Reduce the Stress

Blue Wave Maine, Georgia O'Keefe - 1926

Blue Wave Maine, Georgia O'Keefe - 1926

I only recently heard of the passing of author Richard Carlson although he was killed in an accident many years ago. Such has been the impact of his writing on me that his thoughts have been profoundly with me and living on!

One of his mantras that I love is, ‘Lower your tolerance to Stress’ from his book ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’, one of his beautiful books of inspirations. In his explanation, he talks about how we who are members of first world countries are constantly rewarding and admiring those that tolerate high levels of stress. We even have stress reduction programs that encourage us to tolerate even more stress in our lives.

He turns this idea on its head and simply notes that however much stress we tolerate is generally the stress we live with day in day out! He further notes that what we actually want for better health and well-being is to reduce the stress levels we can tolerate and we do this by noticing stress early before it gets to critical levels and to take measures in our lives to keep stress at bay, rather than increasing our own ability to handle even more of it! It’s a subtle but important difference.

“When you’re feeling out of control and resentful of all you have to do, rather than roll up your sleeves and ‘get to it,’ a better strategy is to relax, take a few deep breaths and go for a walk.’

I love this idea to catch ourselves before stress takes us over – not only by looking at a few simple strategies like Richard Carlson suggests but also by looking at our lives, how they are structured and what we try to cram into them. This applies to people of all ages, children too and is important food for thought for those of trying to live our best lives!