Do This 1 Thing: To Reduce Stress

To Reduce Stress: Set Realistic Expectations

We all tend to have high expectations of ourselves that place pressure on us to be perfect. The tendency to set unrealistic expectations of ourselves can cause significant stress or anxiety. During the holidays, or any change of routine it can be even more difficult to meet our expectations. When we don’t meet the expectations we’ve set we can feel like failures. These feelings can trigger a flood of critical thoughts. So your one thing to do to reduce stress is to learn to set realistic expectations.

In order to reduce stress this holiday season or any time of the year it is important to set realistic expectations. When we lower the bar to an achievable height we are able to meet our expectations. In order to help you set realistic expectations and reduce stress here are a few tips:

Do what is right for you.

When setting expectations for yourself you should get off of Instagram and Facebook. Just turn your phone off completely. Focus on yourself, what you are capable of and what your goals are. Then set your expectations. What is right for some stranger on Instagram may not be right for you. So if your goal is to avoid having a panic attack during the holiday season then that should be your expectation.

Challenge your critical thoughts

When setting realistic expectations for yourself it helps to challenge thoughts of you not being good enough. If your expectation of yourself is to workout 3 times a week during the holidays, then view that as an accomplishment. Do not allow yourself to be self critical because you didn't workout 5 times. Understand that not all situations are the same and so your expectations may be different during the holidays then they are any other time. Challenging these critical thoughts will help you feel accomplished and reduce stress.

It is okay if you don’t live up to your expectations

Many of us have a tendency to catastrophize. This means a small incident or failure is magnified in our eyes. So when we don’t live up to our expectations, our thoughts tend to spiral. We often perceive the consequences of failure as extreme. If you don’t meet your expectations know that tomorrow is another day. You are no less deserving of love because you didn’t live up to your expectations.