One nice thing about retirement is that there’s not a lot of stress. My biggest worry is finding something to write about five days a week and what I’m going to do on my Saturday radio show. All the other things during the week sort of take care of themselves.

But it wasn’t always like that. I, like you, had a full time job and all the stress that goes with it. So here are some things I did to help me deal with some stressful situations.

  • Don’t Assume Everything Is Personal: People are not always kind, courteous or respectful as they should be. Before you fly off the handle because they accosted you for no good reason, stop and consider what might be happening in their lives that you don’t know about.  Retaliation is rarely beneficial to the situation. You might receive an apology a day or two later.
  • Control What You Can — Don’t Lose Control Over What You Can’t: Bad things sometimes happen to good people. There are many things in life that we can’t control. The car breaks down, the kids get sick, you didn’t get the raise, or the big deal fell through. One of the biggest reasons we are not an extinct species is our ability to adapt. In every adversity there is the seed of an equal or greater benefit. Take a deep breath, review the options open to you and make the best decision you can.
  • People You Count On Will Let You Down: If there is one truism in life it’s the fact that sooner or later someone you count on will let you down. It might be a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, close relative or just a friend. Often it’s a simple miscommunication but other times it’s to hurt. Whatever the reason just be the best boyfriend, girlfriend, relative, or spouse that you can be. Don’t go through life expecting it to happen but when it does, understand that we’re all human, and we will all act like humans act.
  • Don’t Worry — Be Happy: Those four words from the Bobby McFerrin song have gotten me through many tough times. I found that things I worried about rarely turned out as badly as I had envisioned. Sadness will always be with us. The loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, all cause us to worry. Sadness, like happiness, is a state of mind. We react positively or negatively to events we experience. The old saying, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” is very true.

Some Final Thoughts

You have more control over your life than you might think. When you sit down at your desk, or make that first sales call, you are in charge of how you will act. Thinking positive puts us in a better position to recognize the tools to improve whatever stressful situation we might find ourselves in.

It also allows our subconscious mind to work on the problem without distraction. Everyone has stressful scenarios in their daily life. I doubt the Dali Lama lives an entirely stress free life. So tomorrow when you look in the mirror before heading out, ask yourself this question, “Am I going to control my life today, or am I going to allow my life to control me?” Only you know the answer.