learn to take control

There’s this little thing called stress that seems to take control of a lot of our lives and sometimes it feels like there is nothing we can do to make it go away; bills keep coming, school gets harder, work is overwhelming, car problems, etc…there’s that famous saying, “if it’s not one thing, it’s another,” and you can’t seem to keep up with life. Sounds pretty stressful and we can all relate, but I’m going to tell you now, there are so many ways to rid a little bit of that stress from your life, but first you have to STOP! slow down and just breathe. Try it. Clear your mind of everything, inhale, I’m talking about a deep inhale that you can feel in your abdomen and count to four, then exhale while counting to four, make sure you get all that air out and do this four times; you’ll feel relaxed in just a matter of minutes.

Now that we have that exercise done, here are some tips that will relieve all the stress  you allow yourself to build up on a daily basis. If you practice these everyday, you will be a pro in no time and more than likely feel so much better about yourself, I actually guarantee you will feel better in general.

Side note: these are tips that I learned from research and practice that helped me with my stress levels and anxiety; everyone deals with stress differently and not all the same techniques help people, but these are ways to at least get started and cope.


First, evaluate your habits, behaviors, and attitudes/thoughts.
-What are things you can do better and be better at?
-Do you explain your stressful situations in a temporary way?
 “I’m a little stressed at the moment for my exam tomorrow”
-Do you define stress as an essential part of your life?
  “My life is always hectic and I always have a million things to do, I can never just sit and relax.”
Do you blame people, things, or events for your stress or view it as a normal part of life?

The key: learn to take control! until you are able to accept responsibility for the stress you create and maintain, it will always be outside of your control.

Second, think about how you cope with stress currently–healthy/unhealthy, productive/unproductive; are you helping or heightening your stress levels?
Now, I’ll be honest a nice cold one after a long day of work sometimes sounds nice and may relax you, but just for that moment and can we really just have one drink? In the long run, it is actually adding to the problem of stress. Many ways the majority of us deal with stress only help for that moment, like:
-binge eating
-taking pills
-over sleeping
-isolating ourselves
-sitting in front of the tv for hours
the list goes on.

Now that I have you thinking about how you deal with stress, here are some strategies that can help:

  1. be more active– whether it be going for a walk, going to the gym, or find a parking spot further from whatever building you’re going into; sometimes I even just put on music and dance around the house. It never hurts to let loose.
  2. be social– make connections with people. Put down the technology for a minute and have a face-to-face conversation with someone.
  3. be vocal– express yourself in any way that you need to, don’t bottle up every emotion because you’re afraid of what people may think. Learn to say “no” if you don’t want to do something. Say “yes” if you want to do something instead of finding excuses not to have fun. Ask questions–remember if you don’t ask the answer is always “no!”
  4. be positive– THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT! Avoid anything that stresses you out, whether it be people, places, or things; you don’t have to tolerate anything that is unnecessary-MOVE ON! Look for the good in all situations, there’s always a positive in something. Every morning when you wake up tell yourself 3-5 positive things; for example, I tell myself, “today WILL be a good day! you ARE beautiful and smart! I AM happy and healthy!” whatever it is that you need to tell yourself, DO IT! and keep telling yourself these things throughout the day, constantly having positive thoughts in your head you will train your mind to think this way. Remember don’t wish for it when you say it, CLAIM IT! YOU ARE happy, not you want to be happy!
    When I say look for the good or change the way you view situations, instead of saying, “I hate my job” think “I am so grateful to have a job, but I know I can and will do better” It can be challenging, this one I am still working on. 
  5. be more healthy– Drink more water. Replace your sweets with fruits and add more vegetables to your meal. I understand healthy eating is more expensive and organic foods are even more expensive, but it will be worth saving your health.
  6. be accepting– This starts with accepting things you cannot change and/or control. You just have to learn to let things be what they are. Be more accepting of yourself and by this I mean you have to learn to love yourself, including all your flaws. Learn to forgive, it does more good for you than it does the other person, I promise you will feel so much better if you learn to forgive.
  7. be fun– Make time for things you enjoy, let loose and be a kid again. Add relaxation time in your day–enjoy nature, take a long bath, listen to music, write a story, go for a jog, dance, laugh, cry, whatever it is that will help you let out stress in a positive way. Just because we get older doesn’t mean the fun stops, always enjoy life 🙂

I promise these tips will work. I use to have anxiety to the point I couldn’t go to class and would want to stay at home, but couldn’t be alone and for what? Because I let everything control me. If it isn’t happening, then I don’t think about it. Quick story to wrap this up–I was in my stress reduction and relaxation class (I think that’s what it’s called, I just needed a 1 credit to graduate) anyway, she had everyone think of something that is stressing them out and write it down and then she went around the room (by passing a ball) and we had to tell the class what it was and everyone in that room had something, from “the traffic I have to deal with after class to work and school issues” and when she got to me I said “nothing!” everyone looked at my like I was crazy, like there is no way you’re sitting here and nothing is stressing you out. Literally, when she asked the question, the word “nothing” came to mind because I learned to take control. I’m sitting in a classroom, nothing is going on so what would I stress about? Why am I going to sit here and think about what is happening outside of the class if I can’t control it? You deal with it in the moment, but instead people overthink and overanalyze, we imagine things that aren’t even real because we are so afraid and anxious of “what if” and if you continue to think that way then you’ll never have control of yourself or your mind.

Try and apply a couple of these tips to your daily life and soon you will adapt and train yourself and your mind to naturally do them. Every decision you make is because of you, not what anyone else says, or what your mind is telling you. You have ultimate control, but learn to take that control and kick stresses ass!

Positive thoughts bring positive things–prosper my friends!

-A. J





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