How to Reduce Stress & Keep Balance in Your Life by Warding Off the Things You Hate to Do
* Are you stressed out right now about doing something you hate to do?
* Does your life feel off balance?
* Are you using procrastination as a defense mechanism?
A former professor of mine told me that if you have something unpleasant to do, don't put it off – it will only get worse. Many of us have "to do" lists that we create for ourselves on any particular day. It is not uncommon for this list to consist of ten or more items.
Some of us even prioritize the list either in their order of importance, or in the logistical order in which they would get checked off most efficiently. Rarely are we brave enough to put the unpleasant tasks first.
Upon further reflection, why should anyone begin one's day with something unpleasant? Why not first do something you like, and then do the dirty work? This way you already have something positive under your belt for the day.
The First Way to Ward Off the Things You Hate to Do
The concept of first doing something nice is well-documented. Some refer to it as a "spiritual reservoir". This means that every day you build up your spiritual bank account with "feel-good" types of things like giving charity, volunteering, going out of your way to do a favor for a stranger, getting your endorphin levels up by exercising or by just enjoying a good book.
Each time you do anything that either promotes a good feeling inside you or builds up your confidence in some way, it gets added to your account. As these kinds of points build up on the positive side of the ledger, over time it can accumulate to quite an impressive number.
Now imagine you are having a bad day, or better yet, you know in advance that you will be facing a tougher day than usual. As long as you know you have a positive balance in your "well-being" account, you simply withdraw a certain point value that you ascribe to the challenge you will be facing, and at the end of the day you still remain with a positive balance on your ledger.
For example, let's say you did 25 acts of kindness in the last week and you determined that you now have 100 points in your bank account. You have a crucial presentation to make in a couple of days and you are getting very nervous. It is taking something out of you, but it is hard to quantify. Tell yourself that the presentation is not the end of the world, and that this nervous energy is worth 30 points. In your overall perspective, it will cost you 30, but you still have 70 left in the bank.
Initial feelings of despair and disproportion suddenly fall away. When you see your account getting low, then you know you need to build it up once again. You can understand that if you allow the "state" of your account to go into overdraft, you are starting out from a point of distress and any additional challenges that come along your way will only add to that minus. Think about this reservoir as a protective seal that coats you with a thick layer of positive energy whenever you need it. The account is open 24 hours a day and deposits and withdrawals can be made accordingly.
Another Way to Reduce Stress and Keep Your Life in Balance by Getting the Things You Hate to Do Finished
Another tool that is effective in warding off the things you hate to do is called the "sandwich technique". For example: You are a boss and have to tell one of your employees that he hasn't been doing a good job lately.
Step 1: Start out with a compliment. The employee walks into your office and you ask him to sit down. Saying something nice will allow the employee to relax and be more open to the message you really want to deliver.
Step 2: Gently say what you have to say without destroying the person's self-worth.
Step 3: Close the sandwich by giving him another compliment or a word of encouragement. The two compliments will go to the positive side of the employee's ledger, which will then hopefully help him cope better with the criticism he just had to absorb.
Deposits containing faith, hope, courage, healing, inspiration and vitality can be made into your own account and likewise into other people's accounts. Proper maintenance of your spiritual bank account with all its checks and balances is highly recommended. You will get the things you hate to do done – and you will do it with less stress.
Have a question for Dr. Bernie or want to leave a comment?