Are you stressed? With so many things on our to-do list and with so many projects needing to be completed it can be all too easy to have that sinking feeling in our stomach and racing thoughts in our mind of not being able to get everything done. In the Information Age, it’s not hard to get stressed out. With such high levels of stress, there’s a booming industry of stress management consultants, productivity consultants and piles of time management books written every year. Most of the advice is about how to manage the stress, how to complete the tasks and how to accomplish more.
The following excerpt from one of my favorite books has a different perspective. If you’re stressed, it may be time to re-evaluate and re-priortize. To cut down and cut out. (I have to remind myself of this often. 😉 ) Life is meant to be enjoyed! Focusing on what truly matters and cutting out everything else is what will help reduce stress.
It seems that we have it backward in our society. We tend to look up to people who are under a great deal of stress, who can handle loads of stress, and those who are under a great deal of pressure. When someone says, “I’ve been working really hard,” or “I’m really stressed out,” we are taught to admire, even emulate their behavior. In my work as a stress consultant I hear the proud words “I have a very high tolerance to stress” almost every day. It probably won’t come as a surprise that when these stressed-out people first arrive at my office, more often than not, what they are hoping for are strategies to raise their tolerance to stress even higher so they can handle even more!
Fortunately, there is an inviolable law in our emotional environment that goes something like this: Our current level of stress will be exactly that of our tolerance to stress. You’ll notice that the people who say, “I can handle lots of stress” will always be under a great deal of it! So, if you teach people to raise their tolerance to stress, that’s exactly what will happen. They will accept even more confusion and responsibility until again, their external level of stress matches that of their tolerance. Usually it takes a crisis of some kind to wake up a stressed-out person to their own craziness—a spouse leaves, a health issue emerges, a serious addiction takes over their life—something happens that jolts them into a search for a new kind of strategy.
It may seem strange, but if you were to enroll in the average stress management workshop, what you would probably learn is to raise your tolerance to stress. It seems that even stress consultants are stressed out!
What you want to start doing is noticing your stress early, before it gets out of hand. When you feel your mind moving too quickly, it’s time to back off and regain your bearings. When your schedule is getting out of hand, it’s a signal that it’s time to slow down and reevaluate what’s important rather than power through everything on the list. When you’re feeling out of control and resentful of all you have to do, rather than roll up your sleeves and “get to it,” a better strategy is to relax, take a few deep breaths, and go for a short walk. You’ll find that when you catch yourself getting too stressed out—early, before it gets out of control—your stress will be like the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill. When it’s small, it’s manageable and easy to control. Once it gathers momentum, however, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stop.
There’s no need to worry that you won’t get it all done. When your mind is clear and peaceful and your stress level is reduced, you’ll be more effective and you’ll have more fun. As you lower your tolerance to stress, you will find that you’ll have far less stress to handle, as well as creative ideas for handling the stress that is left over.
Richard Carlson, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Such beautiful words! I’ve made a habit of readying a few chapters from this book every week. It helps me stay balanced and maintain a good perspective of life. Feel free to share the quote to inspire others to slow down and enjoy life more!
Are you looking for ways to enjoy life more? You may be interested in my free email course: Simplify with a Life Digitally Organized. Becoming digitally organized has helped me so much! With everything we have to deal with in the Information Age it can be so easy to get stressed out! Learning how to manage and organized information is paramount for having a relaxed mind. Join me in the course below for 7 days of 7 simple emails with actionable strategies for getting organized and simplifying life.