In America and the Western world we are taught over and over that we have to fight our way through challenges. Although I would never suggest that we should give up when faced with a difficulties in life. Yet, another way to deal with stress is to learn to accept it
Now this isn’t surrendering or throwing up her hands in the air or saying I can’t do this any longer. Rather we should work very diligently to keep our life in balance while we run our business, juggle home and family, or whatever it is that makes us feel out of control because of stress. But as Richard Carlson has said, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff.” We need to acknowledge that sometimes we can’t change the events in our life. We have to just accept our life the way it is- in that moment.
Let Me give you the three key steps of acceptance.
#1. Do Your best to recognize the point at which nothing further can be done. Again I’m not saying that we shouldn’t work hard to manage the stress that comes into our life. If we are juggling three things at once: trying to manage our business, deal with unreasonable demands at work, and still keeping our personal life in perspective- we have to deal with these things. We can’t ignore them by sticking out head in the sand.
Yet at some point a person can only do so much. If we continue to try to push ourselves past a certain point there are diminishing returns.
Not long ago I was trying to meet a deadline for a stress reduction product that I was working on. I had it in my head that the product should be out by such and such a date, but it seemed like I was meeting up with roadblock after roadblock. The person working on the video editing wasn’t getting his job done. The website developer wasn’t working as fast as I thought he should work. It reached a point where I was really getting frustrated. My stress level rose and rose( ironic isn’t it that a stress reduction expert would get stressed out?)
Finally, I reached a point where I had to say, “I’ve done everything I can do. I just have to let the chips fall where they may.” I had to accept life as it was presenting itself, rather than trying to push my wishes on reality.
The minute I did this my stress level dramatically reduced. It vanished.
If you find yourself reaching this point in your life. Things are just too hectic, and your vision of how your life should be (after you’ve done everything you can) isn’t working out, consider being willing to accept that it’s time to acknowledge that nothing further can be done. Just accept where you are in that moment.
Try to get good at identifying where this point is, for you, in the things you are doing in your life. Don’t try to keep pushing yourself past this point. Be willing to accept your life at that moment.
#2. Let go of the reins of control.
Most of the people who come to me for help are successful people. They might be business business owners, mid-level managers, or just people who value performing up to their own high expectations. They are often people who want to make a difference in the world. Often in this group of people there’s a tendency to think we can control everything. In fact it seems like our success often hinges on our ability to control nearly all the events in our life
Let me break this myth right now. Control is often an illusion. Although we can work hard and plan for contingencies, what you find when you’re dealing with stress is that life goes beyond our boundaries to control it. The more we try to control the problem the more difficult it becomes to keep our lives balanced.
Remember the analogy I just shared with you about my own need for acceptance. I had in my head that I was going to launch this product on a certain date. The program is a comprehensive stress reduction training program, 5 Simple steps for Overcoming Stress Now. It’s my signature stress reduction program. In making this program I wanted to control everything. Obviously, I wanted it to be done on a certain date, look a certain way, and help.
Unfortunately, I found myself trying to control too much of the product. I wasn’t letting the video editor do his job. I keep sending back revision after revision. What this did was make me feel very stressed out, and it didn’t really speed up the completion of the product. Again, I’m not saying you shouldn’t hold people to high standards, but knowing when to delegate duties and when to hold onto them is critical. Our relationships are a prime example. Nothing kills a good work relationship as much as trying to over control the work that another person is doing. Teamwork demands that we be willing to let go of control.
The moment we can decide and acknowledge that we can’t control everything and we just loosen up a little bit on the reins of control, stress is much less likely to get it grips on us. It is such a relief not to have to be in control all the time. To be willing to just let go let things be as they are. This is the kind of acceptance we need to have if we really want to get the stress off our backs
#3 Just Let Go
Sometimes after we discover that we’ve reached our breaking point with stress, and we let go of the reins of control then our next step of acceptance is to just let go. We have to let the chips fall where they may.
When you finally let go, this means letting go of the outcome. I know for most people who operate in the realm of business, it is difficult to let go of the outcome completely. Yet, once you’ve done your best and really put all of your effort into an endeavor, it doesn’t do any good to beat yourself up if the outcome you intended isn’t happening.
It can definitely be a learning experience when things don’t work out the way we want them to work out. We can reassess our approach, make a commitment to strive harder, or vow to do things differently on the next project.
Whatever we choose to do in the next go around is OK. But once you’re able to let go of the outcome it can be a truly liberating feeling. This is true acceptance. When we work and struggle but we’re not necessarily attached completely to the outcome. In my work as a cardiologist I’m faced with this every single day. I do my best to help people prevent heart disease or take care of the heart disease. I can talk to them. Counsel them and guide them, but ultimately it’s their life. If they choose not to alter their lifestyle and come back with further heart disease I can’t be stressed out over it.
I have to be willing to let go. I have to accept the fact that life doesn’t always end up the way I would like it to end up. If I were to try to control everything not knowing when it was time to let go then I would be a mess.
I would suggest you not let stress make you a mess.
Be willing to know when you can’t do anything further. Let go of your controlling desires, and just let go.
If you follow these three steps you’re going to find that the stress level in your life improves dramatically.
Learning how to embrace acceptance is a key step for lowering the effects of stress in your life.
I hope you found this helpful.
This is Dr. Kirk Laman the wholehearted cardiologist.
Stress reduction expert.
Remember: Seek. Knock. Open Your Heart.