Stress is an almost daily occurrence for most people.
Not surprising when you look at the world we live in today. Terrorism, pending financial crisis, rising technology, low job market and an orange president to name a few. Crazy times indeed.
Not to mention we inundate our lives with way too many tasks to accomplish. Are you one of those people that tries to cram 25 hours worth of to-do list items into a 24 hour day?
However, the real reason you so stressed is not because of any of the above mentioned stressors. You’re stressed for an entirely different reason.
You’re so stressed because you think like a victim.
Your stress becomes your attacker and continues to assault you whenever it can. However, you create the environment for this stress to persist.
We have this almost automatic response to stress that we can’t deal with it. We think that our stress is causing us so much pain and making us miss out on so much in life. We dwell on the stressors and let them permeate into the depths of our mind until they control us.
In short, we think that stress is happening to us rather than for us.
In order to conquer your stress you must conquer your victim mentality. All stress really is is a signal that it is time for us to respond. Our response will either keep us in pain or bring us towards pleasure.
Here’s a scenario for you:
You have a family and you are the main provider. All of a sudden, you realize that the job you have is not the job that you want. You are starting to feel miserable going to work and it’s affecting your mood at home. You realize that you want to do something else entirely, but you have no idea what taking that risk could do to your family’s wellbeing (fear).
At this point you have two choices. You can stay in fear and come to the conclusion that you must stay at your job for the sake of your family and remain miserable (victim). Or you could re-dedicate yourself to your family in a new way that will not only provide for them financially, but emotionally as well.
Both of those scenarios will be difficult, no doubt about it. Rarely will you encounter a scenario that is 100% ideal and stress-free. Usually, we have to create our own opportunities in life.
Back to our example.
You’ve decided to stay at your soul-sucking job for the sake of your family. Each day you start to feel yourself slipping deeper into a depression and you become completely disenchanted with everything around you. You begin to feel like a drone on autopilot, knowing that you deserve more out of life but you “need” to play it safe in this job. Your family notices that you are not yourself any longer and they’re worried. When they ask you why you don’t just quit your job, you get angry. You say things like, “I can’t quit because then we won’t be able to survive!” or “Somebody has to pay for everything around here!” You then start to feel resentment towards your family because they don’t understand your plight and you feel alone in your pain.
Now, let’s flip to the next scenario.
You’ve decided to leave your soul-sucking job in pursuit of a passion or desired living. You have no idea how you’re going to make it work, but you know that you must make it work. You decide that you want your family to succeed with you and you want everyone to grow together as a unit. You devote 100% of your focus into this new venture and you tell your family every detail about your pursuit. You build excitement towards the goal each day and you finally feel alive again. You will face immense pressure and some pain at times, but these stressors are now driving you rather than oppressing you. You feel the love and support of your family and this motivates you to succeed.
It is impossible to go through life without any resistance. You will be challenged very frequently. And if you’re not being challenged, you’re living way too comfortably.
If you want to reduce (or remove) your stress, you must learn to respond to that stress in a way that moves your life forward rather than keeping you stuck in the stress cycle.
Use stress as a signal that you must change course, big or small, to live your life on your own terms. Let your mind control your stress, as opposed to the other way around.