Growing up, I was definitely the most stressed out person I knew. I used to believe stress was healthy because it fueled me to work harder to achieve my goals. It gave me that extra boost when I had little energy. I thought it was a big reason why I had some solid accomplishments, because I was willing to work harder and handle more stress more than just about anybody. Unfortunately, this lifestyle caught up with me fast. I had a joint birthday with my brother when I turned 25 and he turned 30. About ten people came up to me who thought I was the older brother.
Since that experience, a lot has changed in my life. A turning point in my battle with stress came when I left the finance world and instead of analyzing stocks, I began to analyze myself. What makes me happy? What exactly do I want to accomplish in my life? What’s most important to me? I asked myself several challenging questions that require deep introspection to answer. The better I really understood how I wanted to live my life, what I wanted to accomplish, and that I had control over how I feel, the stress literally vanished.
Another turning point came only a few weeks ago when three people within the span of a week told me I was “mellow” and “relaxed”. I thought to myself, “How could someone think I was mellow? Are they talking about the same guy who’s a drummer and anxiously taps his leg all day long?” Well, I don’t tap my leg all day long any longer and I’m really no longer anxious.
I thoroughly believe stress comes from within, not from external factors. In addition, we have tremendous control over our mental states and how we feel. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins discusses in depth the ability to instantly change our emotional states. It’s a huge book that’s sometimes painful to get through, but it’s incredibly powerful (I wish they made an executive version!). I used to have the lowest opinion of “self help” books, but it turns out some of them are awesome. The Giant from Within book for example delves into human psychology so you can learn more about what makes you tick and those around you.
I don’t think stress is healthy anymore. Inspiration is healthy. Inspiration is my fuel now, not stress. Are you stressed out? What has helped you decrease the stress in your life?