I was talking to my colleague, Sarah recently about an article we’re writing for a glossy magazine. It’s for January, so of course we started talking about News Year’s Resolutions and inevitably the conversation steered itself towards stress management techniques.
Well as you know, I don’t do stress management: in fact even the very term raises my hackles. Stress can’t be managed.
Stress is a signal from our system to tell us we’re not living our life in a way that makes us happy, that we need to stand back, have a look at our life and make changes. These changes might be in thinking patterns, behaviour or lifestyle.
If you try to manage stress, by definition it’s still there and because you can’t manage it, it always gets worse.
Sarah asked me what I advise if my clients ask me for some stress management techniques. My rather glib answer was to look after themselves properly. I was reflecting on this overnight, wondering if I was being pedantic. After all, everybody else talks about stress management. I’m even a member of the stress management association.
Summary of changes
Then I remembered this morning that years ago I wrote a summary of the types of changes my clients make when they are empowered to go to sort their lives out. Looking through the huge list, I realised that there are some that are pretty generic and apply to all of us.
So I have re-written them as 10 Rules for Life. Living your life according to these Rules will definitely help you beat, rather than manage, your stress and therefore live a happier, healthier life.