Creating a new paradigm in life is difficult. We are trapped and stuck in the routine mud of life. Many people are held back by beliefs and values that may no longer fit their life style. Others may be unhappy and incapable of change. Stress will continue to eat at the soul of individuals who are unable to change. Grief, depression, stress, anxiety and unfulfilled ideals will force a person to a early grave. It is imperative, if unhappy and overly stressed, to find one’s values for a better life and incorporate positive changes.
Any first step to change is a commitment to that change. It involves writing down one’s values and beliefs and creating a true mission statement of one’s life and where they wish to go in life. Sometimes to better understand oneself, one can meditate upon what others would say about oneself. A co-worker and what they think of your work ethic, your strengths and weaknesses, as well as family and friends. What do you think your image is outside your own sometimes biased self? What is your diet, your exercise habits, your strengths, weaknesses and overall values?
Understanding this is critical in applying the needed changes to one’s life and reducing stress. One needs to work on this change, find obstacles and stressors to it and implement better coping strategies and plans to become what your goal may be. One should choose one thing at a time in this process. Choose one weakness or vice, or stressor and work on it.
J. B. Cunningham in his “The Stress Management Sourcebook” looks at ways to free oneself from the mud of life and overcome stress. He lists 8 primary principles to create a new paradigm and find better meaning in life and reduce stress.
The first principle is “changing the dragon within you”. Cunningham alludes to first developing a positive spin on things. A positive disposition that replaces negative values. This new way of outlook is critical the creation of a new paradigm. It returns to the old adage of making lemon aide when life gives one lemons.
The second principle is controlling your organization. Whether the job is menial or meaningful, find deeper meaning within an organization. While this is more difficult with some jobs and may require new career moves, it still can be utilized temporarily. Look to learn new things, promote goals within oneself and reach those goals. This can be applied to a job, or merely everyday life at home. Home, school or work can apply.
Third, Cunningham addresses the importance of establishing winning relationships. Relationships and how we deal with other people are key elements in what our life is will be like. It is critical to avoid negative relationships and reduce the toxicity they produce in one’s life. It is important to find better support systems as well as be able to communicate and share life’s successes and failures.
The fourth principle is enriching one’s job, career, or schooling. Learning and gaining experience is a valuable thing no matter the situation.
The fifth principle is controlling one’s life’s trials and tribulations. One can fall and not get up or learn from past failures. Avoiding failures and not learning from them can keep one in a pit of despair and loss. One must be able to cope better with stress and deal with the issues at hand.
Principle six deals with our diet. Diet is a key factor in stress and health. Better diets and eating habits can prevent stress and help the body become more immune to disease and illness. Fats, salts, and sugars can destroy the body over time. Combined with stress, they can tear the body down. It is critical to find time to create a better diet and a better healthy paradigm to reduce stress and be more healthy.
Principle seven deals with another part of healthy life style and that is exercise. Exercise can reduce stress. However, it is important to not create routines that one cannot keep. It is also important not to create regiments that are unhealthy on the body. Some individuals cannot endure heavy exercise while others can. So the proper exercise for the particular person is critical for their own health and stress reduction. Like diets, exercise can quickly fade when one attempts to do too much.
The final principle is interior health and deals with spirituality and meditation. Meditation and prayer is important to overcoming stress. It allows the mind to reset and opens one up to higher truths beyond the stress filled temporal ones. Meditation not only clears the mind but also pushes one towards higher values that help make the everyday life have meaning. One can also apply other alternative techniques such as self hypnosis or other spiritual methods to better understand oneself. This is all critical in stress management.
Ultimately, reducing stress and creating a new paradigm involves one taking an active and direct part in changing one’s life. It allows one to play an important part in one’s future. The reduction of stress is dependent upon one’s willingness to overcome the fear of change and the anxiety that goes with it.
If you would like to learn more about Stress Management or would like to become certified as a Stress Management Consultant, then please review the program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals. The Stress Management Consulting Program is independent study and online. After completing the core courses, qualified professionals can apply for the four year certification.