There is a LOT out there about STRESS, how to manage it, how to avoid it, how to sedate it. What if you did not have to do anything about it? Through understanding how ‘it works you could likely dispense with stress and live and work with greater ease, have greater clarity and be more productive.
Here are three commonly-held myths about stress and a different way to look at it.
Myth #1 – Stress is a given, it comes with my job, doesn’t it?
Many describe themselves in high-pressure, high-stress jobs as though any position that demands decisions, actions and results is automatically bunded with ‘stress’. Business can be fast-paced, change quickly and have the inevitable set-backs. However, even these can be addressed with a calm, clear mind.
Everybody makes bad decisions when they are angry, scared or stressed, including business owners and leaders. Many stakeholders depend them make optimal decisions for the well-being of the organization. It would seem then, that a primary goal would be to work without stress – and it is possible without having to ‘do’ anything other than come to a different understanding.
Myth #2 – A little Stress is good, isn’t it? Actually, no it isn’t
You may believe that ‘little’ stress keeps you sharp, focused and on top of things. The only thing is, humans are notoriously inept at assessing their own levels of stress. Research shows that individuals who are placed in stress-inducing situations often report that they are ‘fine’ when all their stress responses are off the charts – blood pressure rising, heartbeat speeding up, adrenalin increasing, blood moving to their extremities in preparation for fight or flight.
Individuals wonder in amazement that they have high blood pressure, the beginnings of heart disease, digestive problems, lowered immune system and insomnia when really, they feel fine.
The term General Adaptive Syndrome (GAS) describes the tendency for individuals to adapt to ever-increasing levels of stress, with the higher level feeling ‘normal’. 90 – 95% of all physical ailments and diseases are stress-related, and so it goes.
Myth #3 – My Stress comes from situations, things and people. Nope, wrong again.
We have been led to believe that stress comes from situations, things and people who upset, hurt, frustrate or downright annoy us. Interestingly though, when you are not thinking about the thing, person or situation, you don’t feel anything. Say you are worried about your cash flow challenges and your young daughter comes into your office. Suddenly your attention is on her, you feel delighted to see her, in the moment you feel alive and happy.
She then leaves the room and you go back to thinking about your cash flow issues and feeling stressed again. Point is, you have to be thinking about the situation, thing or person to ‘feel’ them. So really, it’s your thoughts about them that you are experiencing -regardless if the thought is made up, an assumption, a worst-case scenario, whatever, it’s thoughts that create feelings.
Fortunately, thoughts are transient. They come and go randomly. We have 50,000 – 75,000 random thoughts a day which we do not create or control. Most of them are redundant with a negative bias and plagued with self-defeating ideas stemming from our insecurities. Thing is, you don’t have to pay attention to all your thoughts, believe them, give them any energy, act or them or try to understand them. Like clouds floating by, they come and go until your mind clears and you can think things through with fresh insight and come up with viable solutions – all without the need to stress about things.