People and situations are easy scapegoats to blame for your stress overload, but blaming others rarely solves anything and tends to make you even more stressed. A better option is to take responsibility for your own happiness and find a way to relieve your stress.
All symptoms of stress, including anger, rapid heartbeat, mental shutdown and fatigue are direct responses from dealing with stress. People can be annoying, and situations can be frustrating, but you can choose how to deal with it.
Research has shown that how we perceive situations and people dictates how we respond to stress. You may have a coworker who annoys you every day, a significant other who you believe is driving you insane or children who you sometimes think will be your downfall.
It becomes a game of blaming circumstances or people for things that go wrong in your life. If you’re always thinking that people mess up your life or that your spouse makes your life miserable with his/her annoying habits, you may want to think about how you could respond that wouldn’t cause as much stress in your life.
These blame games you play can result in a type of helplessness that happens when you don’t take responsibility for how your life is progressing – or not. Blaming one person or circumstance won’t help, because another one always appears in its place.
Amazingly, making yourself accountable for negative and stressful situations in your life doesn’t add stress – it helps to relieve it. Accountability can shift the power that stress has over you by giving you back the power to change things and make a difference.
When you find yourself blaming others or situations for your stress, there are some things you can ask yourself to see what you’re feeling more clearly. If you can separate yourself from a stressful situation and ask yourself the real reasons why things aren’t working out, you’ll get a better overall picture of the true situation.
This separation can give you the insight to know how to deal with and rectify the situation or the problem you may have with others’ behaviors. You may not be able to fix things to your liking with this insight, but you may be able to work together with a person or system to make it better.
Chronic stress in your life means that you haven’t addressed the problems with a plan to relieve them. Think about your role in the problems and how you can change yourself or something you’re doing to lessen the repeating and harmful stress.
Some things just can’t be changed. For example, being the caregiver for a loved one creates constant stress. Perhaps you can arrange to take some time for yourself and practice stress relievers such as exercise, a massage once in a while or lunch with a friend.
Recognise when you’re participating in the stress blame game and begin to take accountability. That, alone, will ease some of the stress in your life.
At Citizen Counselling and Coaching a number of our counsellors and coaches can provide support around stress management. This can include identifying the causes and obstacles, creating practical plans and advice and sharing techniques and models that have worked for others.
Our ‘My Stress Coach’ online programme and Coaching was designed for time poor busy people looking to increase their confidence and make a positive change in their lives.
Our Managing Stress page can explain more