From prey to predator: remove your stress goggles
There are two different kinds of stress: eustress and distress – or stress, if you will. If you’re suffering from this catch-all for the detrimental effect that arises from not being in control, you are in effect wearing stress goggles – which fundamentally and detrimentally distort your perception of the world.
You’re doing this to yourself
Little known fact: beer goggles and stress googles share an uncanny resemblance. Both have a tendency of distorting reality in ways that can easily lead to very uncomfortable wake-up calls, followed by traumatic fight-or-flight reactions. Naturally, we consciously decide to wear them both with the very best of intentions – yet somewhere along the road, things go awry.
To wear ones stress goggles is to approach the better part of ones day, whether in a professional or a personal capacity, compulsively checking mental gauges displaying a vaguely defined relationship between completed tasks and passed time. Also: a more-or-less omnipresent sinking feeling that you’re behind on things. Note the italics; they’re the important parts.
Those feelings are the symptoms of being out of control. If, on the other hand, you know exactly which tasks you have, their priority and the level of time, energy and attention required to complete them, you are in a position to make conscious choices about your actions.
In the latter position, your view of the world is akin to that of a predator: brimming with opportunities to be chased down. Reverse the tables to the first position, where you suffer from the effects of stress, and your perception reverses equally: you become the the prey; the hunted, with constant vigilance and pressure as your companions in life.
On several occasions, I’ve had people who have battled stress share in my sentiment of the world simply turning a shade of pallour under such conditions.
If you’re doing this to yourself, that means you can fix it
Fortunately, you have the option of declaring yourself dictator of… well, yourself – which is, at the same time, both exceedingly simple and difficult. Regardless: your first order should be to order the creation of a complete, external inventory of everything that used to be inside your head. And I do mean everything, as your brain is clearly not a storage facility. Once complete, this will facilitate the required clarity of mind to make solid, well-informed decisions based upon the resources at your disposal.
In fact, unless someone else demands you complete an undue number of tasks, this may be all you need to remove your stress goggles.
If, however, you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being overtasked, your second most important priority should be to reduced your workload to a sustainable level by any means necessary. This is the difficult part, as you might have commitments from which you can escape easily – at which point it’s time to make some tough decision.
Regardless of your situation, failing compliance with this step will only guarantee a less-than-ideal completion of your assigned tasks, accompanied by a slow yet steady deterioration of your energy levels unto the point where your mind declares bankruptcy. Believe me when I say that this is not a fun place to visit.
Do yourself and your loved ones a favour; remember that you possess ultimate power over yourself, and decide to take off your stress goggles. Life really is too short not to be enjoyed in full.