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Reducing Stress and Anxiety - Getting Your Self-Image in Perspective

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Each one of us has a self-image, a 'program', if you like, that determines how we behave.
Life is full of stresses and strains, and often we can bring about stressful conditions and anxiety attacks for ourselves by expecting too much from our own actions and behaviour.
The pressures we place on ourselves can warp our perception of our circumstances, and this altered view of 'reality' can affect our decision-making capability.
If you feel yourself becoming anxious or stressed about a certain situation, like making a decision, it can be very useful to work through some techniques to put everything back into perspective.
If you feel as if a situation isn't going how you would like, and your anxiety levels are rising, ask yourself: 'Is it REALLY that important? Does it REALLY matter if it doesn't go the way I want?' A lot of the time you ask this question, you'll find the answer will be 'No' - and it's this renewed perspective that can reduce your stress levels.
Why worry or get worked up about something that really doesn't matter? We have to learn to accept the things we can't change, and sometimes this involves making changes to our self-image, the 'ruler' that we measure ourselves against.
If the way you see yourself acting suggests that you are rigid and inflexible, then that makes it more difficult for you to cope with all the random things that life tends to throw your way.
The standards that we expect from ourselves can put us under enormous strain - and it's possible also, that we have imagined those standards, based on what we think others expect from us.
All too often, this is not the case.
We worry too much about what others 'think' about us; I've heard it said that you'd be surprised how little people DO actually think of you, in terms of time.
In his book 'Psycho-Cybernetics', Dr Maxwell Maltz suggests that the term 'self-conscious' should be considered as 'others-conscious', meaning that we're often preoccupied with what we BELIEVE others to be thinking about us, and holding ourselves up to what we perceive as their standards; this can result in undue pressure and stress.
I personally feel that the best measure of how we are doing is to ask yourself if you feel you've done the best you can do, given the skills and information you have at the time.
If you can answer 'Yes', then you should be content.
Sometimes there ARE circumstances that are beyond our control or abilities, but you shouldn't see that as an opportunity to put yourself down.
If you slip up, just allow yourself to have the capability to learn from the situation.
Being patient with yourself, and keeping things in perspective, will enable you to feel more in control, and reduce the levels of stress and anxiety in your life.
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