Recently we’ve been getting a lot of email asking about how to deal with stress and tension. It may be because of an uncertain economy or other factors, but whatever the cause, here is some key information about stress.
First, stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Science tells us that some stress is necessary, but that too-high levels impede learning, slow productivity and make you sick. What stress level is optimal for you?
To begin your journey to a healthy relationship with stress, ask yourself: What is the best way for me to be totally effective while also enjoying a feeling of ease and harmony?
By now you have probably heard that stress-induced illness keeps more people home from work than other common factors like viruses. Billions are spent each year on anti-stress medicines such as Xanax and Valium.
People often think that the events of life cause stress: divorce, money struggles, overwork, caring for a sick child or an aging parent. A closer look reveals that science tells us it’s how you respond to the events of life that creates excess stress or not. So the question becomes: How can you respond more effectively to the events of life? From scientific studies and working with thousands of people in real-life situations, we’ve found that one mental pattern makes a huge difference: focusing on what you can change, and letting go of focusing on things you can’t change.
A quotation that sums up the concept comes from a psychiatrist and longtime student of stress, Hans Weller, M.D.: “The major thinking-error that causes stress: Focusing on things you can’t change or control—such as the past or what other people think of you.” The healthy alternative: Focus on the things you have complete control over—such as what you can do right now to create your life the way you want it.
Wishing the past could be different causes stress—focusing on how you can have a great day today relieves stress. Obsessing about your weight and criticizing your body causes stress. Eating a healthy meal and taking a brisk walk relieves stress.
Focus on things you can change gives you a great deal of power. Focusing on things you cannot change gives away all your power. Focus on the changeable, and feel the stress melt away.