Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 25, 2014

Identify your tiger, cope with stress

Do you ever have those days that just kill you? You know what I’m talking about, a business deal that went wrong, a deadline you missed, your spouse being let down, or your kids feeling hurt over something you did or didn’t do. It happens to every single one of us.

Sometimes the burden just grows and grows. But for us to enjoy life and also make a positive impact, we have to begin to live intentionally. By “intentionally” I don’t mean that we need to do more work, meet more goals, or be more productive, instead I mean that we need to figure out how to get the most happiness, satisfaction, and quality out of life.

Where does stress come from?

Stress is an emotional release in our brain. It is usually meant to help our bodies know when we’re in danger. It’s meant to get us through the danger to survive. For thousands of years, this served an evolutionary function. We’d see a tiger, have an adrenaline rush to survive, get out of the situation, and then relax. But what happens when you live a life next to a tiger?

Identify the Tiger

Stress comes from a number of things: overworking, too much screen time, non-stop duties, or just a plain lack of planning. Stepping back and analyzing the source of stress makes the goal of overcoming it and creating more happiness easier. Often in the midst of stress, we don’t realize the detrimental effect of it. Once we take a break to evaluate, we can clarify our movement forward.

A Minute of Planning

You’ve heard the phrase, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the same is true of a minute of planning. Finding ways to double up can save time and improve life satisfaction, such as exercising with your family. When we find ways to cut corners and create systems, it’s not so we can work more, instead it should be to create time and space to magnify our quality of life.

As we all deal with the burden and stress of being human, we have to learn to effectively manage our stress. If we don’t identify where it comes from and plan for change, we’ll continue down the path that drains us.

Joseph R. Sanok, MA is the owner of Mental Wellness Counseling and helps business people to live more meaningful lives through his blog:

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