part of reality we resist can be different, including these three ways.

  • One: Current reality is not what we expected or wanted. And we don’t know what to do to fix it,  or we can’t change the reality.  We are not in control.
  • Two: We want to change the past…impossible. He shouldn’t have… We would be X if…. And, some mild to heavy obsessing over it. How crazy is that!
  • Three: The uncertainty of our future reality and whether it will turn out.

In all three cases, there is often little to do. Otherwise the stress would be turned into positive energy.

And since we like to take action, our mind begins to torture us. Here I am. I’m not in control of x and y and z. How am I stuck demanding that the world be the way I want it to be?
I’m not talking about throwing up your hands in defeat. But, the frustration or resistance rarely gets you far, fast.

5 Steps to Take

The “doing” we can put in action is more about our own experience than fixing things. Here are five steps that I used last week when I thought I lost a key document and could not find it.

  1. Recognize your stress and ask what you are resisting.
  2. Breathe into the feeling in your body and the words in your mind.
  3. Honestly check your desire to control it/them.
  4. Determine if, indeed, there is something to do, even if only to observe or monitor the situation. Can I see a future scenario? Is there a next step?
  5. If not, let it go for now and turn your attention something more productive.

It’s important to note that I didn’t name this post as eliminating stress.Even with awareness and a handle for interventions, I don’t find myself stress-free. But, I am stress-aware and understand that what I really want is likely not possible. The question looming is how much CAN I LET GO OF WHAT I CAN’T CONTROL?

P.S. I did let go of the lost document, and then found it the next day while completely detached from the reality.