Reduce Your Stress With The Five 5’s

by Ron Haynes

stress1 This is another post in the Organizing Your Way series focusing on a better 2010.

Check out Mandi’s article on how she plans to reduce the stress in her life this year.

Stress is one of those funny things in our lives. On one hand, we NEED stress.

Only dead people have zero stress.

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Before we get rid of all stress, what are some of the benefits of it?

  • Stress is a symptom of urgency. Let’s face it, we need urgency when it comes to various activities in our lives, saving a child, running from a dangerous situation, or getting a payment mailed on time are all situations where we need urgency.
  • Stress is also needed in a competitive environment. When you show up for an interview, when a basketball team is down by one point with 12 seconds to go, or when trying to close a sale, stress is what gets us going, and sharpens our senses.
  • Stress gives you energy. The key is channeling that energy so that it produces desired results rather than causing us to worry and stew.

Stress is an ignorant state.  It believes that everything is an emergency.  –Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind

Reduce your stress by using the Five 5’s

To truly reduce the stress in your life, learn to fight only for things that are really worth it. Choose your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff (hint: it’s all small stuff).

Ask yourself the five fives:

  1. Will it matter in 5 minutes?
  2. Will it matter in 5 hours?
  3. Will it matter in 5 days?
  4. Will it matter in 5 months?
  5. Will it matter in 5 years?

As you move down this list, obviously you encounter bigger and more important issues. Something like your kids refusing to eat their broccoli may not matter right now, but if it stems from defiance, you may have a problem down the road. Temper your response accordingly.

A co-worker taking credit for your idea may not matter in 5 years, but it may matter in 5 months when performance reviews come around.

One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.  –Bertrand Russell

stress Keep things in perspective

I once heard someone ask, “Do you want Par, Average, or Excellence?” Besides the fact that par and average are the same thing, this is a false dilemma. These aren’t your only choices.

You’ll never achieve perfection … ever. Sometimes “good enough,” truly IS good enough. There is no shame in learning to recognize that there is a marginal return on the stress we put on ourselves (and others). A little is okay, moderate amounts can help “light a fire” under you, but too much is deadly.

Is everything as urgent as your stress would imply?  –Carrie Latet

Does it matter … really?


Photo by gramola2three

About the author

Ron Haynes has written 988 articles on The Wisdom Journal.

The founder and editor of The Wisdom Journal in 2007, Ron has worked in banking, distribution, retail, and upper management for companies ranging in size from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from a top MBA program and currently is a Human Resources and Management consultant, helping companies know how employees will behave in varying situations and what motivates them to action, assisting firms in identifying top talent, and coaching managers and employees on how to better communicate and make the workplace MUCH more enjoyable. If you'd like help in these areas, contact Ron using the contact form at the top of this page or at 870-761-7881.