We Choose Stress.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve really had a lot on my plate. I wanted to know how to relieve stress, and I’m sure you do too.
I’ve got my business with ForeFront Real Estate, I’ve got a weekly email with The Mobile Rundown, I’ve got meetings for a non-profit called The Fuse Project that I helped start, and then I just recently started a hip hop dance class at a community center [these can all be checked out on my Current Project page].
That’s of course on top of every day life – work work, home repairs, meetings, church, social obligations, pet care, cooking and cleaning, etc.
Then it dawned on me.
The majority of stresses in my life are self-imposed.
We typically choose them – the service, the work, the clubs, the social activities.
Nobody was going to die if I didn’t do the items on time – or even at all. Now, that doesn’t mean that I am planning to quit. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be just as busy and involved.
But it did remind me that I am in control of the majority of my situations that cause stress. Just mentally knowing this information lifted a weight off of my shoulders. Just knowing that I had the ability to choose not to do something was a huge relief.
Now I understand why I’ve read in recent books (the one that comes to mind is 4 Hr Work Week by Tim Ferriss – highly recommended read! [that’s an affiliate link]) that a great exercise is to practice saying “No.” As humans we have this natural desire to say Yes to most things.
We want to please.
We want to make others happy.
Or we just don’t want to let others down.
I recently read about a study where students were to ask random people on the New York Subway for their seat.
No explanation as to why, just ask.
And over 70% of the folks got up without question.
While this tells me that as a whole the American people are friendly and helpful, I think that psychology also played a huge part. We want to please and not let down, even if it’s a stranger.
So as you’re going through your day, as you’re pulling your hair out, as you’re feeling stressed, remember this.
That you most likely chose to do the thing that you’re stressed about. And if you didn’t, chances are that you made decisions that led up to the item that you’re stressed about.
To everyone with with uncontrollable stresses, you’re in my thoughts and prayers.
To all others, feel free to choose to get yourself out of those situations.
I hope that just the simple realization of this fact frees you as it did me.