Most of us create our own stress. Because deadlines don't produce stress. Debt doesn't produce stress. Traffic doesn't produce stress. And having to speak in public doesn't create stress. What causes these and countless other situations to be stressful is the "story" we make up to surround the deadline, the debt, the traffic and the presentation we have to give.Your imagination artfully embellishes these stories, making them threatening.
"If I'm late for the meeting I'll get fired, won't be able to pay my bills, I'll lose all my friends and find myself alone, living out of my car."
Silly, isn't it? And this, from someone who claims that they don't have a creative bone in their body!
Next time you find yourself feeling the symptoms of stress, consider these simple action steps:
- Breathe. Those who find themselves in a classic "fight or flight" situation often don't breathe properly. Their short, shallow breaths reduce the oxygen supply to the critical thinking portions of their brain, resulting in poor judgment and decision-making.
- Listen. What story are you creating? What "movie" is playing in your head? What unlikely outcome are you projecting into the future? What are you "making up" that is causing you to experience fear? Jettison these unhelpful film clips you're originating in your head in favor of simply stating the untainted facts about what is.