Don't Get Stressed Over Things You Can't Control
Maybe it's just busy London, but recently it feels like the question is not so much “Are you stressed?”, which seems a given, but “What are the five things that stress you most in your life right now?” Everyone I talk to is stressed, and not just my clients.
When we are stressed and feel overwhelmed with our lives it can be very helpful to take a moment and remind ourselves that some things are under our control and others are not. And it is helpful to recognise that there will never be a totally stress-free life and environment. We cannot eliminate stress completely. But we can manage stress and build our resilience.
“If only my boss would resign.” “If only our neighbour would move out.” “If only I hadn't had that accident.” Often we dwell on unhelpful thoughts of this kind. Better is to distinguish: What can I change and what can't I change (e.g. things that are out of my control or even in the past)? Under our control are our actions, our opinions, our intentions. Everything else we can at best influence, but we do not have complete or direct control. By assuming or acting as if external events were under our direct control we cause ourselves a lot of stress and emotional suffering. This in turn can make us blame others or the world excessively.
The second step is to consciously decide which of those things that are under my direct control I decide to do something about. It is very helpful and extremely liberating to make decisions on this. All too often we increase our pain by dwelling on things we either cannot change or won't change. At times it can feel scary to make decisions. We don't want to make a wrong step. It can help to become aware that: bad things can come out of good decisions and good things can come out of bad decisions. That is because there are just so many other factors, coincidences and other people's actions that we cannot foresee or influence. So make the best decision you can at this moment, with the information you have. But really do make a decision. Not making a decision means staying in a state of limbo and that's the worst option, as you are not letting go of it, robbing you of time and energy.
To realise the above and act accordingly will increase your resilience to stress and ultimately help you to lead a freer and happier life.
In my practice I often help clients to navigate through the process of defining those things they can and want to change - and to let go of all else. This clarification brings calmness and peace and in itself helps reduce stress levels a lot. Afterwards we focus on those areas they want to do something about and with hypnosis I help them to take the actions they've chosen to take. During the treatment they also learn self-hypnosis: the more you practice the more you can help yourself with the strategies and methods of therapeutic hypnosis.
The ultimate goal is for each client to become independent, free and in control of their own stress management and to tackle the challenges life throws at them with ease.