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One Easy Step to Stress Less

by Beth on May 7th, 2015

I don’t know about you, but May is an especially hectic month around our house. I feel completely overwhelmed by all the end-of-year activities. So many things are swirling around in my head that I don’t know where to start taking action.

I have to buy plates and napkins for the girls’ tennis team party and burgers for the boys’ tennis team dinner that we are hosting. A birthday present for my daughter’s friend and a dress for her to wear to her brother’s graduation. Oh, and graduation presents for my son and his friends! Any suggestions? I have to remember to pay for our summer beach rental. When was that due? I need to call the plumber to fix the toilet upstairs that won’t stop running. I can’t forget to send the Mother’s Day cards today! Or to make the cookies for Teacher Appreciation Day. The Virginia State Safety Inspection for my car has to be done this month. There’s more, but I’ll spare you.

My poor brain has limited cognitive capacity. I’m afraid yours does, too. That’s why we need to write things down. It is a simple, yet powerful way to gain some control when we feel overwhelmed. Getting things out of our head and on to paper reduces stress. Things seem more manageable when you see them on a list. And you can stop worrying that you will forget to do something.

Life coach Mel Robbins says doing a brain dump is like wringing out a sponge so you can keep using it. It frees up space for you to think more clearly. Writing things down can help you focus on what is important rather than what is urgent. Once you have things on a list, you can start prioritizing. Then you can take action on the most important item, which gives you a sense of progress. A lot of our stress comes from the feeling that we aren’t getting things done. Less important things can be scheduled for later and you might realize there are some things that you don’t even have to do.

Feeling overwhelmed is stressful. Take control by writing everything down. Empty your mind so you can use it. Now pick something important from your list and take action. I promise you will feel better!

For more tips on how to stress less you can read my book: Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being. It comes out in August!

From → Mastery, Well-being

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