Vibrant Living Breakdown: Stress Reduction
At Sage Collective, we have adopted, and vigorously promote, 9 Ways of Vibrant Living, as a model that champions high-quality living, and is the backbone of our philosophy. Today, we’re unpacking the third of our nine components: stress reduction. We believe that stress is a natural component of life for all of us, and our focus is not to totally eliminate stress, but rather learn to manage, to control and to minimize it.
The famous serenity prayer goes: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” In that vein, Mayo Clinic provides 4 A’s that should be a part of every person’s stress management toolkit: Avoid, Alter, Accept and Adapt.
Oftentimes, the majority of stressors in our lives are things we can simply Avoid. Avoidance requires us to first acknowledge what triggers stress for us: is it traffic on the way to running errands, or a rude neighbor? Taking the time to plan strategically to avoid these stressors is well worth the effort. Stress also comes from feeling overextended in our responsibilities. Time management and prioritizing what is most important to you is one way to treat this, and even includes saying no to favors you aren’t in a position to take on.
For those things you can’t avoid: Alter. Perhaps you’d like to begin rectifying your relationship with that rude neighbor. Communicating your feelings and, when necessary, setting important boundaries goes a long way when treating your own stress.
For those things you cannot change or alter? It’s time to Accept. Holding onto anger, frustration or regret not only adds to your stress, but it’s also exhausting. Try talking with a loved one or trained professional to express your feelings through a healthy outlet. Strike a balance between productive venting and then practicing forgiveness, of both yourself and others.
And when all else fails, it’s time to Adapt. We can’t always change the things that cause us stress, but we have the ability to change how we respond. Rather than becoming overwhelmed with negative feelings, take some time to talk yourself down and recenter. Once you’re feeling calm and collected, try reframing the issue and looking for the bright side: is there something to be learned? Is it an opportunity to grow?
Dealing with stress is never fun, but when we develop the right techniques, successful stress reduction is another step towards a life lived more vibrantly.