Stress Management or Self Management? By Robin Trimingham
Is it better to take care of yourself or to control yourself? That is the question I have been pondering this week.
On the surface it would seem that the question is simple enough. After all, it is always better to take care of yourself isn’t it? It seems it depends on the context in which the question is asked. For example – it might easily be agreed that it is wise to take care of your emotional, physical and psychological health, but is it ok to take care of yourself first?
Once again, it depends on the context. Should a mother feed herself before her children? Should you put on your own oxygen mask in an air emergency before assisting others? Should you judge either of these situations without knowing all the facts?
Now let’s think about control. We frequently tell people to control themselves – control your temper, control your drinking, control your appetite. Easy right?
But what are we doing when we issue these commands? Oh right – we are seeking to control the behavior of others when perhaps we might be better off simply controlling our own behavior and making better decisions.
To what extent are we “our brother’s keeper” or our husband’s keeper or our coworker’s keeper and to what extent would we be best advised to simply wish them the best with their struggles and find a way to surround ourselves with people who inspire us and encourage us and appreciate us?
In stress management the most important thing is to stop and assess is the extent to which the stress factor is external – is the stress being caused by someone else who is trying to offload their problems and make them your own? Or are the problems internal – an imagined exaggerated response that you have cooked up on your own because you don’t care for some aspect of your current situation and would rather stress about it than get on with the task of dealing with it?
In either case try managing your response to the situation (because that is the one thing that you truly can control) and See how much of the stress disappears on its own.
There still may well be problems to solve but they will prove to be different than you thought they were and you will be able to see more clearly what to do.
by Robin Trimingham