Shrug It Off Stress Relief

When my son was in little league, his coach used to yell ‘shrug it off!!!’ when one of the boys goofed up on the field. His meaning was, get it off your mind, don’t let it bother you, focus on what is important now. Don’t let it stress you out so that you can’t catch, hit or run. The coach wanted the kid to dismiss the stress the mistake caused.

Stress relief through dismissal is a technique I am trying to learn.

I used to feel that the actions (or reactions) of those around me were always a result of my own behavior.

When my spouse came home from work, grumpy, and yelled at me, I searched my memory to see what I had done wrong to make him mad. When my co-worker failed to perform, I wondered what I had done to de-motivate her. When my kids misbehaved, I wondered what I had done or failed to do that caused their behavior.

Only lately have I realized what an egotistical attitude that was! Why in the world would I think that I was such a center of the universe as to be able to cause others to do or say certain things?

My stress relief by dismissal technique.

I’m trying hard to shrug off stress caused by things I can’t control by dismissing them as unimportant or unrelated to my domain.

The advice I’m trying out for stress relief is three-fold.

Dismiss the idea that you control the behavior of others.

My expectations won’t necessarily result in others doing what I expect.

I am relinquishing my idea of being in control of other people. They are (usually) not my responsibility. If they don’t behave as I think they should, it isn’t my issue, it is theirs.

For example, growing up, my Dad was always Johnny on the spot to fix things around the house. Mom never even had to ask. When I married, I expected (subconsciously) that my husband would also do so. He never did, never has, and probably never will, yet I still subconsciously expect it. It makes me mad when he ignores household maintenance. I stress and fume about it. I have to remind myself that it isn’t his ‘job’, that I need to shrug off my expectations and my anger and my stress. Instead, I try to envision a world without my spouse around. Would I still expect someone else to come to the rescue and do the task? No, I would take care of it myself, either finding and hiring someone or actually doing it myself.

Dismiss the belief that you caused someone else’s behavior.

The way other people behave or talk is not necessarily a result of my action or inaction.

I am learning to dismiss the actions and reactions of others as usually unimportant and unrelated to me.

If my spouse wakes up grumpy, instead of soul searching to see what I might have done wrong, I shrug and say to myself, ‘he must not have slept well’. Everything is not my fault.

This doesn’t allow or cause me to dismiss my actions and behavior as non-influential however. I acknowledge that what I do is important and can cause a reaction or an action. However, it doesn’t mean that everything others do or say around me is my fault!

Dismiss the attempts of others to hijack your control of your own behavior.

If you constantly monitor those around you and modify your behavior to try to avoid or elicit certain behavior in them, you give control to those others over your behavior.

For example, when your significant other uses anger and yelling to try to get her way, if you give in to that, you are giving away control over your behavior. Just because she gets mad that the toilet paper was put on the roll ‘backwards’ is not necessarily a good reason for you to change your behavior to do it the way she wants. The anger may not even be related to the actual position of the roll, it may have been triggered by something else. Even if it is related, it is better to have an actual conversation about what the best position of the roll on the holder is and agree together to try to put it on that way.

Do you try to shrug off stress? What is your technique?


Shrug It Off Stress Relief — 1 Comment

  1. All so very true. One of my favorite books is the four agreements, and one of the four is “don’t take things personally.” Now we are humans and that’s easier said than done, but we take on a lot of address stress and grief by constantly thinking the behavior of others has something to do with us. Even if it did, for instance, I had a regular commenter just stop recently for no apparent reason, but to them there WAS a reason. But if I just did my best and tried to be a good person, then that’s their reasoning and decision. I need to let it go. Ya know? 🙂

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