In Creating Happiness by Barbara Jacoby

Last week I indicated in my blog that I would be addressing the subject of responsibility this week.  However, when I started to write about it, the right information just wouldn’t come.  I selected three other subjects and started to write about each of them but the words didn’t materialize.  Time was passing.  I wanted to post a new blog on Tuesday as I do each week.  On Sunday I sat and stared at the computer screen.  On Monday I worked and then went to dinner with a friend.  When I got home, I kept trying to write and kept getting interrupted until it was time for bed and I still had no inspiration.  But as I woke this morning, I suddenly realized that I was feeling stressed about meeting a deadline and that was no way to be creative.  At that moment I knew exactly what I needed to write about this week – stress.


It is my belief that the two major components of unhappiness and ill health are the lack of enough sleep and stress.  Forget the stuff that they say about smoking and drinking and overeating, etc.   They are not nearly as hard on us as the other two.  The sleep situation is easy to fix – just go to bed earlier and allow for the 8 hours.  The stress can be a little harder to handle until you take the time to assess what really creates stress.  It is fear. 


Our fears cause us to worry and our worrying causes us to create stress.  If stress was only a mental matter, it would be a different story but that mental stress creates stress on our bodies and manifests itself ultimately in illness and disease.  In other words stress causes us distress.  It can also cause us to not get enough sleep at night.  So what do we do about it?


Each time you find yourself worrying/stressing over something, try to take the time to ask yourself what it is that you are stressing about.  Whether it is a matter of money, job concerns, doing a presentation, meeting a deadline or whatever else, what does your stressing do to change the situation or make the matter improve?  If you answer, nothing, you are absolutely correct.  You are using all of your good energy to perpetuate a bad behavior for yourself.  And if you are honest with yourself and review stressful situations from the past, you will find that in most situations, nothing turned out the way that you expected and you wasted your valuable time and energy on a non-existent situation.


So, take some deep breathes and start working to set aside your worry and stress by refocusing your energy and your thoughts toward finding solutions to what it is that is causing your stress.  If it is money, perhaps you might consider getting a second job or looking for another job in your field that pays more money.  If it is an emergency, perhaps a family member can assist you but providing a short-term loan.  If it is a problem with paying certain bills, you can call your creditors and try to work out something with them.  There are so many alternatives that you might consider as long as you are not focused on the lack of money, the fear of the consequences of that lack, etc.


Job performance is another major area that stresses people to a great extent.  There again, it is a matter of putting things in perspective.  No one knows everything about any subject no matter how long you have done a particular job or performed in a certain area of expertise.  It is the smart person who acknowledges this and realizes that there is no reason to stress over anything if you take your energy and divert it to finding the answers that you are seeking and go and get them.  It may also be that you may have to do a presentation in front of a large group and you are so afraid that you will screw it up.  If you have ever observed anyone giving a speech or presentation, you will soon realize that no one ever does a perfect job.  Look at the current political candidates that are running for president.  Every time that you turn around, they have made some remarks or comments that are major faux pas and yet they don’t collapse under the weight of stressing about the next time that they have to speak. If you take the time to know your material, run through it several times and talk to the people in the room as you would a group of your friends, you will do just fine every time.  If you are questioned during the presentation about something for which you don’t have an answer, you simply respond that you don’t have that information but you will get it and get back to the person who is posing the question.


So it goes with every single thing that presents itself in our lives.  We can choose to focus on those things which will cause us so much stress that we can’t even see the forest for the trees or when we find ourselves in stressful situations, we can stop ourselves, focus on some positive alternatives and work out a solution to those situations.  The rewards are so much more gratifying and each time that we have a success, it makes it easier to create a pattern of successes.  The choice is up to you.