Getting real about the false foundation of stress
The truth about stress is tough for many to take; it’s not talked about much. Maybe that’s because we don’t like to think we make things more complicated or dramatic than they are. But consider: People literally jump out of airplanes for fun but are hospitalized because they had to learn new software after seven years of experience with the old software.
What does this say about the “stress” we face and often dread? It indicates that stress is more about how you feel or think about things and only loosely connected to what’s actually happening. In other words, life is not stressful; it’s what we believe about life that is stressful. Add a few espressos and some teenagers to your plate, and now a two-hour learning curve becomes the end of the freaking world!
And, for the record, caffeine gives you focus and alertness, not screaming fits, unless your focus is on the fear of a bad result. And generally speaking, teenagers make bad decisions and can be immune to hygiene, which is only stressful if you keep thinking they should do the right thing. No, they will do what they do even with your best guidance. And most often, they will be somewhat okay. Neither of these things should be enough to nudge us over the top. Freaking out is what you do when you don’t know what to do. It’s not how you are supposed to live.
Things to think about
- Expect bad news. People love to tell it and we love to hear it. We watch the news because it’s bad! If it’s good, there’s little need or reason to watch it. Instead, we’ll switch over to Breaking Bad, which is good because the bad is not happening to us or anyone we know.
- Change is mandatory; stress is optional. Prioritizing and preparing for problems is not negative. List the potential problems and create actions. If worry is the problem, preparation is the solution.
- Life is like a spinning ceiling fan: If you focus your vision on just one blade, you will feel your stress level go up as you follow that blade with your eyes. (Try this. It’s amazing what you will experience!) However, if you watch all the blades spin, which is the natural thing to do, it has little effect on your stress level. Sometimes we have to take a sociopathic approach to problems. Care about the solution-how you and your company will get through the situation you face-and not about the details of how bad things are or how it will affect specific situations and people in worst-case scenarios.