I recently saw a T-shirt with the words, “Become the Change You Want. ” I find myself going back to those words over and over again. The words are taken from those spoken by the world's role model for change, Mahatma Ghandi, who led the successful change to independence for India. He advised his followers to “become the change you want to see in the world. ” Those words ring just as true today.
One of the most stressful situations we create for ourselves at home and at work is that we want changes from others and become frustrated when those changes don't take place. We want our bosses, our children, our spouses and our friends to change. We want our looks to change, our health to change.
What if we become the ones to change first? Here are a few new ways to become our own agents of change to transform, empower and enlighten your path to a less stressful lifestyle.
Become the Change You Want with Your Spouse: Become Your Spouse's Role Model. Instead of expecting your spouse to be more forgiving, become more forgiving yourself. Your actions will inspire your spouse. Make the Word Flexibility Your Mantra. When things don't go according to plan, tell yourself (repeatedly): ‘I will be more flexible. ’ It works! Change Your Own Mind. Instead of trying to change a spouse's mind about where to go, what to do or how to get things done, ask the question of yourself first, but from your spouse's point of view. You might discover you will have already changed your mind before you ask the question.
Become the Change You Want with Your Child: Change Your Age. Imagine yourself at your child's age. Instead of always making demands from a parent's point of view, first consult your inner child. Can you explain your demands in a new light? Can you incorporate new understanding and empathy in your relationship? Listen. Don't let your role as a caretaker overwhelm your time and ability to listen to your child. Make the decision to schedule time every day to just listen. Confess. Take time off from the stress of trying to be a perfect parent, and confess to your child that you make mistakes. You will teach your child that it's okay to admit to mistakes and learn from them.
Become the Change You Want at Work: Organize. Poor organization skills will only add to workplace frustration and drain your productivity. Begin your next day at work by coming in 15 minutes early to organize your desk, throw out old files, make a “to do” list and add an extra touch of cheer - a new picture, a fresh flower, or just a happy note addressed to yourself. Empathize. If you can't get your boss to understand what you want, change your viewpoint. View your needs from your supervisor's standpoint. If you are the boss, look at your demands from your employee's viewpoint. Empathy can go a long way toward boosting productivity and eliminating workplace stress. Take Action. If you want better working conditions or a change of schedules, ask. Prepare your arguments, rehearse and refine them, then ask. The worst that can happen is that you will be told no. If you really dislike your job, take action to schedule 30 minutes at home every evening to network with peers and start looking for that better job.
Become the Change You Want with a Parent: Become Your Own Best Child. Change your behavior with your parents by becoming the kind of child you want to have. Be loving. Be supportive. Be understanding. Your parent might take a cue from you and start acting like the parent they always wanted. Become Patient. Parents know to be patient with their children, but they don't always practice patience with their own parents. Take a deep breath, and patiently listen when your parent makes a request. It's a little courtesy a parent just might return to you. Strive for Sympathy. Instead of just saying no, or I can't get to that today, take an extra minute to explain why your schedule won't allow you to accommodate a request, and follow-up with a gentle expression of regret. Your parent is more likely to become sympathetic to your needs.
Become the Change You Want with Your Health: Become Your New Best Friend. Don't you want the best in life for your best friend? Encourage yourself to get the best things in life by starting with the most important, your good health. Encourage yourself every day! Change Your Self-Image. If you are overweight, tell yourself, ‘I am not an overweight person, ’ before starting a new diet or exercise plan. I want you to think, “I want to be healthy. " Play. Exercise doesn't have to be a chore. Instead of getting up to do jumping jacks every morning in your living room, dance and leap for joy from room to room. Buy a colorful jump rope. Laugh at yourself. Enjoy yourself. Play! Exercise, honestly, can be a fun way to get healthy.
Ruth Klein, America's De-Stress Diva ™ and owner of the award-winning firm, The Marketing/Time Source, is an AOL Coach, acclaimed host of Ruth Klein's Time Secrets Radio Show and host of the upcoming PBS Special, “Time Management Secrets. ” She is author of the best-selling Time Management Secrets for Working Women, The Everything Guide to Being a Sales Rep, De-Stress Diva ™ in the Kitchen and other books. She holds a master's degree in clinical psychology.