One Incredible Way to Reduce Stress
A Lesson You Can Implement Right Now
I have wanted to be an entrepreneur for years. I used to spend time daydreaming ideas of what kind of business I could have. In my dreams I’d have a flourishing business that would provide me all the money I could want or need. I’d set my own schedule. I’d own a second home at the ocean. I’d travel whenever and wherever I wanted. I could see myself absolutely in love with my life and living this dream.
But actually being an entrepreneur is definitely a different animal than being an employee. It typically doesn’t happen overnight and nothing falls in your lap like it did when a boss would dictate your hours, tasks, raises, bonuses, dress code, time line and the whole nine yards. It requires a new way to look at things as well as going about things in a different way. It requires opening yourself to showing your most hidden thoughts so that people can see that you are a real person with the same struggles that they have.
During 2017, I began to have a little anxiety about the fact that my business wasn’t replacing my 9–5 income as fast as I wanted it to. I passed the one year mark and started on my second year of this journey. I began to feel anxious about how quickly my resources were dwindling. I began to question whether or not I should sell my house. If I did, what would that mean for me? Where would I live? How could I live? Would I move to a different state? What about my pets?
You see, I bought my home in 2008 as a first time homebuyer. It was probably the worst year in history to purchase a home (homebuyer credit was not a credit it was a loan). But I gave in to peer pressure and took the leap. When I say I gave in to peer pressure, that is exactly what it was because buying a home was never my priority. I liked living where I could call the landlord and say that the roof was leaking. I liked having that safety net. All of my peers were like: “Why are you living there?”, “You should buy a house!” or “It is a good investment.” So, I gave in and bought a house.
And then I fell in love with my house. Now, I’m super grateful I bought it for several reasons. There is this giant oak tree right in the middle of my back yard, and every time I look at it, I feel like it is sheltering me. Then there is my living room that is decorated in a beachy theme that makes me feel close to a place I love.
A couple years after I made the purchase, I refinanced it to a 15 year mortgage to bring my payments more in line with my income at the time. Now; however, the mortgage payment is way out of alignment with my income.
So, I began to question whether or not I should keep the house. But I reminded myself that I love this house. It is my safe place. It is my haven from the world outside. My two fur babies are here. They love this house.
As I was going through this anxious period, I cried. I stressed. I envisioned going back to a 9–5, but the thought just made me sick. Then, I began to evaluate what I could do to help me feel more relaxed about the situation. I laid out all my options. I could sell the house and live off the proceeds. But the likelihood of me finding less expensive rental property was nil with two cats. My next option was to sell and buy a cheap property in a different part of my state, one that is not as expensive as the capital city. I could sell and move in with my mom, which really wasn’t an option as she doesn’t like cats. Or, I could relax and lean into it.
I chose to look for ways to relax and lean into the stress. I asked myself how I could choose to experience this from a place that was positive and affirming for me. I chose to clean my house. That may sound strange to you, but I love my house when it is freshly cleaned. It is my favorite time. I love to just sit back and relax knowing that everything is in order around me and there are no “messes” needing attention. Cleaning was my way of reaffirming to myself AND to the house itself that I love and appreciate it. It was my way of lovingly showing gratitude to the place I have made my home for 9 years. As I went through the process of cleaning my house, I began to realize that I didn’t want to sell. Not in my heart of hearts. I also began to realize that, even though that mortgage payment is way out of line for my current income, I do have resources to pay it.
At that point some additional gratitude flowed in reminding me that I am blessed. I have made good choices in the past that have allowed me to pursue my dreams. As I contemplated that, I felt an immense gratitude for the money I had saved over the years. Then I began to realize that I was no longer anxious. I love my house and I am keeping it.
This same concept has worked for me in so many ways over the past two years, including when things have gotten crazy at my part-time job and I just wanted to quit, or when people have disappointed me and I felt all alone. I was able to shift those feelings by using gratitude too.
Gratitude is a driving force that shifts you, your perspective and those around you in ways you can’t anticipate.
This is one of my biggest lessons for the year. When things get crazy; focus on gratitude. When people disappoint you; focus on gratitude. When there is a financial worry; focus on gratitude.
As you contemplate your year and get ready for the new one, ask yourself where you are feeling anxious. Then look around to see what you can be grateful for. Then show that person or thing gratitude and love. Shower it with attention that you know will give the honor and respect that it or they deserve.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you found gratitude changing how you feel about stressors? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Sherry Parks is a Wellness Coach who helps career women escape feeling trapped and out of control in their work life, so that they are happy on their own terms and have joy and excitement for their life. Grab her Free PDF, Top Tips for Successful Food Cleansing, here.
To connect with Sherry, join her women-only Facebook group Lives in Balance.