It’s downright scary in the world … with a virus operating … with economies struggling …with businesses facing an uncertain future … with school procedures changing weekly … and with relationships under stress. And if you’re not concerned, then you’re not informed.
► 1. Ignore the small stuff.
You’ve only got so much energy. So spend it wisely.
And some things just aren’t worth your time and energy. Maybe your coworker refuses to greet you in the morning. Maybe a customer uses a sharp tone of voice. Or maybe your spouse occasionally forgets to carry out an errand. Well, so what? Is it worth stewing about, talking about, and getting overly upset about?
Get smart. Don’t spend $10.00 worth of energy on a 10-cent problem. Learn to spend 10 cents worth of energy on a 10-cent problem and $10.00 worth of energy on a $10.00 problem.
Author Grenville Kleiser wrote, “Do not let trifles disturb your tranquility of mind … life is too precious to be sacrificed for the nonessential and transient … ignore the inconsequential.”
What small stuff are you getting overly upset about? Pick one right now and decide to let it go.
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But … But … But … you are never helpless. Don’t ever think that just because you can’t solve all those big problems out there that there’s nothing you can do. That’s baloney.
There is always something you can do to make your life, your relationships,you’re your workplace better. So focus on what you can do instead of whining about what you cannot do.
And that starts with you getting your stress under control. In fact, in just the last few weeks, I’ve delivered more than a dozen programs for various organizations on what I call The Stress Busters. Of course, I couldn’t pretend to teach you everything I share in a 90-minute program in a 4-minute article. But here are a few Stress Busters to get you started.
► 2. Find humor in your daily life.
Laughter is one of the surest ways to diminish the stress in your life. Even medical doctors are talking about the stress-killing, endorphin-lifting effect of laughter.
I urge you to be a humor detective. Look for funny things every day and laugh. I know I do and it works.
For example, when I got stressed about the economy, I read Dr. Ann Week’s perspective. She made the following points.
- “I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.”
- “The best things in life may be free, but the optional accessories really run up the bill.”
- “One nice thing about my salary, no one will ever hold me for ransom.”
- “It’s called ‘take-home pay’ because you can’t afford to go anywhere else with it!”
If you’re saying you just can’t find funny things in your daily life, buy a few joke books. Spend five minutes a day reading a few comedic lines from the great comedians. I do.
For example, I’ve always enjoyed the quips made by Groucho Marx … short, sharp, and funny. Groucho was known for such lines as…
- “From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend on reading it.”
- “Those are my principles and if you don’t like them… well, I have others.”
- “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
- “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”
Where can you find a good laugh today? Go out and get it.
► 3. Use it now.
I’m amazed at all the people who work hard to get some nice things … things that would make their life more pleasant … and then don’t use those things. There’s no better time to use those nice things than when times are tough … because they’ll lift your spirits.
Ann Wells wrote about that in the Los Angeles Times. She wrote, “My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. ‘This’ he said, ‘is not a slip. This is lingerie.’ He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite: silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached.
Her brother-in-law continued, “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion. Well I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment and then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me.
“Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion. Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.”
What about you? Are you using the special things in your life now? After that experience, Ann Wells is.
She wrote, “I’m not ‘saving’ anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event — such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom. I wear my good blazer to the market if I like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $48.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends. ‘Someday’ and ‘one of these days’ are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.”
I learned this lesson from my Grandpa John. On several occasions when we went to visit, he would pull out a special bottle of wine to share with us. Grandma Em would chide him and say, “John, we were saving that bottle for a special occasion.” But Grandpa would remind her, “Em, what could be more special than spending time with our family?”
What is something you’ve been saving for a special occasion? How can you use it now to put more joy in your life?
I’ll tell you what I’m doing. For years, one of my hobbies was collecting the green Cherry Blossom design of Depression Glass. In fact I collected 12 place settings of everything they ever produced and it has been sitting … beautifully … in our dining room for years … but just sitting there. Enough of that. I just invited several people over for dinner and we’re going to use and enjoy the beautiful Depression Glass rather than worry about a piece possibly breaking.
You may not be able to eliminate all the stress in the world, but you can take a big bite out of the stress in your life.