Welcome to the Relieving Stress Today.

These emails are a simple message on a regular basis to help you to de-stress and relieve stress in your life.

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When it comes to stress relief and stress management taking guided action is so important for reducing stress levels. What is guided action? Guided action is when you have clear focus for what you want to do or have in your life and then you take the steps towards that goal.

For example, you really want to be a doctor but you have fears that you’re not clever enough or you’re not good enough for this line of work. So you do nothing and this dream usually stops here. It stops here because you take no more steps to move out of your comfort zone. Taking guided action is making those steps and making the calls to find out what you need to do to achieve your goal.

But why is that stressful you say? What has that got to do with stress management?

It is stressful because although you might forget about what your dream or task is on a conscious level, it will then move to your unconscious or subconscious.

We agree to do so many things and be in so many places at once. And usually we forget to do half of them. But our subconscious and unconscious don’t forget. These thoughts are hiding somewhere within you. And this causes you stress.

Have you ever promised to do something but never got round to it? Have you ever promised to write a book, and this is really your passion, but have never got round to it?

Well these promises are still running around inside your head even if you try to forget them. They are there somewhere.

And what this creates is stress. You feel stressed. You feel you have so much to do.

But the reality is that you don’t really know what you have to do. You don’t know how much you have to do. So you are continually fire fighting – reacting to what comes up in your life rather than planning and acting in the areas which will make you grow.

And the thing is, once you look at what you have to do, and then do it you don’t have to worry about it any more. Usually we worry about things and make things so much worse than they actually are.

The following exercise will take 30 minutes but will reduce your stress considerably.

Step 1: Write all your tasks down

Go to Microsoft Outlook. Go to Tasks. Click on New. Write down all the things you have to do in your life, each in a separate task. Write all the things that you feel you should do. Write down all the things you have said that you would do and promised to others. Write down everything that you would like to do.

Write quickly – it might be slow to start off with but once you get into the flow, all the things you have hidden in your unconscious closet will start to flood out.

Step 2: Look at which tasks are overextending you or you cannot do or you agreed to but have no intention of doing

With these tasks, the tasks that are not feeding you or are just overextending you, make a note to break this contact. For example, say you have agreed to review a book for someone, but you just don’t have time. This task is still in your head and you are wasting energy thinking and worrying about it.

Contact the person who you agreed the task with. Tell them that you can’t do it and the reasons for it, e.g. you are overextending yourself. They might be upset and this might be hard to hear but the amount of stress this will clear in your life will be terrific. And let me tell you it is so worth it. And once you have done this delete the task.

Step 3: Which tasks can you delegate?

Look at your list. What tasks can you ask others to do or to help with? Say you have a big project at work and feel that you need help but are frightened of asking for more help. Ask. Delegate. But always come from a calm and balanced perspective. When you do this people are more likely to react in a similar way.

Step 4: Take action

Once you have cleared away the tasks which are either not important or you don’t have time for you then have a clear list of things to do.

Work out what the most important things are. And do those first.

Watch how you want to do the less important things first. But don’t do that. Do what is most important first and your confidence in your ability grows. You learn how to take guided action.

And your list will change all the time: new things being added, old ones being done. But your stress levels will decrease because you know what you have to do and are not running from them anymore. You will also see that you can truly alter your whole life by focusing on what you want and doing the steps to realising them.

Well, I hope these words will help to spread a little joy into your life.

May you be well,

Piers Cross