Here is a suggestion that might seem a little counterintuitive, but it’s pretty fantastic advice.
There are times in life when we feel the stress – whether it’s everyday stress because of hectic schedules, etc., or because of job changes, life changes, or even changes in our health.
Stress can make us feel overwhelmed and out of control, and it can even feed on itself, making it worse!
Ready for the advice?
One of the best things you can do when you’re stressed is to set a goal.
Having a goal narrows down your focus and helps give you a sense of purpose. Both of those factors can cut back on your stress.
The credit for this nugget is to Dr. Ann Webster, a health psychologist quoted in the Harvard Health Letter.
“When people set goals for themselves, they have a positive sense of commitment, feel they’re in control and are optimistic,” says Dr. Webster.
One of the things people like about having specific goals is that they help block out distractions.
For instance, if they are working toward three strength workouts a week this month, that means they’ve got to put them in their calendar. And that might mean they let go of a commitment that isn’t so important to their goal.
Dr. Webster thinks it’s a good idea to have goals for your health, career, relationships, creativity, and even recreation/fun.
That’s a lot of goals to work toward at the same time, so you might want to mix and match to suit your time and interests. Other people are a fan of having just 1-2 goals at the same time.
That being said, if you’re in the middle of a busy season at work, it might not be the best time to decide to go full steam ahead into training for a marathon. But it might be the perfect time to lay a more substantial cardio fitness base so that when your schedule DOES ease up, you are ready to tackle the training.
Having that strong sense of purpose will pull you through your stressful time and make it seem a lot less daunting.
Here’s another example…
Let’s say you have a goal of preparing your meals ahead of time this month. You do this because you want to eat healthier, lose a little weight, and save a little money.
When you focus on getting this done, you’ll be amazed at how much space this frees up in your life!
You’ll save time, eliminate the daily “what’s for dinner?” question, and also spend a LOT less time and money at the grocery store. It’s amazing how much mental space you can clear when your meals are already prepared!
And if you’re going through an extra tough time right now, consider setting an inspiring goal because it can be incredibly energizing and help you take your focus off some of the other things going on.
Some people train to hike mountains, do triathlons, and more after losing a loved one or going through a divorce.
You can set meaningful goals, and you can create a step-by-step plan to achieve them!