When you ask most people what they want out of life, the typical answer is or leads to happiness. This post isn’t necessarily about happiness, but it is about reducing the biggest thing that keeps you from having it: stress. It’s almost as if there is an inverse relationship between happiness and stress because the more you have of one, the less you have of the other. Plain and simple: stress is what makes our lives less fulfilling.
Studies have shown that chronic stress has many negative effects on our physical health and can lead to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, hair loss, obesity etc. But it doesn’t stop there, stress also hurts our mental and emotional health as well. It can cause depression and anxiety, and as many of us have experienced, it can test our patience and cause us to do and say things we wish we hadn’t.
The good news is that we can reduce the level of stress we have or even eliminate it simply by making progress. But I don’t mean go out and make progress in just anything, it has to be towards whatever is causing the stress. I have always said: “To fix a problem, first you must identify it.” I don’t know if I made that quote up as I went along or I heard it somewhere, but what I do know is its true.
So to relieve stress, we first have to identify where it comes from. And from my personal experience, I’ve found that the majority of stress comes from situations where things aren’t exactly how we want them to be. This could be anything, from having a lot of errands to run to not having enough money in the bank. Basically, we stress when we’re in a situation we are unhappy with.
So whenever I’m stressed, I know that there is only one of two things I can do:
- Do something about it.
- Wait and see what happens.
If you can actually do something about what’s causing the stress, then do it! Why wait? The longer you wait, the more time you lose which could be better spent enjoying life. Even if you can’t fix the problem right then and there, as long as you make some progress towards resolving the issue, your level of stress should drop. This is because stress is an emotion that’s designed to spring us into taking action. So when we do take action, the stress has served its purpose and starts to fade away.
Of course, there’s always those situations where there’s literally nothing you can do. And if you can’t do anything about it (like in a situation where you have no control over the outcome), then you’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Then when things go down, you can chose how you want to react. What I do is look at the possible outcomes, and make a plan for each and everyone of them. Then I will just wait and see what happens.
But while you are waiting, there is no point in stressing out. Instead, clear your mind, and tell yourself that you will deal with it when you are in a situation where you actually can.Hope for the best but plan for the worst. This way, no matter what the outcome you will know how to handle it. And knowing that is stress relieving.