4 Tiny Ways You Make Your Already-Stressful Life Harder

Ignoring your problems isn't going to make your stress go away.

Stressed woman  Jacob Lund | Canva 

The list of easy ways to run from stress is long and familiar. Yet, no matter how much you medicate, party, shop, sleep, exercise, or whatever your run-away favorite is, at some point, it's time to look at what's going on and come to grips with reality. How do you prepare for change and cope with stress?

Yes, prepare. Think of it this way: the quality of your preparation will influence the quality of your responses. When you are fully prepared, you have options and possibilities that will keep you in the driver's seat for what's next. When stress hits the hot button, the tendency is to react in automatic, familiar ways. Not good. Old reaction patterns bring nothing but problems. When things don't go as you planned, what is the initial way you look at the annoying or uncomfortable situation?


Our body's instinctive choices are fight, flight, or freeze. Take a minute and track your reactions. Many blame and want to punch someone out. Others gotta get the heck out as fast as possible and find a place of safety. And still, others do the deer in the headlights and simply can't move. These instinctive choices don't offer much choice for a lasting solution and lead to the worst mistakes that keep us stuck.

RELATED: 5 Subtle Ways Stress Completely Screws Up Your Life

Here are 4 tiny ways you make your already stressful life harder:

1. Not taking responsibility

"It's his fault. It's her fault. It's their fault. They should have known better. They should have warned me. They should have fixed it." Stop it. Stop it right now. Don't count on anyone else to relieve your stress. It's your stress, no one else's. Learn to take responsibility for how you feel.




2. Deciding to not decide

Time to pivot, yet not sure which way to turn. Deciding not to decide is a stress inducer. You are still waiting for someone else to tell you what to do. The longer you wait, the deeper the stress. This is how you waste a ton of emotional energy hanging onto the past and hoping for a hero to take you into the future on their red cape.

RELATED: There Are 4 Different Types Of Stress Languages — Knowing Yours Can Improve Your Relationships

3. Ignoring what you know

It often feels better not to know. Ignorance is bliss, that is until it becomes stressful. When we know it, recognize it, and yet, ignore it there are often huge consequences. What we choose to not see can backfire and create ten times the stress when it can no longer be pushed under the rug.




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4. Rushing your decisions

Hurrying to get the situation over with by being impetuous without considering consequences down the line often makes you feel good for a moment. This leads to the "if-only syndrome" and a lot of regrets that make stress a constant companion. Making a wise choice means preparing and planning the best move possible. It's all about the timing of when to move and when to stand steady. The secret of "practicing safe stress" is to look at the extremes and then wait. Not long, just take a few deep breaths. Wait until you understand the consequences that lie at the extremes and make a choice. Stress is an ally and can help you get going positively without making deadly mistakes.


RELATED: The Scary Truth About What Happens To Your Body When You're Stressed

Dr. Sylvia Lafair, Ph.D., is a CEO, an accomplished change management expert, and an executive coach with over 35 years of experience.