Stress can keep you from living the life you were meant to live because when stress consumes you, it becomes your focus. And, the more you focus on stress, the worse it gets.
Quick Facts About Stress
- Americans spend $11.3 billion per year to cope with stress.
- Over 90% of disease is caused or complicated by stress.
- Job stress is estimated to cost U.S. industry $300 billion annually.
- Percentage of adults being treated for depression: 54%.
- Stress has been linked to all leading causes of death, including heart disease and cancer.
- Long-term stress is strongly associated with depression, heart disease, and weakened immune system.
- Up to 60% of employee absences are due to psychological problems such as stress and depression.
- Estimated percentage of American adults attempting to control stress: 95%.
Two Secrets to Overcoming Stress
The first secret is that the more you focus on what you can’t control, the worse it gets. Think of yourself dealing with a ticket agent at the airport. Your flight has been delayed. You are so upset you yell and shout at the man at the counter. You know this is not helping, and, it’s actually making matters worse. Not only are you stressing yourself out, but also, that employee you’re yelling at is in a position to help you.
The second secret to overcoming stress is that the more your focus on what you can control, the less the things that do bother you actually do bother you. Does that make sense? Here’s an example. I work out on a treadmill and totally zone out so the time goes by faster. Once in a while, I have someone on the treadmill next to me who flips through his or her magazine like a maniac. It drives me nuts and I find it distracting. I make myself focus on something—anything other than my neighbor. This tip on how to control your thoughts can help lower your stress because it is easy to do, it’s immediate, and it can work in so many situations.
Two Control Groups
When it comes to handling stress, people can fit into one of two groups: The first group of people is constantly trying to control things they cannot control. In dealing with life and their relationships, they feel like a victim, hopeless, and helpless.
The second group of people is aware of what they can and cannot control. They experience an event, think about what it is that want to do about it, and do what needs to be done to handle the situation.
Three Key Areas for Stress
There are three key areas in your life that can create stress: home, work, and money. When one area gets out of balance, it can infect all areas because stress is contagious. When two or more areas are affected at the same time, it can be disastrous. For instance, you lose your job and get behind on paying your bills.
- Draw a large circle with a small circle in the middle. Break the circle up into three sections: home, work, and money. Now, imagine getting stressed and all that stress flowing to the middle circle. Pretty soon, that middle circle will fill up with your stress and start flowing back out to the three areas of your life.
- Realize what is happening – that your stress in one area of your life is spilling over into and affecting the other two areas. Stop this from happening. Get rid of the circle. Look at the three areas of your life like the front window of your car. (Sorry, I couldn’t think of a better example.) Draw the rectangle shape and break the shape into your three sections: home, work, and money.
- Begin identifying what’s stressing you out, isolate it by putting it into one of your three sections, and then decide if it’s something you can or cannot control. If you can control it, try. If you can’t control it, accept what is happening and change your focus to something you can control.
© 2011 Life Is Fabulous.