Stress is a huge issue in the western world and is a major health issue.  It’s estimated that up to 70% of patients waiting to see a doctor are there due to a stress related illness.

As a result, we often want to avoid stress, trying to minimise it and it’s possible consequences.  On reflection though, I can’t help but think about most successful people and the pressures that they are under when compared with people who are unable to break through in their lives.

Stress can actually be an indicator that you are making progress in your career or business.  It’s also an indicator that you are alive and kicking.  I have three young kids and there are times when they really push my buttons and give me very little down time, but I also wouldn’t have it any other way.  So instead of avoiding stress, I would advise that we should be learning some coping mechanisms so that the impacts of stress are not as dramatic.

How can we do this? 

Keep things in perspective:  There’s no point in getting worked up over small issues.  If you’ve got a roof over your head, food on your plate and are earning more than US$2 per day, then you are better off than half of the world’s population. 

Control the controllables:  There are always going to be things that you can’t control in any situation.  Importantly though, there are also things that you can significantly influence.  Remember the prayer of serenity:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Don’t forget to laugh:  We can all lose our sense of humour at times.  The challenge is to find something to smile about during those times.

Have balance in your life:  Focussing too much on one particular problem can send you into a dangerous spiral.  Play with the kids, read a book, do some exercise, take up a hobby.  The additional advantage is that you can come back with new ideas if you have been able to distract yourself for a while.

Remember that stress can be a good thing:  Just to reiterate the point, perhaps you are experiencing some stress because you are alive and kicking some goals. 

I hope that you are.

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