Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!

Woman shrugging
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Previous speakers here stressed on the numerous stress factors (pardon me for this wordplay) many people face on a daily basis. I partially agree with them: the amount of potentially stressful situations is indeed rather high, especially if you are a person that can feel dissatisfied even with your own face in the mirror; I will return to this point a bit later though. So, stressful situations are all around us. Hence, say my colleagues, every sane individual should organize a personal crusade against stress; eliminating stress from everyday life is a task worth efforts, a great personal feat! Certainly, this is if you can ignore the fact that such a struggle can become stressful itself—an ultimate stress I would say. So, you might ask me, what should we do with all that stress? My say is that many of your problems are fictional.What do you mean, you might reply—I am stressed right now! (laughter).

Woman shrugging
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Let me explain my point.

First of all, let us think about what situations people usually see as stressful. I will not touch on health issues, job loss, divorce, and other similar situations, because they are truly stressful, and this stress must be dealt with somehow. Instead, I want to focus on what I call mood-eaters. These guys are cunning: they sneak up on you while you are unaware—texting with somebody, for example—and snap!—they bite off a piece of your good mood in a blink of an eye. The bite is tiny, so you do not usually notice the loss. But mood-eaters are numerous; they lurk around, waiting for their chance to grab a piece. This is a metaphor, of course; by mood-eaters, I mean situations in which we are able to choose our attitude instead of immediately getting stressed.

According to my observations, many stressful situations are not as serious as they might seem. Here are the most common situations that may influence your mood. Your hilarious post did not get as many likes as you expected. You texted your beloved and she or he did not respond. Your wi-fi connection was down right when you were watching a TV series online. Your flight was delayed for an hour. Your boss asked you to stay at work for two more hours “just to finish that project off.” Your mom calls you 25 times per hour to ask whether you’re not hungry (laughter). These are only some of the possible cases. Of course, these situations can be unpleasant, but what if I told you that you do not need to fight this stress?

Listen to how the word “fight” sounds. Personally for me, it resembles something violent and complicated, and implies I have to do something extraordinary beyond my capacity. So, my choice is not to fight, but to accept and turn the obstacle in my favor. Like in the example with the delayed flight: sure, you might be late, you are nervous, but does it really help the situation if you are still unable to do anything except sit and wait for the next plane? When my flights are delayed, I never worry, because I always have a couple of interesting and useful books with me. Or, say, your boss added some additional work to your schedule. This is a nightmare for sure… or not? You have several ways to approach the situation. For example, you can see it as an investment in your reputation; who knows, perhaps your agreement would positively affect your image in your boss’ eyes? Or, if the boss abuses you with such requests, this might be your chance to learn how to say “No” in the politest and the most delicate way. You might enjoy working in a completely empty office (this is my preference—I love to work when nobody else is nearby). You can come up with any other problem-solution scenario. Be creative! Be creative instead of automatically becoming stressed and dissatisfied.

What I was trying to tell you here is that not any situation we got used to call stressful is a stress. To a significant extent, it is your choice how to react to what is going on in your life; it is you who chooses how to behave and what to do. Most people think like this: “These situations are bad, so I am going to become upset every time I face one.” In reality, all situations are neutral, and only you are responsible for how you feel about them.

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