Release the Stress

Are you tired of feeling stressed out? One of the most frequent complaints I hear involves the word “STRESS.” It usually goes something like, “I am just so stressed out with everything I have to do.” As a business owner, I could easily say, “I sympathize with you.” But the reality is, I don’t really have stress. I learned a long time ago that contrary to popular belief, stress is not caused by external factors. It is not caused by things we cannot control. Think about this. The most successful, wealthiest, busiest people in the world seem to have no stress at all (or at least no more stress than the rest of us). They have busier schedules, certainly more responsibilities, and increased pressures, but you don’t see or hear them complaining about stress. Why? Simply because they do not see those things as stress.

 

How to Eliminate Stress in Your Life. First, you must understand that stress is something you feel, not something that is real. Stress does not come from an event itself, but rather from the interpretation of the event. For example, you can find someone completely stressed out that the lines at the store are too long and are keeping them from their busy to-do list. But if you look in the next line over, another person is casually reading on his phone, completely unbothered by the same long lines. Same event, two very different responses.

 

How to Change Your Focus In any aspect of life, including running a business, we go through good times and bad times. But at any given point in our lives, if we focus on the right things, miracles are happening around us all the time. It is our interpretation of the events we face that is important. Our interpretation of the world, and therefore our stress levels, are based on what we focus on. At the long line in the store, one person is focused on the negative aspects of the experience, causing them stress. The other person is focused on using the extra time they didn’t expect to encounter to get caught up on a few things on their phone. If you were asked to give a speech to a civic group in your community to promote your products or business you could react two ways. Many business owners stress for days over the event because they fear public speaking. Those who do not have stress see this is an opportunity to learn more about how to speak effectively in public and grow awareness of their business at the same time. Same event, two different outcomes. From now on, when you feel stressed, ask yourself, “What else could this mean?” By simply changing the meaning you give to events you can decrease your stress levels.

 

How to Change Your Language An easy way to change the meaning you give to an event is by changing the language you use to talk to yourself about things. If, for example, you find out your sales for the month are not as high as you anticipated you could easily say, “This is going to be devastating.” Or you could say, “Well, this is going to be a challenge.” Or you could say, “This is going to be an interesting learning experience.” All three are accurate descriptions of the same situation depending on how you want to approach it. But the way that instance affects your stress level depends on which description you pick. The language you use to describe events in your life becomes your reality. Therefore, you must be careful how you use that language. The best way to do this is just to simply be aware of it. You can’t be sloppy in your language to yourself. You must keep it in check and be aware of how it affects you.

 

How to Differentiate Pressure from Stress Finally, to keep your stress levels in check, you must understand the difference between pressure and stress. Pressure is about making you perform through tactics like assigning deadlines and using them to make yourself more creative. Walt Disney and Steve Jobs were famous for creating “impossible” deadlines for themselves and others because it made people perform at their peak. Athletes have used this for years. Take control of your time and start forcing yourself to accomplish more in less time. In his book, No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs, Dan Kennedy talks about stress as something that does not come from the pressure to perform, but rather from compromising standards and from bowing to what you should not be doing. Stress is about reacting to unmet expectations. If you want to decrease the stress in your life, get back to your goals. Make sure you are clear on what your definite purpose is. Spend most of your time trying to do that thing. Stress, I believe, comes from not pressing forward towards your goals. Instead, it comes when you end up doing what you did not plan with your day, week, month, or life and then you end up disappointed and stressed at the last minute trying to make it happen. While using these tools may not completely eliminate stress from your life, you will find stress much more manageable.

 

Keep Living Every Minute,

Dr. Tim

 

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