Do you think stress is normal?
Well if you think so, there ought to be a lot of stress in your life.
So, what’s causing your stress?
General Causes of Stress
With all the studies and research being done regularly, there has been a relatively clear picture about what causes stress.
If we make a list of these causes of stress, it will look something like this:
- Financial issues
- Work related problems
- Health issues (of self and loved ones)
- Personal relationships
- Day-to-day business in life (stress of being too busy)
- Global issues like war, climate change, political issues etc.
If you are a youth, your stress might be caused by yet another set of stressors:
- Academic tests
- Career exploration
- Life changes
- Interpersonal relations
So what’s causing your stress?
You might have picked up one or many of the above causes of stress as your own.
But if I say these are actually not causing any stress and there’s only one thing that’s causing your stress, would you believe me?
The Real Cause of your Stress
It’s nothing other than your mind!
I know what you are thinking, “no not again!!”
But just think for a moment, if improved finances can only take away your stress, why so many entrepreneurs and so called rich people are under constant stress and even committing suicide!
Do you want some examples?
Vineet Whig, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Encyclopaedia Britannica (South Asia) jumped to death from the 19th floor. Police found a suicide note from his pocket that said he was ending his life as he was fed up of himself.
Lucky Gupta Agarwal- A techie-turned-entrepreneur- ended his life by inhaling nitrogen gas due to the failure of his start-up.
Really, due to failure?
If it would have been the real cause of stress and suicides why do we have so many shining examples of failure right from Scientists like Edison and Einstein to superstars like Amitabh Bachchan who faced failure multiple times in life yet became synonyms of success!
Sajan Parayil, a businessman in Nigeria, was found dead at his house in Kottali allegedly after the municipal chairperson refused to issue the required certificates for his Rs 16 crore state-of-the-art convention center in Kerala’s Kannur. He was allegedly fed up with the way he was being treated by the Anthoor Municipality chairperson.
Karl Slym, Tata Motors managing director, allegedly committed suicide after arguing with his wife. He fell from the high floor of a five-star hotel in Bangkok where he had gone to attend a board meeting of the company’s Thailand arm.
Why am I telling you all these?
Because if all these causes were the real causes of stress, we would not have known the most courageous dancer Sudha Chandran who despite losing both her legs in an accident, became an ace dancer and actor too!
And we would not have been inspired by the iconic author J.K. Rowling whose novel was rejected by 12 different publishing houses before being accepted finally!
We would not have got revolutionary Steve Jobs who got fired from Apple, the company started by himself! But he didn’t let stress bog him down as his later ventures like NeXT and Pixar eventually led Jobs back to the CEO position at Apple!
Would we ever know Bill Gates, a Harvard dropout who co-owned a business called Traf-O-Data, which was a true failure. But he turned this failure into the pioneer of success called Microsoft, and became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at age 31!
Walt Disney, a school dropout, rejected from joining the army, a bankrupt businessman and the one who was once fired from a Missouri newspaper for “not being creative enough – yet the genius behind Disney studios is the one who gave generations of childhood memories and dreams, from Snowwhite to Disneyland and to Frozen!
We have so many people stressed about their health conditions. But do we even think of the pain that the great Stephen Hawking went through?
He had a fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord, which gradually paralysed him over decades yet we remember him for his revolutionary contributions to our understanding of the nature of the universe!
Would we adore Amitabh Bachchan who was on the brink of bankruptcy in 1999 when his venture ABCL, faced major losses. The failure of the production, distribution and event management company plunged him into debt of close to Rs. 90 crores. But he paid it all back and is living his second successful inning!
If the earlier list of causes of stress would be real, why did all these great people succeed and write their name in golden words? Why didn’t all of them succumb to the mental pressure and lead an oridnary frustrated life or committed suicide?
What’s common in the above people who did not succumb to stress?
They all master their minds, their thoughts and the story they tell to themselves!
The good news is that you can also become like them!
What can you do to pivot your stress?
Just pivot the thought, the story that’s in your mind!
Instead of telling the story of misery to yourself, tell the story of hope, of solutions!
Is your story like this – “My life is like this only. I can never get out of this financial mess. However hard I try, these debts will always be there. I am going crazy!”
Pivot it to – “I have the essential education, training and skills, rest I can always learn. I can definitely improve my financial condition. I just need to find a way out to pay back all my debts. Everything is going to be fine.”
We have just read about so many people who changed their lives using such kinds of self confidence and thoughts! They pivoted at every step!
Instead of asking, “Why does this happen to me only?”
Ask yourself, “What can I do to resolve this?”
Instead of looking at what you don’t have, look for what you already have.
Instead of saying to yourself, “I don’t have a job, no money, and here’s this pandemic, life is finished” say, “what if I don’t have a job, wouldn’t it be great if I start my own business! Okay, I don’t have lots of money yet I can do something on my own with whatever little I still have! So many people have started and have become successful even during the pandemic. I can also do this.”
You will surely find a way to come out of your stuck situations.
Those who can pivot their thoughts are more psychologically and emotionally resilient. They can move quickly in a new, different direction and create their own paths to success to happiness. They are able to find unique ways to deal with their current situations.
People who can pivot thoughts can move quickly. They don’t linger on the negative things. They don’t also worry too much about the problem. Instead of worrying, they look for ideas and also change them fast if required. They are flexible. They know if this doesn’t work the next will and if that doesn’t the next will.
The causes of stress may seem to be outside there in the world, in your environment but it indeed is inside you- in your thoughts, in your ways of handling situations!
You can respond to stress by staying mentally agile and you can deal with any situation as they occur in your real life.
What to do to eliminate stress?
Next time, when you feel bogged down by a stressful thought, just observe it.
Listen to what you are saying to yourself- what story you are narrating to yourself.
If this thought, this story makes you anxious, worried or stressed, just pivot it!
Pivot it to some hopeful story.
Pivot it to some solution oriented question.
Pivot it to your strengths!
And you’ll see how your mind, your thoughts are in your control.
Just let go of what you can’t control- the pandemic, the recession, the market, the opinion of others – just let it go and pivot what’s in your control- your thoughts, your mind!
Lead a stress-free life! Forever!