You can’t help but… with 20/20 hindsight, go back and say, ‘Look, had we done something different, we probably wouldn’t be facing what we are facing today.’ ~Norman Schwarzkopf
There are many things I wish I had known long ago that help me fight stress and anxietynow and help me live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. I realized I could have been much happier and had much greater success without letting stress and anxiety rule me.
Looking at our lives in hindsight gives us the ability to look at what we could have done differently to have made our life easier. Self-reflection has been a big part of my life to make sure I minimize my mistakes and maximize my successes.
I have changed my approach to life in many ways, and these new ways helped ease and, in many cases, eradicate stress out of my life completely.
Here are 16 things I wish I had known before that help me fight stress and anxiety:
1. Everything passes. Nothing is forever. Instances occur and disappear from our lives in a small matter of time when we get out of our own way.
2. I used to work so hard at trying to make everything fit perfectly into my world; this caused me great stress. I began to allow things to be what they were. I accepted things into my life that were already a good fit and allowed the other ones that would have been much more work to just pass on by.
3. No ownership. I used to think in terms of “mine”. Whenever someone did something that infringed on something I had claimed as mine, my ego would flare and I would waste too much time and energy on something that didn’t matter. I now take the position that I am co-renting everything and own nothing.
4. Not everything is about me. As shocking as it sounds, not everything is about you. People tend to live in ways where it is all about them and what is going on with them, not you. Understanding that relieved a lot of pressure and stress in my life.
5. Happy is as happy does. I paid careful attention to how I acted and treated others. I found that when I approached and treated people with respect, I was given that in return.
6. Concentrate on self. I stopped exerting so much effort to change the people around me and put that time and energy into changing things inside myself instead.
7. Happiness in an inside job. Yes, people can make us happy and unhappy, but ultimately it is up to you to continue to choose to be happy or miserable from one moment to the next.
8. Cut out the takers. All relationships, even lovers, family, work or friends, needs to be a two-way street. Make sure everyone is putting in equal effort to accomplish the same goal.
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth. ” – William W. Purkey
9. Mindset is everything. If you expect the worse, that is exactly what you will end up getting most of the time. Expect the best and plan for it and most of the time the outcomes will be to your benefit.
10. Negativity is catchy. I learned to stay away from people that had a negative outlook about life or others.
11. Watch your tongue. I learned not to say (or think) anything about anyone that I was not willing to say to them directly.
12. Reframe thoughts. We all have a story about everything that happens in life. I began to think about scenarios in terms of the exact opposite of what I believed them to be.Example: If someone did not return my call, I would create a negative story about myself in my head about why they didn’t call me. I would reframe that and make the story actually about the fact that they were really busy and wanted to give me their undivided attention at a later time.
13. Nightly reflection. Every single night I would go over the details of the day. I would look at areas where I could do and be better so I made sure I continued to get better and better.
14. Failure to argue. This is actually winning not the normal negativity we put on failure. I simply won’t engage with people that want to argue. I will talk things out but refused to get in a heated argument. Anger clouds judgment and skews perception of events.
15. This has been invaluable to align my mind and body. Mediation brings me peace and often clarity so I easily come up with solutions to my problems. I also found that when tension and stress builds, meditation just wipes it out.
16. Stress relieving techniques. I found complete value in stress relieving techniques like:
- Walking barefoot on the ground (a.k.a. Earthing)
- Supplements and herbal remedies
- Epsom salt baths
- Laughing and enjoying fun days
- Making time for my hobbies
- Listening to and reading inspirational materials from people like Napoleon Hill, Earl Nightingale, Bob Proctor, Byron Katie, and Florence Scovel-Shinn.
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