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Why You Shouldn’t Sweat the Little Things

December 13, 2012

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Anxiety is as much a part of life as brushing your teeth or tying your shoes.  Getting stuck in traffic, managing tight work deadlines, keeping up with bills– there isn’t anyone that can escape the stresses of daily life. But it is precisely these little stresses that can build us up to a more or less constant state of anxiety.

A recent New York Times article details how, when stress is constant, it makes decision-making overly difficult and draining. Studies have already shown the impacts of stress- even the children of parents who are stressed out feel the consequences. When it becomes a way of life, stress can become crippling.

Fixating on stresses that aren’t really a big deal in the long run – the flat tire, the late train – leaves people awash in fears that prevent them from making decisions and taking opportunities that could be enriching and empowering. Worrying about the little things bottlenecks these opportunities and blocks the ability to make decisions with a clear mind.

So what can you do to mitigate daily stress?  Instead of thinking of the entire issue at hand, think about what needs to be done immediately in small, do-able chunks. Deepak Chopra, Integrative Nutrition visiting teacher, recommends staying in the present because being in the future is unhelpful. Taking a small step in the moment, and valuing each step, opens up the opportunity for change without becoming too overwhelming.

The key to taking action is thinking reminding yourself of all the possibilities. Dr. Tamara Chansky, psychologist and author, points out that negative thinking makes you feel like you’re out of options. Reminding yourself of your options is the way out. If you struggle with thinking about options, ask others for suggestions. Don’t hesitate to reach out and communicate with your network, asking for advice and support.

How do you cope with daily stress?