Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stress: The enemy of passion . . . .

The one thing that robs more people of their passion more than anything else is stress......in all it's forms. Let's face it, life is full of stress! Unfortunately, there are several "enemies" that will steal every good thing you possess if given the opportunity. These "enemies" are everyday life experiences, forces, and people who are looking for every opportunity to steal our joy. 

A Readers Digest article documented that 90% of all doctors visits can be attributed, directly or indirectly, to stress. Stress suppresses the body's immune system, interrupts sleep, and makes you vulnerable to all manner of illnesses. You get sick and experience a whole host of other problems related to missing work and the inability to fulfill other responsibilities - and that just leads to more stress. Please understand that all stress is not bad. Stress in the form of adrenaline can work to our advantage. It's what causes us to flee a burning building, to jump out of the way of oncoming traffic, or to complete a project with a looming deadline. But when it's too frequent, it can destroy us by stealing our passion.

The message of Life 101 is that life is stressful, but it can be managed so it doesn't rob us of our passion. So how do we keep stress from doing just that? Here are 6 ways to defend yourself against the attacks of stress:

Many people rush to worry about situations before they have the facts. For instance, when our teenagers are not home by curfew, we become convinced there had been a car crash, only to have them walk in a few minutes late. Wait to worry. More often than not, you discover you are worrying about something that doesn't need to be worried about at all. Once you get the facts, you may be glad you waited.

I'm pretty sure it is safe to say that nobody goes all the way through life without getting knocked down. Some people never get up, and some people get up so slowly it takes years and even a lifetime of anger & bitterness before they recover. People fall down. Winners get up. Getting up and back in the game removes the possibility of stress from long-term failure. Failure is not falling down - failure is not getting back up. When you are moving ahead confidently, you have no cause to be stressed.

You can make a conscious decision in your life to do everything with integrity. When you do that, you inoculate yourself against any stress arising from guilt or shame. I've heard it said by many people that the great thing about telling the truth (living with integrity) is that you never have to remember what you said. If you're the kind of person who tells one person this and another person that, you're setting yourself up for big-time stress. When you speak the truth, you speak and forget about it. It's amazing how much stress you avoid when you play it straight. Do things with integrity, know what is wrong, practice what is right, and make decisions accordingly. Your conscious will remain crystal clear, you'll live without regrets, and, as a result, your passion will remain alive and well.

Keeping up with the Joneses puts us under mountains of stress. We go into debt in order to keep up with appearances and then worry because we can't pay what we owe. Eighty five percent of the conflicts in marriages today are caused by disagreements over finances. No one can live a passionate life when he is worried about bill collectors and bankruptcy. If you want to stay free of stress, stay out of debt. It may take months, even years, to get there. But the freedom of being debt free will allow you to unleash your passion in a way you'd forgotten could exist. 

The fears that lurk inside of us are the ones that keep us from launching ourselves into the great adventure called life! We fear failure, of course - perhaps most of all. But we also fear losing the security of our own inhibitions. We fear losing control, and we fear the future.  We fear living with the tension that exists between what we know and what we don't know - the security of the present versus the insecurity of the future. Some people just can't handle the unknown, so they remain confined to the reality of the past instead of the potential of the future. Life is often like having one foot on the dock and the other foot on a boat that is leaving. We want to leave, but our desire for the safety of the homeland keeps us tentative and indecisive - and often lands us in the water! Did you know the opposite of faith is fear? We have two choices for facing the future: we can face it with faith or with fear. The future is all about the unknown, and we can let that empower us or enslave us. We may not know what the future holds, but we definitely know Who holds the future. Your faith in God will allow your passion to be boundless.

Laughter is a great stress reducer. Next to love, laughter has been described as the second most powerful emotion we can express. It has been said that laughter is like internal jogging - it stimulates the respiratory system, oxygenates the body, relaxes tense muscles, and releases pleasure-producing chemicals in the brain. You cannot laugh and be mad, or laugh and be stressed. Laughter is low calorie, caffeine free, and has no salt, preservatives, or additives. It's 100% natural and one-size-fits-all. 
You can get high on laughter but never overdose. Laughter is contagious - once it starts, little can be done to stop it. Laughter never felt bad, committed a crime, started a war, or broke up a relationship. Laughter is shared by the giver and the receiver, and it's free! If we can find ways to laugh first thing in the morning, it may in fact set the tone for the rest of the day.

When you begin to practice these 6 ways to defend yourself against stress, passion is free to increase. And your life is free to become "better than good."
Condensed from the book 
by Zig Zigler

1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice - funny how often we need to be reminded of these simple truths! Thanks for the encouragement you so articulately share with us in your posts!


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams . . .
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