Recently I heard an incredible speaker (wish I caught his name – I was driving at the time). What struck me most is a statement he made declaring that stress is the result of a poorly directed mind. He went on to provide an argument on how you can control stress with your imagination.
Think about this for a minute.
Is it what’s happening to you that causes stress or what you envision as the outcome of circumstances? Can other people create your stress, or is it how you interpret, respond to or predict their actions? When you get stressed out over tomorrow, next week or next year, isn’t every ounce of angst based on what you imagine as a disappointing, hectic, unfavorable or difficult outcome? Can you be stressed if you steer your imagination toward positive solutions and outcomes?
It’s not what’s going on in your life (we’re all pretty good at dealing with the present – no matter how challenging events may be); it’s where you see it going. Wow! That’s a life-changing thought, isn’t it?
Positive thinking is good, but you need more power
Honestly, I have some issues with the notion that if you merely think about what you want it will magically appear. Doing creates better results, in my experience. Yes, of course, the items you dwell on are what you see, so positive thinking is far more productive than negative fixation, but this whole notion of dream it and it will come seems to lack a grounding in reality. Still, when you recognize stress is almost always a product of your mind, it makes sense to steer your imagination in ways that discourage stress and encourage optimism.
Granted, you might be wrong with your envisioned outcome, but you might be right. The chances of positive futures are greater if you play good scenes in your mind instead of fixating on failure. Plus, what’s the point of spending hours, days, weeks or years worrying before you feel the pain?
Research says less than 10% of our worry is justified
According to Nightingale Conant, only 8% of worries are worth it. Success Magazine states 90% of what scares you never comes to pass. Most other sources come in at that less than 10% mark on the accuracy of the stress we put ourselves through. Sure, sometimes it’s hard to take our minds off the worst, but when you consider the stress you endure is your own doing (and most of the time unfounded), doesn’t it make sense to work hard toward a mind shift that eliminates stress?
Having financial challenges? You’re not alone. What good does it do to waste time stressing out (or worse, talking about how bad it is all the time) when you can focus that energy on solutions to dig out?
Worried your business won’t make it? Why? You felt you had a good concept to start and invested in the idea. Even if you fail this time, the learning experience you draw from the miss will make you better armed for your next success.
Do you spend time thinking about and retelling stories of all the people who have burned you? Is this really a productive way to move forward to a better place? By the way, if it’s always someone else’s fault, consider the common ground (you).
Think things will go wrong – you’re probably right
I once had a banker look at me aghast (and write me off of her credible resource list) when I stated I didn’t believe small businesses were failing because of the economy. Her hackles went up immediately and she proceeded to lecture me on the facts – with trend statistics and fiscal findings as proof. She was right, of course. Her bank customers were going under in increasing numbers with justification based on the research she provided (undoubtedly to them as well).
Every so often, something touches you in a way that really turns your head around. I’m probably more naturally a pessimist than optimist, but do believe in the power of your thoughts. I’ve worked hard to be conscious of where my mind’s going to push it back to a better place. There was a time when I’d proudly declare “I don’t do stress.” It was true statement. Lately I’ve let myself creep back into a place I didn’t used to go. This idea of stress being a (bad) product of your imagination really grabs me. I hope it will do the same for you.
For those adults around last century, here’s a song that might bring back some memories to make you smile.
Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts on stress or ideas you’ve implemented to reduce worry. Don’t forget to take a moment to visit the Share Bar on the right side of this blog to spread the word.