Jana is a student of human nature, forever seeking the truth about the complex issues that face relationships, productivity and daily life.
How to Be Less High-Strung
It doesn't really matter if quick arousal to stress is caused by genetics or circumstance, the damage is the same. Too much stress diminishes the quality of life and leads to illness. Alright, the gloomy part is over. Here's the good news. The path to self-care doesn't have to cost anything and can even be enjoyable.
1. Understand the Blame Game
Blame is an insidious little spider. More often than not, it jumps out of nowhere or creeps around in the background. Perhaps you consciously blame yourself in technicolor, or hate yourself for every small mistake but don't even realize it. Blame can also be shot at other people; the driver or person who cuts the line, the co-worker who's rude or lazy.
Blame feels worthy in the moment but serves no purpose. Instead, it persistently brings conflict and unhappiness. Living like this causes frustration and a high-strung view of the world. We all use blame as a crutch sometimes. There's no shame in admitting this. As a matter of fact, it helps to wean the habit. Work on catching the moments when blame takes place, then take a step back and ask yourself what positive replacement you can use instead. For situations that seriously lack any positivity, I've found that acceptance swats the blame spider and also lessens my frustration. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.
2. Identify Your Stress Triggers
Stress has triggers. Some are vaguely anchored in the past but influence the present. These goobers can also be very obvious. The obnoxious boss. A difficult spouse. A chronic illness or financial problems. In order to get a handle on anxiety, one must have a clear list of the things in your life that are triggers and why.
Honestly, why is this even important? Without a list in hand, there's no way to whittle away at all those triggers. Indeed, most problems can be diminished with small tasks that follow each other. For example, something that burdens most people is financial difficulties. Here's how one might identify and manage the steps required to get through it.
- Identify your expenses and debts. These are the main drains sucking away income.
- Don't waste energy on what's been done; focus on the strength of knowing you're turning things around.
- Take a tiny step every day, week or month to reduce expenses.
- Make an effort to get rid of one debt every second or third month; give yourself enough weeks to draw up an easy payment plan.
- Hanging on to the previous thought—the beauty of one less debt, or expense, is that they make the remaining debts and expenses less stressful. For example, after that clothing account is paid for and closed, its installments can go towards killing the next debt.
3. Accept the Truth About Happiness and Perfection
We tend to look at perfection and happiness as destinations. It's wedged right in there between Hawaii and heaven. This view is one of the reasons why stress bubbles in the background like something on a stove. Nobody truly arrives because perfection and happiness aren't destinations. They are moments. The fact that all moments must end is why some people get addicted. They cannot bear the end of good feelings, of respite and escape. This is a natural human reaction but taken too far it can only bring misery.
You can have happiness. You can also have perfection. Just accept their transient nature and that these wonderful moments will come and go. How often they return is also in your power. Happiness and perfection can be found in the simplest things. Deliver your best at work and being alright with the results, even when somebody else was better. Find satisfaction in the activities that you love, like reading, a hobby, or just taking a lazy day without the guilt trip.
4. Exercise for Fun, Not Competition
We all know that exercise is great for our health. But with all the advice out there and our own competitive selves, exercising soon becomes another chore causing stress. We can't find the time or the fat isn't shrinking fast enough. We cannot copy the supple yoga instructor and leave the studio feeling frumpy and dissatisfied. Regardless, getting more active is a power button for high-strung introverts to push when things get too much. For this reason, why not exercise for fun instead of fitness?
Don't worry, it's not as terrible as it sounds. Fitness happens automatically with any prolonged exercise. The idea is to remove the stressful side from a very healthy habit. This means getting rid of any mindsets and behaviors that put pressure on you. For example, stop comparing yourself to others in the class or the fact that after months of trying you still cannot touch your toes. It's not the end of the world. What matters is soothing your mind and body with an engaging activity, whatever it may be for you.
5. Use Distraction
Introverts know how to disappear into books and movies. We can happily live for hours inside another world and even have adventures on different planets. When the book closes or the credits roll, we return to reality. However, chances are that the distraction muted the day's stress. Perhaps you like other things, like handcrafts, art, writing or listening to music. Whatever works for you is fine, but there's one caveat.
As mentioned earlier, try and keep your special distractions as moments with limits. Distractions that require more time, like gambling, drinking alcohol, and online gaming, could take over one's life. Then they're no longer a healthy distraction but another problem. Sustainable activities are the best.
Find Your Feet, Your Own Way
These five tips are just the beginning. There are countless more that can erase the tensions of modern living. All you have to do is find them. As you go through your day, pause whenever something brings you contentment, no matter how brief. Those are the signposts that you need to investigate and integrate into your life.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Jana Louise Smit
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on May 29, 2020:
You're more than welcome Prateek. I'm definitely an introvert and I've had that problem where people think my shyness is selfishness. But I'm happy you read the article and thanks for the great comment. :)
Prateek Jain from Madhya Pradesh, India on May 29, 2020:
This is really wonderful article. You have explained the concept very well. I think sometimes people misunderstood introvert as selfish. But this not true. Thank you for sharing this valuable information with us.
Jana Louise Smit (author) from South Africa on February 29, 2020:
JC, thank you so much. I hope it was helpful. :)
JC Scull on February 20, 2020:
Excellent article. Thoroughly enjoyed it,