Resentment: How Holding a Grudge Affects Your Stress Level

“Hanging onto resentment is letting someone you despise live rent-free in your head”- Ann Landers

Resentments block any possibility for peace and happiness. If you have ever felt betrayed, cheated, or that an injustice has been done to you, holding a grudge might be part of your experience. Resentments are like broken records, where your mind plays out the same scenario repeatedly. Each time the grudge match replays in your head, you revisit the anger and other feeling associated with the wrongdoing.  In fact, the more you repeat the scenario in your head, the deeper the bitterness, resentment and pain wedge into your mind and body. And reliving anger evokes the stress response in our bodies-racing heart, spike in your blood pressure, shallow breathing and even muscular tension.

Resentments harm us in every way-physically, emotionally and mentally. Holding grudges truly hurts you. Grudges are smoldering embers that when you poke the fire a bit the flame heightens, just like your anger. Let’s explore ways to reduce stress when experiencing resentment.

Empower Yourself.  The first step in releasing resentment is to recognize your anger.  Whether the injustice is fresh or old, it’s easy to fall into the victim or somebody did you wrong mode. Journaling is a great way to explore resentments. Remember, you are in charge of what you think, say and do. Make a choice not to live in victim mentality. Of course, seek outside counseling for the anger is overwhelming.

Take responsibility for your emotional wellbeing. Once you have recognized your feelings, begin to explore what skills you can polish to better deal with anger.  Assertiveness training can help to improve communication skills.  Focus that old resentment energy on ways to heal the situation for your own wellbeing.

Forgiveness is an inside job. We only have control over right here, right now. Life is far too short to allow grudges to kill happiness.  Forgiveness frees your mind, releasing stress from your body. Imagine what you can do now that resentment isn’t living rent-free in your head. This process frees us from taking the situation personally, since you have taken stock in your own emotional wellbeing. Forgiveness may not be an easy feat and may take some time to complete.

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Prioritize Now: Four Ways to Focus and Get More Things Done

Many years ago, I had to complete student work assignments for my occupational therapy degree. Students were rated on their performance, including the area of productivity skills. One area checked on my evaluation was learning to prioritize better. I asked for a specific example and the supervisor told me,”Oh, that will come with age.” I scratched my head and wondered whatever did she mean? Practicing occupational therapy at a student level was stressful stuff. It was one thing studying treatment techniques from a book. But actually working with a patient was a different story.

Prioritizing projects and tasks can seem impossible when under high stress.  Figuring out how to organize tasks, projects or responsibilities can become overwhelming, when everything seems like a crisis. Organizing what to do first can seem impossible if everything looks important.

Prioritization is necessary to sort through lists and get things done. If you choose tasks of less importance to complete first, it is easy to misjudge time needed for a specific project. Here are four ways to focus and get more things done:

Get Clear on Your Values. When several tasks are on your to do list, it is essential to know what matters most to you. Values will determine your next step or help you say no to prevent taking on too much. Getting clear on your values can help prevent over-obligating your precious time.

Look at Your Expectations. Deadlines are enough pressure without high expectations pushing you over the edge.  Expecting the perfect performance can put incredible pressure on you. We are humans not machines.  Expectations can also get distorted when deciding how much to complete in one day. Do your best but remember not to judge your performance if you fall short of finishing your list.

Write It Down. There are several ways to sort through prioritizing projects or tasks. There are a variety of worksheets to help you figure out what tasks are urgent or not to pressing to finish. One of my favorite ways to organize tasks is using sticky notes. I first write the project on a big sticky note. I then use smaller sticky notes to organize the project. This system is so helpful since I am getting my ideas onto paper and then can move the notes around to clearly see my next step. This technique is really helpful when you have several projects happening at once.

Share The Work. After you have written down your plan, evaluate what parts can be done by others. Ask if tasks can be outsourced to other people, such as virtual assistants or other free-lance help. Can other office mates, friends or family members pitch in to get the job finished? Remember, you don’t have to do the project by yourself.


https://unlockyourinnerpotential.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/fanpage1-e1324684839265.jpgFor over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

Self Talk: How to Be Your Own Best Friend

be your own best friend, self esteem, self love, self care“Each time you judge yourself you break your own heart”  Bapuji

A friend is someone who is there for you during times of celebration as well as in times of need. You trust and expect that they will say the very thing that will help you when you are feeling down. You learn to count of the comfort of their words. What happens when it comes to being our own best friend?

Recently, a close friend berated herself when she made a mistake during a stressful situation. “I am so stupid. I can’t believe I did something as dumb as that.” I asked her why she was so rough on herself for such a small issue. “It’s easier if I get to me first,” she said.  I felt sad and said “Would you treat your best friend like that?” She looked at me puzzled. “Well, no I’d never say those things to someone else.”

What are the qualities of your closest pal?  Maybe your buddy is always there for you, lifting your spirits when needed. Your friend might keep you grounded and real by being honest with you. Maybe they will cheer you up and root for you during tough times. They always have your back, supporting and celebrating how wonderful you are as a person.  Your friend doesn’t let you wallow long in self-pity. Each quality you see in your best friend is how we can strive to love ourselves every day.  Imagine what it would be like to forgive ourselves and noticing the little triumphs during the day. We can start being our best friend right now.

Words are very powerful; speech can be destructive or be an ally during stressful times. Try to insert the following statements into your day: “I can do it”

“I can succeed again”

“I can be good at ___”

The main point is that say the statements with emotion. Believe in yourself as much as your own best friend.

