I have been thinking a lot lately about some stressful stuff that has been happening in my life. Specifically, work has been getting me down. I know that stress is a major factor that contributes to several different ailments for us in our crazy lives. If you ask any adult what they would like to eliminate from their life, I am confident that most people would say “stress”, among other things. We have bills, kids, rent/mortgage payments, family problems, work problems, and the list goes on for miles.
Now I am not unique. I know everyone has stress. And I have made a choice to conquer my stress in a logical and almost scientific way. Why did I decide to address my stress in this way? Because I am a male, and as my fellow dudes (and hopefully some women too) know, men tackle problems in a logical way. Problems are meant to be solved, and solving problems is most easily achieved by using logic. The only problem that isn’t solved using logic is the eternal maze of the female mind. Guys… she doesn’t want you to solve her problems. She wants you to listen and empathize. Write that down. Seriously.
So I decided a while ago that I was going to systematically examine the individual sources of stress in my life one by one, until they were eliminated. I may go into greater detail in future posts, but for now I will just give you a quick summary. For me, money has always been the biggest source of stress. For 5 years after I bought my condo I was house poor. Booo!
Lack of money completely dominated my thoughts for years. So of course that was the first thing on my list. I made myself a financial plan, got a renter in my condo, and paid off my debt. It was a massive weight off my shoulders. Next on the list was my exercise. This one was tough. It is so hard to make exercise become a natural part of your everyday routine, and to be honest I am still struggling with that.
I eventually learned that diet is 80% of the battle, and exercise is the other 20%. So I switched my main focus to my diet. And that is where the paleo comes in. I am finally at the point in my life where I feel like I have my eating mostly figured out, and that has eliminated another massive pile of stress from my mind. But unfortunately, work stress has crept into my life and has started to really effect me in a negative way. Now I am realistic, and I know that I will always have stress in one way or another. But at the same time I know that a healthy mind with minimal stress is incredibly important. So I have been thinking a lot lately about how I can stop letting work bother me so much. And that is the main point of this post. So this is my plan.
I will let go. That’s it. JUST. LET. GO. It sounds so simple, but letting go is tough, especially for a passionate person. And that is me in a nutshell. When I feel strongly about something, I don’t stop fighting until the battle is certainly lost. And the tough part is that this personality trait has been a central cause of my stress at work. Some decisions have been made that I don’t agree with, and I have tried to fight back when it has probably been the wrong decision.
I have a really hard time thinking that maybe someone other than me just knows better. That is an important point to remember. Sometimes you are wrong. And sometimes you are right, but there is someone else that is more right than you are. Life is almost never black and white. This is the hardest part of letting go. Sometimes you need to let go of control, and trust that there is someone else who knows better than you. This is especially hard for us ego-infested alpha males. But I truly believe that letting go of control is an incredible sign of emotional maturity.
I feel like if I can let go of some things, and remember that I can’t control everything around me, I will reduce the stress that these things have on me. That doesn’t mean that I am going to stop caring. It just means that I am no longer going to let things I feel strongly about control me.
My whole point is that there are things in life that you can control (very few), things in life that you think you can control, and things in life that you absolutely cannot control. The key is figuring out which battles to fight, and when to just let go. And what’s the best part of all this philosophical business? The fact that the things you CAN control have the most effect on your level of stress. Food… exercise… sleep… the people you surround yourself with… and your beliefs and values. Concentrate on the things you can control, and I promise you that your life will be happier, healthier, and almost stress-free. I just hope I can follow my own advice!
“You must learn to let go. Release the stress. You were never in control anyway”