By Dick O'Brien MASc

(Presentation at networking meetings Happen Inc. Canada)

The first step to healthy living is to take ownership of your life and behaviours.

When we ask "Where does our stress come from?"  The answer is always , ourselves.  The most unhealthy thing you can do is to identify as a victim of other people and your environment.

Your stress is not caused by your work, environment or other people.  It may often seem that way but the truth is that stress is a reaction by you to a perceived threat in your environment.  It originates not in your circumstances but in your thinking.

Change the way you think and you will change your life.  Become less demanding, less perfectionistic, less hurried and more compassionate and you will become less stressful.

Beware the victim mentality!  Life is a struggle and we all carry our burdens in life.  When we start to think of ourselves as victims of everything from the traffic to our families to our work, we will have constant stress and little peace in our lives.

It is essential to understand that the beginning of stress management is to reflect on self management.  Too often we react to and worry about things that will not matter in the long run.  Life is too soon too short! 

"Change what can and should be changed.  Accept what can not be changed.  Cultivate the wisdom to recognize the difference."

We all know that life can be tough going at times.  Pressures can mount up.  When you're in a stressful situation, it is your attitude that determines who will come out the winner.

 As we have noted, stress is a fact of life and a part of life. There is no escaping it. But there is an escape from a negative attitude. That is the way to protect yourself from the risks of stress.  These tips will help you make it through the day -- and the night:

 1.        Set your alarm clock to get up at least 15 minutes earlier in the morning. You will avoid last-minute rushing. You will start the day in a more relaxed and less stressful way.

 2.        Eat breakfast. It should be wholesome but easy to prepare so that you don't waste time in the kitchen. If you want to prepare a fancy omelet, do it on Saturday or Sunday. Do not gulp down your food.

 3.        Have everything written down. All of your most important chores of the day should be listed on a piece of paper. This will take much of the frenzy out of your life.

 4.        Resolve that you will be as honest as you can throughout the day. There must be no little white lies. They will come back to haunt you and hurt you.

 5.        Make certain that you have your daily essentials with you at all times. Check to see that you have your keys, money, personal belongings, driver's license and necessary credit and identification cards. Misplacing an item can cause stress when you suddenly discover that it is missing.

About the author-

R D O'Brien MASc

Voice:  (905) 309-5035

Fax:  (905) 309-5049

E-mail:  dickobrien@cogeco.ca

Dick O'Brien is a therapist, consultant and professional speaker.  He has a Masters degree in counselling from the University of Waterloo and is President of Work-Place Wellness.  He is a regular presenter in the field of wellness and stress management for corporations, government agencies and police departments.