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:
- Will it matter in 5 minutes?
- Will it matter in 5 hours?
- Will it matter in 5 days?
- Will it matter in 5 months?
- 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
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