Fear: Does it Fuel or Freeze You?

fear, paralyzed with fear, fearful, stress and fear, courage
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do”.- Eleanor Roosevelt

Several years back my mother fell, sustaining a neck fracture. I drove as fast as I could to the next state to be by her side at the hospital. A miracle happened when mom survived the fall. Due to other medical complications, mom had to make a choice about having a feeding tube to sustain her nutrition.   She made a choice to fight for her life. The moment she chose to have the feeding tube inserted, mom fought by stepping into her fear.  Her fear was never being independent again.

“I’m scared, Lisa”, mom said. I watched her lie in bed, with a halo attached to her skull so she wouldn’t move her neck. I held her hand, praying for her healing.  Her rehabilitation was difficult but she fought with great determination to return to independent living at home. And she accomplished her goal.

c I shared this experience about my mom to show what incredible perseverance one person could possess to achieve what seemed to be an impossible goal.  Maybe my story has reminded you of someone you know, or even yourself.

Fear elicits the fight or flight response -rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, muscular tension and other responses to chemical changes in your body. The fear reaction is needed for self-preservation when your life is at risk. But when does fear become a hindrance in your life?

Fear can freeze and block you from dealing with everyday activities.  Fear can allow us give away our power in situations, believing that you have no choice but to remain right where you stand.  But that’s the deception of fear. Reaching out for support can help transcend you through a space where it seems impossible to move.  Support from others can help you to step though so that you seen life in a completely different way.  I choose to have coaches and mentors in my life to help me transcend the fear that binds me.

Mom did not heal without a team of people supporting her.

There might be something you know in your heart that you want to accomplish but fear is blocking your path.  The more time that a fear remained untouched, the stronger it will grow. Your perception about the fearful situation can become distorted. Have you ever believed that your situation was impossible to bust through?

You don’t have to remain stuck. Make a decision to stop feeding the fear that keeps you bound up. Pick one thing you have been afraid to take action on that has created stress in your life. Your freedom awaits you.


https://unlockyourinnerpotential.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/fanpage1-e1324684839265.jpgFor over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

Making Excuses: How Much Do You Rationalize?

I remember when I took my first yoga class a few years back. I always wanted to try yoga but came up with every excuse not to attend a class. Finally, a good friend of mine offered a gentle yoga class. I like the word “gentle”, since it didn’t imply difficult or any head stands. You see, my main excuse was I wasn’t flexible anymore. Well, wouldn’t that be part of the point of taking a yoga class? Then it turned into a competition reason. “Well, everyone else will be more flexible than me.” I had to laugh during my first class, since everyone thought the same thing- no one really could bend like a pretzel, except for the yoga teacher.  I realized I had to just decide that I was going to take the class. Left to my own devices, I was going to talk myself out of it. I had to stop making excuses.

Rationalization is a coping mechanism that is designed to justify making a certain decision. It’s also handy to talk yourself into or out of doing something. This coping technique is rather tricky. Our minds can be quick to judge a situation without thoroughly thinking through the entire situation.

Another common rationalization trap is putting off happiness. It’s what I call the “I’ll be happy when” game. I worked for large health care businesses for most of my occupational therapy career. A common mind game I played was putting off my happiness by fantasizing about a different life. The problem was I did not take actions toward living my dreams.   I was miserable and it was my choice to live that way.  I loved working with my patients dearly but in reality my values were different than my employer’s values. It bothered me to the point where I couldn’t sleep at night. The crazy part was that I could choose to be happy at any time. I knew in my heart that I wanted to have my own private massage practice. I fantasized what it would be like to be self-employed. “I’ll be happy when I can go to massage school”, which led to “I’ll be happy when I graduate from massage school so I can have my own business.” And the list continued.

The point was that I had everything in my grasp to be happy right at any moment, even when I was miserable. I didn’t need to wait on a certain circumstance or situation. And I certainly didn’t need my mind to play tricks on me. I needed to make a decision.

When you make your next decision, big or small, be aware of the slick talker called rationalization. You determine your choices and above all, your happiness.

Was this helpful? Learn how to reduce stress and get on with life using the power of essential oils.

Stress and Perception: How to Choose What Matters Most Every Day

Where do you think most of your stress comes from? Most people would answer money, work, family or unforeseen occurrences such as death or job loss.   What most people don’t respond with is that their thinking contributes to their stress level. Your mind plays a big role in how you see stressful situations.  

Our perception or how we view the world is the part that we can change in a stressful world. Stressful situations are the part we cannot always control. But how we view and react to a situation can be something we can control.

Earlier today I was talking to a friend about a time in my life where I had to make a choice about my own well-being under severe stress. Several years ago I had a nicotine habit. I thought I wanted to quit, but never to the point where I was successful. A few weeks before my father passed away he asked me to quit smoking. He had been a heavy smoker and knew what a toll it had taken on his health. I remember the phone call that I made telling him that I had put down the cigarettes. A little over a month after I quit smoking my father had a massive brain bleed. I stayed by his side until he passed away nine days later. I fought every urge I had, every trick my mind was playing on me not to smoke.  I just remembered the look in his eyes and knew at that moment I could lean on his strength and his words.

 I stopped listening to the mind chatter.

I made a choice in how I perceived my stress and what I could control in my life. I couldn’t control my father’s death but I could control how I reacted to his passing. That was 4 1/2 years ago. But that story replays in my head to remind me that I have choices in life. I chose not to be a victim to my habit or circumstances.

Know that with every breath you take that your inner strength is unstoppable. You can choose to do what matters most every day.


https://unlockyourinnerpotential.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/fanpage1-e1324684839265.jpgFor over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.

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