All of us experience stress. The question is, “Who is in control?” The stress or you?
I learned an exercise to help put the control in your hands. It was taught to me by Prepare/Enrich, which is an organization committed to providing training and resources for premarital and marital counseling. I accept no credit for the tool, it is completely the creation of Prepare/Enrich.
For the exercise to take effect, it’s essential to identify the top stressors in your life and/or relationship. What do you stress out about the most? Write them down. Choose the top four.
Now, take a look at the exercise. Draw if for yourself.
It says: High Priority, Able to change, Box 1: Most Critical, What changes can be made?
Pull out your list of top four stressors (things you stress about most) and write one of them in one of the four boxes. Don’t rush.
Study your answers for a few minutes and ask yourself, “Am I in control of the stressors?” Or, “Are the stressors in control of me?”
If you’re like me, chances are you are spending time and energy on low priority issues that really can’t be changed. And, it stresses you out. The reality is, though, those things aren’t so important and rarely can be changed. So, why not let those things go?
I’m learning the most effective way to control stress is for me to focus on the high priority issues that can be changed. I can’t let the less important, less likely to be changed issues overshadow the most critical areas of my life. I need to focus on what’s most important and what I can do something about. Then, I need to do something about it. Make the changes.
I don’t want stress to control me. It is the source of most of my arguments. It is what slows me down and holds me back. Learning this exercise is one way to help me regain control.
How is the stress in your life? Who is in control?