This is the second part of the series on "Dealing With Stress". The first can be view by clicking here.
I woke up on day two feeling much better and like a load was off my shoulders. My mind was in a position where I could begin thinking about how to better manage circumstances moving forward.
In all my pondering I had two words resonating in my head, “Be Deliberate.”
What do I mean by this? Be deliberate where I put my time, be deliberate which relationships to invest in, be deliberate about what opportunities to pursue, be deliberate about what tasks I pick up, be deliberate about everything in life.
It was like a lightbulb going off inside my head. If I could just be deliberate, then many of the issues that I was wrestling with would come into line.
Upon reflection, the vast majority of my stress was because I let other people push me into the passenger seat of my life’s car. I was jumping from one issue to another because someone demanded that I respond immediately…..in computer terminology this is called thrashing. Nothing is finished and everything half completed.
By being deliberate I had settled once again into the driver’s seat and it felt good. After another day’s contemplation I put some things into place that have transformed who I am and made my life so much better.
What I’m going to suggest may be obvious for some readers but for me it was revolutionary. The first thing I did when I returned home was apologise to the family for my “silent treatment”. Nothing like a good serving of humble pie to start you off in the right direction.
I then took a look at how I was using my time and applied the “be deliberate” principle to what I was doing. For example, I’m now up at 7am each morning and I spend at least 30 minutes in getting input into me. This involves, reading a chapter from the Bible, thinking about it, watching a Youtube video on a topic I’m interested in or reading a book. I also always spend some time thinking about the day ahead.
I find this time so important that it’s now spilled over into my weekends as something that I really look forward to. It’s feeding my soul and mind so that I can be a better person.
I’ve then completely restructured my day by deliberately allocating time to all the tasks that I need to do. The most important task is “Finish for the day” and you know what, unless there’s an emergency, I just finish. This means I’m home with the family and being a better husband and father.
If someone asks me to do something then I don’t just add it to a never-ending list, but I allocate the time to get it done. It makes life so much simpler, easier and less stressful. When I look at my schedule there may be times when I just say, “No, I can’t do that.”
I should also say that before anything is added to the list, I’m thinking about whether I’m actually the best person to do the task and whether the task is really worth doing anyway. Likewise, I’m still presented with lots of opportunities but it doesn’t mean I have to do anything with them…..I’m typically polite and say, “No.”
As I’ve written in a number of other posts, I’ve also changed a number of things about my attitudes towards my health. We’ve already been addressing this issue for the past few years but now we are focused on it. I’m regularly exercising and eating healthier.
The result of these lifestyle changes is I feel my mind is much sharper and I physically feel great. I’m still carrying too much weight, but you know what, the trend is downwards so I’m OK with that.
When I look back on it, what I’ve done is put every aspect of my life under a microscope and asking the question, “Am I being deliberate.” There have been a number of outcomes from this major life shift, I’m:
1. Happier and relaxed
3. In a position to help others
This last point is really important for me. I know people in my life that need help but previously I wasn’t in a fit state of mind to do anything about it. Now I can. This brings me a huge amount of joy and allows me to help those I really do care about. Clearly, a lot more transpired while I was away that can be written in a couple of blog posts, but I’ve shared what I thought was appropriate.
I hope you have found the two-articles in this series beneficial as I’ve opened up about my own personal journey of overcoming stress. Some of the things I did were obvious, but rest assured there was a lot behind the scenes that was less so. There is one thing that I know….everyone has issues to some degree so don’t think you’re alone.
If your wrestling with challenges in your life, then I would encourage you to find that special place where you can think about what’s really important in life. Also, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about my own journey.
Have a great weekend,