Things around us are always changing. Think about your job and the number of changes that have happened in the last 3 months. How about the stores that you like to shop at or the restaurants that you enjoy eating at. Even the roads that we drive on are changing. I’ve hit a few huge potholes lately! In all these areas, things are either changing for the better or the worse. Things are either deteriorating or being improved.
One area that is in constant change is the people around us and relationships we have. People are constantly changing, lets face it we are emotional beings and so there are lots of ups and downs for all of us. People are complicated and difficult, and yet we need people and relationships in our lives in order to thrive.
So when it comes to all this change around us how do you not get totally stressed out and just give up.
I’d like to give you five simple principles that can help you navigate the changes going on in your life or to help create positive changes in your life.
- Control the Controllable – Most of things around us, and all of the people around us are out of our control. If we do try to control the things or people around us we add additional stress to everyone’s lives. This principle brings the focus back to us and what we need to do, and what we can control. We can control what we say; what we do; what we focus on; who we listen to; what we study; what we learn; what boundaries we set; what we spend and where we spend it. We control what and when we eat, how much sleep we get and the amount of exercise we get. The choices and decisions we make are within our control. What other people say or do is out of our control, but we are in control of how we respond.
- Monitor the Conversations in Your Head – We talk to ourselves more than anyone else. Those conversations are what I like to call narratives or stories that get replayed over and over again. Our internal conversations come from past experiences, things we have learned or picked up along the the way. For many people those conversations or stories are not as positive as they should be. Those conversations with ourselves lead to decisions, choices, words spoken and outward behavior whether good or bad. So start being more aware of what you are telling yourself. Start to question if it’s really true, maybe you are believing a lie or deceiving yourself. Maybe you need to start a new story.
- Ask Questions & Ask for Help – If you don’t understand something or someone it’s always a good practice to ask questions with the intent of wanting to understand. What goes right along with this is to listen well. When you ask good questions and then listen intently you can avoid a lot of misunderstandings and mistakes. A great practice is to repeat back to the person what you heard them say. Ask clarifying questions if you need to. Fear keeps us from asking questions or asking for help. When you are struggling in any area of life it is wise to ask for help. There are other people that have gone through what you are going through or have helped others with similar things. So ask honest, sincere questions to help you fully understand what the other person is saying or asking you to do. Also ask for help if you don’t know how to do something or you are stuck in an area of your life.
- Keep Growing – The books you read and the people you meet will determine the kind of life you will have. The people that are constantly growing, learning and interacting with other people have the most influence in this world. Put a plan together of what books you want to read and the people you want to meet or reconnect with. Make sure you are growing intellectually, relationally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- Make Your Faith a Priority – The one thing that I believes helps us the most when it comes to handling change is faith. The Christian faith has been what has guided me for most of my life. Learning from Jesus Christ has been the biggest help in making good decisions, handling stress and change, and dealing with all the relationships in my life. Make growing in your faith a high priority and many of these other things will fall into place.
Doing these five things will bring your stress level down, improve your work and relationships and bring more contentment and joy to your life. Life will never be perfect, but it can be better.