Stress comes in many disguises. It can accompany a happy occasion, such as a wedding, or it can be triggered by an unhappy event, perhaps a financial setback. But it is mostly the little stresses—the delay from a traffic jam, the line at the supermarket, or the check that doesn’t arrive in the mail—that wear us out on a day-to-day basis.
Want relief? The following tips may help.
- Step back. Use the prism of your experience to put whatever is bothering you into perspective. Because of your life experience, a cognitive approach is now available to you that might have eluded you when you were in your 20s. The wisdom in the expression "this too shall pass" is easier to recognize. Put that reassurance to use in your daily life.
- Exercise your humor muscle. Life throws tough situations our way no matter what our age. It's up to us to choose our response. Even when our circumstances are painful, we can make a conscious decision to laugh or to cry. Sometimes I find myself asking, "Will I even remember this tomorrow?"
- Savor the preciousness of time. At some point, we have the startling realization that we are not immortal. In response, some of us (and I include myself here) become kids again, wanting every moment to be filled with happiness and fun. Time wasted feeling sorry for ourselves or fretting over a flat tire is time lost, time that cannot be replaced.
- Choose the company you keep. Have you noticed that you are less stressed when you’re in the company of people you enjoy? Identifying those people is easy. I divide people into two groups: "My People" and "Not My People." I spend time with "My People." When I’m laughing and sitting around with friends, I'm not thinking about events that may have been stressing me out. When I listen to their words, I am transported into the world they inhabit. When I return to my own, I am refreshed.