"Stress is the trash of modern-day life. If you do not dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life."
I believe that whenever we are dealing with a problem, we must first ask three questions: What? Why? And How? In the same order. Let’s start by discussing What is stress? I have spoken to many friends, family, colleagues, and clients. Whenever they tell me what is causing them stress, it is one of these reasons:
What if I told you that all these reasons or any other reason which stresses most people are only due to one thing? You have created an expectation of how things should be, and the things are not going as per your expectation.
To understand what stress does to your body, let’s go on time travel. Imagine a time thousands of years ago when we still use to live in Jungles. You are walking through the woods, and suddenly you see a tiger approaching you. The body triggers a stress response and stops doing whatever it's supposed to do to respond to this life or death situation. The brain releases adrenaline and cortisol, aka stress hormones. These are responsible for causing a lot of nuisances in our body, such as insomnia and premature aging. Your heart rate would go up rapidly to move blood through the body. Blood vessels restrict to allow quicker blood movement, which, as a result, will increase the blood pressure. Blood sugar and blood lipids increase, so there is more energy to move. Circulation to your gut decreases, because digestion is not a priority when a tiger is chasing you. Immune function drops rapidly as the body needs energy to ‘fight or flee.’
The stress response is an essential function of the body in a life or death situation. The problem is that we give too much importance to everyday activities in our life. Therefore, our nervous system cannot distinguish between being chased by a tiger and being stuck in a Traffic Jam.
According to research, 90 % of the total doctor visits are related to problems caused by stress. In the world today, most of us are not living our true potentials as our body is using all the energy to be ready for a fight or flee the situation. This, in the long run, causes health problems and lower energy levels.
How to Manage Stress?
Now that we have an understanding of what stress is and why we should learn to manage it, I am going to introduce you to two models that you can adopt in your life, never to feel stressed again.
Model 1: Good thing Bad thing who knows
I adopted this model from a beautiful old story of a farmer and his son. Allow me to share this story with you:
Once upon a time, there lived a farmer with his son in a tiny village. The father and son did not have many material possessions. They still lived happily and in content. The villagers soon started to envy them and were always curious to find out the reason for their happiness.
One day the farmer decided to use all his savings to buy a horse. Unfortunately, the very next day, the horse managed to escape and run into the hills. The villagers visited to express their sympathy. They remarked, “How unfortunate you are. What happened is bad.” To which the farmer said, “Good thing? Bad thing? Who knows?
A few days later, the horse returned and brought with him another six beautiful horses. The villagers revisited the farmer. This time they said, “How fortunate you are. You lost one horse but got back another six.” To which the farmer’s reply was the same again, “Good thing? Bad thing? Who knows?
After a few days, the farmer’s son fell from one of the horses and broke his leg. Even though his leg healed in some time, the injury left him with a permanent limp. The villagers came to visit again and remarked, “How unfortunate. What happened is bad. Who is going to help you in the fields now?” To which the farmer repeated the same words, “Good thing? Bad thing? who knows?”
Soon after that, a war broke out. It was required for all the young men to join the army. However, the farmer’s son was spared due to his limp. The villagers once again came to visit him. They said, “You are so fortunate. Your son gets to stay with you, where we are not sure if our sons will ever return home.” The farmer’s reply was still the same, “Good thing? Bad thing? Who knows?
And this continues. The moral of the story is that Stress is a choice, and if you stop labeling the outcomes in your life as good or bad, then chances are you will start choosing happiness over stress.
Have you ever observed that a past occurrence that had seemed bad at the time turned out to be the good thing or at least not so bad thing when you are looking back at it? What has happened has happened and can not be changed. But how you respond to it is your choice. You can choose to label it bad and increase your suffering, or you can walk away saying, “Good thing? Bad Thing? Who knows?
Model 2: Focus on your actions and not your results
I adapted this model from one of the most beautiful scriptures of all time – the Bhagavad Gita. Imagine a time when we used to live in the wild. A hunter is trying to shoot a deer with his bow and arrow. The hunter is very skillful and has never missed a target before. Does this guarantee that the hunter will be able to get his goal this time? No, not at all. The hunter has command over his arrow and its direction. The hunter can have command of his focus. But the hunter has no power or control over the deer, who may sense the danger and move at the very last minute. Such is life.
In life, there are things that we can control, and then there are things that we cannot. Most of the time, things do not happen as planned due to reasons beyond our control. It is, therefore, important not to focus too much on the outcome. Instead, put all your focus on your efforts. Do not celebrate your results; celebrate your actions. It may take some time to adopt these models, but once you do, you will never be stressed again.
This blog is posted by Anurag Rai. Anurag is the Founder of Superhuman In You and Superhuman University. He is also the founder of multiple other businesses and a certified NLP & meditation practitioner.
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