Stress is part of our day to day life, and plays an integral part in our successes and failures. It is a component of self-pride in times of triumph as well as a challenge in times of tribulations. How we manage it differs from person to person and from day to day, but the key factors remain constant irrespective of the nature of the stressor itself.
From my own experience, developing an internal locus of control gives me power to control my own destiny, rather than having external forces determine my fate. I have heard the argument that you have a choice to be happy, depressed or sad, and I agree with it, only if you keep your locus of control. So how do we develop an internal locus of control? I have used these two approaches and they work very well for me. Here’s how,
1. You are always in charge of your situation and not the other way round. Yes, there are difficult times with difficult choices to make, but the power rests in you, even if it means changing your attitude, or sacrificing for the ultimate good.
2. Be as realistic as possible, remember, there is no such thing as “one man’s island”. Get somebody you can confide in, it could be your spouse, your best friend, your pastor or spiritual leader, or your parents. Let it be somebody who has the best of your interest at heart. You can also make a list of possible courses of action, and brainstorm on them, and share with your confidant.
In keeping with the reality of the situation, you may have observed that the language you use matters a lot, and affects the outcome. If your self- talk is generally negative, then the chances of solving the problem are greatly minimized. Therefore I encourage positive self – talk. I have heard situations whereby, my negative self -talk have denied my opportunities of a lifetime. Just like many Americans, I was not spared by the recession. I lost my job, and had nothing to rely on to feed and care for my family. I remember at one point I felt like I had lost all hope. However, my wife stood up for me, and encouraged me pick up after myself and believe, and have faith that God is aware of our situation and will come through for us. But for Him to come through for us, we must face the situation boldly and tackle the difficulty without fear. If we are going down, then we’d rather go down fighting. After a couple of job applications and long wait, God surely showed up, and both my wife and I got jobs. Looking back at that time, if we had chosen to stay down, with the excuse that jobs are hard to find, and the recession is biting deep, then we would have not conquered the mountain.
Remember, you are always in charge of your situation, and be as realistic as possible. My wife is my confidant and because of her, I faced the challenge of the recession and conquered it. Keep a positive attitude at all times; remain optimistic even in the face of failure. A righteous man falls every now and then, but will always rise up to the challenge.