Have you created unreasonable “rules”?
I can never miss work.
I should be able to do everything myself.
I have to answer emails immediately.
I can never disappoint anyone.
I can never say “no.”
These are common self-imposed rules that can benefit from being reframed. There are times when it is not reasonable to follow such rules you’ve imposed for yourself. Doing so will skyrocket your stress and leave you feeling drained. Having more reasonable expectations of yourself- and others- will leave you less vulnerable to stress. When you are less vulnerable to stress, you are a happier person.
Let’s take an example of reframing one of the above rules: I should be able to do everything myself. Changing this to “I should work hard, but ask for help when it is necessary” gives you the ability to take charge, say when enough is enough, and ask for help. Reframing these rules could lead to hiring a babysitter for a few hours or dropping your laundry off one week instead of doing it yourself. Maybe you order meals for your family for one week or ask a friend for assistance by cooking extra for your family too, and you will return the favor the following week. Now, you have reduced stress, still accomplished what you needed to accomplish during the week, and avoided a breakdown.
There are no awards given to those that refuse to ask for help. No badge of honor for cooking all of your meals from scratch, or never needing help with your kids. Stress will take a severe toll on your well-being if left unmanaged.
Think of the particular set of rules you have for yourself. Could you reframe any of these rules to decrease your stress level?