Stressed? Author and speaker Denis Waitley shares three guidelines to transform negative anxiety into positive success. Follow these rules and take action now to let go of your stress.
Related: 11 Strategies for Managing Stress
1. Accept the unchangeable.
Everything that has happened in your life to this minute is unchangeable. It’s history. The greatest waste of energy is looking back at missed opportunities and lamenting past events.
Grudge collecting, getting even, harboring ill will and vengeful thinking do no good. Success is the only acceptable form of revenge.
By forgiving your trespassers—whoever or whatever they are—you become free to concentrate on going forward with your life and succeeding in spite of those detractors. You will live a rewarding and fulfilling life. Your enemies, on the other hand, will forever wonder how you went on to become so successful without them and in the shadow of their doubts.
Action idea: Write down on a sheet of paper things that happened in the past that bother you. Now crumple the paper into a ball and throw it. Really. This symbolizes letting go of past misfortunes.
2. Change the changeable.
Change your reaction to what others say and do, and you can control your own thoughts and actions by dwelling on desired results instead of the penalties of failure.
The only real control you have in life is your immediate thought and action, and because most of what we do is a reflex—a subconscious habit—it’s wise not to act on emotional impulse. In personal relations, it is better to wait a moment until reason has the opportunity to compete with your emotions.
The only real control you have in life is your immediate thought and action.
Action idea: Write down one thing you will do tomorrow to help you relax more during and after a stressful day.
3. Avoid the unacceptable.
Go out of your way to get out of the way of intolerable or perilous behaviors and environments.
Take these examples: When people tailgate you on the freeway, change lanes. When there are loud, obnoxious people next to you at a restaurant, change tables or move locations. When someone is being a Debbie Downer, complaining about this and that, excuse yourself and walk away.
Always be on the alert for negative situations that can be dangerous to your health, personal safety, financial speculation and emotional relationships.
Action idea: What is one unacceptable habit you or others have that you will avoid starting tomorrow?
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.