How do you want to live your life?

Stop stressing

on August 27, 2012

We all have the tendency to worry about the people around us as well as the things happening around us. It is human nature. We are propelled to stress because: (1) we need to feel needed; (2) we need to be in control; (3) or simply because we can. It has been scientifically proven that stress can cause cancer and other diseases, but we continue to do so because we believe that it is never going to happen to us. WRONG!! It can happen to anyone. No one knows exactly why some people falls sick while others don’t. The scientists claim that stress plays a part, they made a great argument of it. But in reality, no one can say for sure.

Let’s move away from the scientific part of it and focus on the way stress affects our daily lives. It puts a constant frown on our face and a shrill tone in our voices. Other than that, does stressing really help to solve the issues at hand? In my experience , NO, it doesn’t. This was how I explained to my 10 years old son last night when he was stressing because he thought he had lost his school file. He was fretting and pacing but not actually trying to recall when was the last time he saw the file or even just looking for it. I tried to give him a simplified version of how the brain works. I explained that his brain can only do one task at a time, so, if he was stressing and worrying, then it cannot be thinking of where the file can be. I think it worked because he calmed down and was able to recall that he actually left it in school.

It is the same for us as adults. The morale to this story: while we are occupying ourselves with stress, it clouds our minds and takes away from us the very tools that we need to find the right solutions. I’m not saying: Let’s all be reckless and waste our lives away. On the contrary, I am saying this: “Stress reduces our ability to cope with situations and unless it is physical combat we are going to be engaging in, stress can be counter-effective. It also prevents us from enjoying the wonders life is offering us at the moment.

It takes conscious effort to become aware that you are allowing stress to occupy your thoughts. Try this method: I use when I am stressed: I ask myself what is the worst that can happen?  Have I done all that I can? Does stressing about it fix the problem? Chances are that I would have done all that I could have, and in the big scheme of things, it is not really such a big deal, except for a bruised ego. And needless to say, stressing does not fix it.

I am being honest here. It is not easy to “talk” yourself out of the stress because we think that we maintain some control if we are still thinking about it; Fallacy number 1. And we also feel less guilty if we refuse to let it go. It helps to give the impression that we are actually responsible people; Fallacy number 2.  Be truthful, other than maintaining the ego, what else does it achieve? Nothing!! It takes a lot of practice to be able to talk yourself out of stress. And if you cannot do it this time, don’t stress, there is always the next time!

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