It started out as a relaxing morning; I was driving to the gym and wanted to make a quick stop to put some air in a suspiciously low tire. I jumped out of the driver’s seat and the door clicked shut. Like a pro, I filled the tire lickety split, grabbed the handle of the door to get back in… and the car was locked.
It wouldn’t have been such a big deal but, the car was still running. Not to mention my money, ID and phone were hanging out on the seat. And no, I didn’t accidentally lock the car, it locked on it’s own. (I swear!) So much for shortcuts.
What was meant to be a happy productive day of exercise! working on my blog! lunch with a friend! quickly turned into a stressful pain in the ass. It was a total buzzkill.
It got me thinking–how can we prevent everyday stress from killing our mojo? Daily stress will always be there, it’s a part of life. And sometimes stress is good, because it motivates us and keeps us moving. But in this case? It was a total bummer to get locked out! #nothelpful
So what should we do when over the top stress just plain sucks the life out of us? Here are some ideas on how to stress less:
- Short of death and dismemberment, there are few things that can’t be fixed/undone/changed. When in a stressful moment, taking a deep breath will help get things in perspective. OR, do a jumping jack to get out of that crazed feeling in your head and get back to being present in your body. Afterall, attitude determines altitude. Using these tricks changed my thought to: “At least this happened when I have a flexible day so I don’t have to stress about screwing up a rigid schedule.”
- Give in to the moment. When we stress about things, it’s often a projection of what might happen in the future as a result of one bad occurrence. Stay in the now so you don’t get all crazy about the future.
- Ask for help. God knows we’ve all had our share of stressful moments! Asking for help always seems to take a little pressure off and it gives others a chance to feel good too. Given the opportunity, I’ve found most people like to be helpful (and thanked!)
- Loosen the grip. Instead of waiting on line and being royally irked by the loud talker in front of me, I try to imagine her having a hearing problem (so she needs to talk louder) or I imagine her as a little girl that was bullied (she just wants to be heard). A little compassion can go a long way.
- Give in to the actual moment so it can pass. Stress isn’t always bad–it can help get things done and keep life moving along. But stress can make even the most chill of people, flip out. So when a situation starts to feel like a tight noose around my neck, sometimes I just throw my hands up and say mercy. It helps me to see the situation for what it is, and move on.
Two hours later, multiple phone calls and failed attempts to locate my spare key, a kind soul finally opened my car door with a jimmy-thing (proving me right about people just wanting to be helpful). I thanked the gas station attendants and the various people that tried to help along the way and I hopped in my car, grateful to be back in action. Let’s just say now when I leave my car, so do my keys.