At the many events at which I am invited to speak, I am often asked for “one simple tidbit” to help people manage their stress more effectively. In my book, Stress Less in 27 Days, I provide a toolkit equipping you with 26 simple and practical strategies to help you to cope with, decrease, or transform your consuming stress. However, if I were to produce just one tip for you, it would come in the form of this statement: managing your stress simply comes down to the permissions you give.
Think about it for a moment. If stress is a function of what happens when we perceive our demands to exceed our resources, then we are allowing our perceptions to generate stress inside us.
Consider this: we teach people (and circumstances) how to treat us. It’s true. Just let that sit for a moment. You teach people how to treat you. Look at how we allow this to happen.
When we feel hurt or disappointed, we brush it off and remain silent. Even though we know what we want, we defer to the decisions of others. When we need help, we don’t ask because of fear of rejection, pride, or not wanting to look stupid or helpless. When people ask us to take on more than we can handle, we hesitate to say no.
Listen: you are surrounded by people, places and things, all bombarding you with requests, needs, ideas, and problems. They are competing for whatever energy you have available, and they won’t take no for an answer. At least they won’t - until you learn how to educate them on who you are, what they can, and can’t do. When you define your negotiables and non-negotiables, then your universe will begin to respect you and your needs.
Here are some tips on how to begin educating your environment:
1. Start with defining your non-negotiables. Be clear about what your values are and your morals. Be clear about drawing the lines you will never cross.
2. Decide what is acceptable to you in terms of your own behavior and the behavior of others. By doing this before you are faced with questionable choices, decision making in the moment will be much easier.
3. Use proper phrasing to express your non-negotiables to others. Own up to what you feel, need, think, and want.
4. Try to keep yourself “Inventory-Free”. This means that you aim to leave every encounter with nothing unsaid, nothing stepped over, nothing un-requested, and nothing not acknowledged or appreciated. Doing this ensures that relationships stay healthy, and opportunities are grasped in the moment.
By defining what is negotiable and non-negotiable for you, you will be able to stand your ground about what you will permit, and what is not acceptable in your life. When you set clear boundaries, people will stop taking advantage of you, and your stress will decrease!
By Julie Christiansen, Author, International Speaker, Coach
President, Leverage U
International speaker, coach, and author, Julie Christiansen is President of Leverage U: helping individuals and teams to create positive, radical, lasting change.