by stresswinner on March 8, 2010

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining, is to let it rain”. (Longfellow)
Not  every problem has a solution, and we cannot avoid  all  stressful and unfair  situations. Sometimes the most careful planning and decisive action won’t help.  But when the situation seems hopeless and we’re totally stressed -out  there’s  still hope. Here are four  options to try:
Firstly,  don’t dwell on the future –  or the past.  Dale  Carnegie advised  that when you’re  caught up in useless worry, imagine yourself  as  the captain in the  centre  of your own ‘ship of life’.   You have steel doors in front  to   shut  off  worry about the future, and  others behind you to  block out  regrets from the past.   Instead of fearing the future, make plans and take action today – and   enjoy the present  as much as possible.   Don’t  ignore  the past, but   examine it rationally, learn from it, then let it  GO!
No matter how much  you jump up and down or yell, you can’t stop the sun from setting or the wind from blowing   Acceptance of the inevitable is a big part of coping with stress. Life is  full of situations we must accept:  we can’t have everything we want; people won’t always do what we want – or like us. You don’t have to like a stressful  situation  or approve of it, but you can decide to accept it.   Do  you have a spouse with an irritating habit?  You can try to change them (good luck!) – you can be mad all the time – or you can just relax and let them be the way they are.   As Epicitus said:  “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” Of course,  if the situation is life-threatening, you do have to do something, but even  then,  an attitude of acceptance makes you  calmer,  stronger  and more effective.
Take Action!  Even if you have  little control  over  a stressful situation, there’s always something you can  do. The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson  put it this way: “I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair”.  For example, if  your  sweetheart has left you or you’ve lost all your  money, you don’t have to fall apart. You can choose to  say  “Gee, that’s too bad”,  then get out,  exercise,  join a club,  or  volunteer  to help those even worse off .  You’ll feel  better and more in control!
Shakespeare wrote:  “To fear the worst, oft cures the worst.” ‘Awfulizing’ means consciously deciding to face up to the worst that could possibly  happen instead of trying to ignore it and letting it eat away at you.  Spend some time thinking about the worst that could happen and you may realize that it’s very  unlikely  – and you can move on.   If the worst is quite possible, then vividly picture yourself getting through it  bravely and resourcefully. However, if  you feel really down, helpless  and hopeless,  you may be  depressed in the medical sense.  In this case see your doctor, don’t ‘ awfulize’, because dwelling on the worst outcomes may make the situation worse.   And remember: “What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect  generally happens”. (Benjamin Disraeli)

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