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One of the most difficult facts about building strong habits is that so much of it lies directly on our shoulders. We have to exercise the willpower to reduce the influence of stress in our lives; we have to make the choices that will help us feel better at the end of the day. However, many of us focus so much on this challenge that we forget that there are other people in our lives willing to help us, if we just let them.
There are many ways that we can allow others to help and encourage us in our efforts. The ultimate responsibility may come down on our shoulders, but that doesn't mean we're islands that have to stand entirely on our own. Families, friends, and oddly enough even entire strangers can be an amazing resource in our efforts to de-stress our lives. Here, we focus on some of the ways we can build a strong support group as we endeavor to kick the stress habit.
Step 1 - Don't Be Embarrassed
There is no shame at all in asking for help with a problem. Houses are built by large teams, cars are designed by groups, and town councils usually have more than one member. A big enough project will benefit from having outside help, so there's no harm in asking for a little of it. After all, wouldn't you feel honored and pleased if your friends came to you for your help and advice?
As you decide who you want to ask for help, take the following habit building step if you feel embarrassed or worried about asking for help. Remind yourself of something you've done to help someone else and recognize that this is no different. Affirm that it's not a weakness to ask for help with something important. Do this every time you need to ask for help, and in time it will be part of the healthy habit of seeking out others' support.
Step 2 - Start Close
Easy steps are the best way to build a new, strong habit. Having to bend and wrack yourself to bring a new element into your life is a surefire way to get discouraged, so it's best to start where you feel comfortable. For the first member of your support group, choose someone you already trust with things you need help with. A friend you're used to talking to or a family member you confide in regularly is a great choice because the connection will feel natural. This will help the habit grow naturally, instead of being forced into your life.
Step 3 - Rely on Experience
Again, there's no sense in making more work for yourself than necessary. The goal is to reduce stress, not increase it! When picking out your stress support team, consider asking for help from someone who has dealt with stress themselves, or may even be dealing with it now. Their insights will give you a fresh angle on things, and you will both be able to share that sense of camaraderie that comes with mutual understanding of a problem.
Step 4 - Keep it Light, and Be Flexible
Remember that your support group isn't your life-instructor. They're friends you've chosen to help you as you deal with your problem, not to deal with it for you. Don't feel you have to talk to them nonstop about everything. Instead, set up a time to talk once or twice a week. This will give you time to build up things to talk about, so the conversations can be more varied and dynamic, but will also be frequent enough not to leave you hanging when needed.
As you speak to your support friends, remember to keep the conversation flexible as well. If you need to talk to them about things that are stressing you and worrying you, do so. Getting it out can help matters, and let you talk through to solutions. On the other hand, sometimes the best therapy is just a friendly conversation about the newest movie or a great book you've both read. Talk about what feels natural, and most relaxing for you, instead of feeling you have to focus on talking points.
Step 5 - Help Your Team Grow
Numbers aren't everything, and bigger may not always be better, but you want your support group to grow beyond an initial one or two people. Different people have different experiences that you can draw upon, and having an assortment of confidantes who can help you out is of greater benefit than relying solely on one person.
Consider adding a new link in your support chain each week for the next two months. Sixty days is the upper limit of a good habit building timeline, so by the time you've gathered these eight helpers around you, you'll be very used to seeking out their advice and the whole process will feel very second nature. And once you've acquired these habits, you will have an even stronger network of friends to form a lifelong safety net against stress.. Good luck, and healthy habits to you.
About the Author:
Larry Tobin is the co-creator of http://www.HabitChanger.com/, offering effective and empowering solutions for losing weight. Try our 42-day weight loss program for Losing Weight.
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