Episode 152: Proactively Influence the Stress in your Life

Your life rocks influence stress

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Hey guys! I am so glad you are here. We are going into Fall and I could not be more excited. Don’t get me wrong I love summer, but Fall is my favorite time of the year. It’s like second new year's eve, kind of… like a fresh start. Summer is a little bit of a slower, more casual pace where Fall… well, things just get busier. And with busyness comes with stress. Well, we can’t avoid stress, it is ever present in our busy lives, but there are times that seem to be more stressful.

So, as always, I have got your back. We are kicking off a series all about stress and I could not be more excited to bring it to you. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be talking about stress from a mental, spiritual, relational and physical perspective. We have some really incredible guests lined up for you to learn from so if you have not done so already, make sure you hit subscribe so you don’t miss it.

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Like I said before, we are kicking off a series all about stress and we are starting today. Now there are many things that can influence our wellbeing. Things that influence peace and harmony in our lives and things that influence stress and conflict. And the amazing thing is, these things influence everything, every area of life. In preparing for this episode to talk to you all about stress, I was originally going to give you 3 tips to help you alleviate stress in your surroundings. But, because God is so awesome, he really used this last week to teach me a thing or two about stress. You see, I always pray about the show. I always ask for God to lead the conversation and when I had the idea to do a series on stress, well I should have seen the stress coming, right? Well in the process of living through one of the most stressful months of my life, and interviewing experts on the topic, praying about it daily and really searching God in every situation, I had a realization. The tactic that I used to affect change in my career was the same tactic that I needed to use for my life.

I mentioned influence before and I learned this tactic of influence and affecting change through one of my all-time favorite business books. It’s called The Influencer. I’ll link to it in the show notes if you want to grab it. In the book, they talk about the 6 sources of influence that you need to focus on when you want to influence change. It’s essentially your ability and motivation that presents itself personally, socially, and structurally. For today’s episode, we are going to go through these to proactively deal with stress. Cause like it or not stress is a part of our lives, especially as working moms. It’s coming and we need to be ready for it.

Let’s first look at ourselves personally. For this category, I’m not going to talk about the personal ability to deal with stress because our stress resilience is so different from one person to the next. And honestly, next week’s episode deals with that topic so greatly. But I do want to talk for just a moment about personal motivation. Are you motivated to live a more peaceful life or do you like being stressed? Does your stress level tie into your identity? Does it make you feel important or worthy? We have talked about this before in previous episodes, but we called it “busy”. You see, some of us are seeking peace and balance in our lives, but somewhere along the line being a mess is serving us in some way. It might be keeping you feeling safe, from showing up and being the bright light you were created to be. It might be so that others expect less out of you if you are giving off the impression of stress and busy. Or it could just be that it makes you feel important. Maybe you had a role model in the past that demonstrated being stressed all the time and it just kind of stuck as a model to emulate. If this is you, and you are seeking peace, you won't find it unless your motivation for peace is greater than your motivation for stress.

It reminds me of one of my favorite stories of the Bible, from John 5. It’s the one with the man at the spring laying there for years and not doing the things that he believed would make him well. He didn’t get in the springs, there was always an excuse on why he couldn’t. But he was close enough to it to make it look like he was making an effort. Jesus saw right to his heart and asked, “Do you want to get well?”

Sometimes we need to ask ourselves that same question and be really honest with the answer.

Moving on to social influence and impact on stress. Let’s look at the ability and motivation.
Let’s start with motivation because it is so closely connected to what we were just talking about. Have you ever found yourself in a one-up misery party? You know, where you are like, “I am so tired, I woke up at 4 am this morning” and your co-worker is like “Lucky you, I was up with the baby at 3.” and then someone else says “You got up at 3? I didn’t get to bed till 3 And had to wake up at 5.” You get the idea. Sometimes we find ourselves in social circles that are conversations where the cool kids seem the most miserable. Um, why are we racing to the bottom? What’s in that for the winner? That’s not a game I want to play and I hope you don’t either. Be motivated by talking with and being around people that take care of their emotional, and mental well being. Choose the friends that choose joy. Not stress.

On the other side, it is so good to have a solid social network that you can express when you genuinely need help. Whether it’s just prayer or someone to take your kids for a couple of hours so you can decompress or even just to vent to when you need to verbally vomit.

I will admit it. I am a verbal processor. I need to speak things in order to work them out. This last month coming off with so much stress, I had to get my best friend a gift. She had to listen to me vent multiple times a day, every day. I listen for her when she needs it. God bless my poor husband who had to pick up more than his fair share of the slack around the house, held me when I cried from exhaustion, and listened to me when I was angry. We need these people. You need these people. Remember, I said that this was to help you be more proactive? Drops in the Bucket (another good career book by the way). When you are not overwhelmed by stress, seek out others around you that you can care for. These relationships are not just about what we get from them, but what we give to them. So when you don’t need to take, give wildly.

Ok, now we are on to the structure. If you have listened for some time at all, you know I love structure. And this is such a strong piece to everything. I think we overestimate how our environment and the things outside of us can influence the inside of us. This is a huge part of the weekly success planning course. Do you want to read your bible in the morning? Where is your bible? Not in a place you can find it in the morning without waking people up? Guess who is going to have a hard time building that habit? Yep, you. Now put your Bible proactively by the coffee maker? You have built a structure of success. Now you will remember (that’s your ability) and you will be motivated. I mean how nice does it sound to sit down with your hot cup of coffee and read the word of God? Pretty good.

So how does this relate to stress? Well, ask yourself this one question. What about your environment stresses you out? It might be a mess, it might be seeing too many things and that overwhelms you. It could be color, yes, too many bright colors can stress out some people. It might be darkness it could be brightness. It’s a very personal thing. I think the most common is a messy environment. I think because it plays into the things we know we need to do and are not doing them, or guilt or whatever.

Once you have figured out what in your physical space stresses you out, do the opposite and set up systems so that you can keep that one thing taken care of. Again, it’s about being proactive.

Let me give you an example. For me, it’s a clean floor. When the floor is dirty, it contributes to my stress. I like a clean floor. It sounds weird, but when the floor is clean I think I can deal with more things coming my way. When the floor is dirty, when things get stressful, I have to clean the floor. I just have to. So, I have systems in place to keep the floor clean. Picking up the floor is part of my nightly routine and the floor gets vacuumed multiple times a week to keep it clean.

Another example, I once had a boss that could not handle a messy desk. He was really great at his job when he was anywhere else, except his office. His desk was always a mess. People would come in and lay things on his desk that needed his attention. It wasn’t good. One time in a one on one, he was commenting on his desk and how it stressed him out. All I said is “Maybe you should tell them not to do that and come up with another system.” It was a light bulb moment. Right away, he made the change, came up with a different system, and his stress level went way down.

Like I said before, stress is going to come. Like it or not. But we can choose to do something proactively to help us cope. I am so excited for next week’s episode as we dive further into the topic of stress. Catch it inside the Your Life Rocks Life Balance app.

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I’ll catch you next week and until then, keep building a life that rocks.

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