On Handling Stress

Spanish Prof shares the following story:

“Oh,” he answered, “. . . only rarely do I feel stressed out in my job”.

ME: “Really? Because to me, your job sounds really stressful. Do you do some kind of yoga, or meditation, or something that helps you keep stress at bay?”

HIM: “Oh no, nothing like that. It’s just that I used to be an undercover narcotics cop, so I was in situations where people were yelling at me and had guns. Now, every time a client yells at me, I just remind myself ‘S/he doesn’t have a gun,’ and that’s enough for me to stay calm.”

I use this strategy of handling stress, too, and it really works for me. Yesterday, for example, I started freaking out because of some silly document I needed for my midpoint dossier and that hadn’t arrived yet. So I started creating a huge drama over it in my head, even though its existence is far from being crucial for my dossier. In all probability, nobody will even notice whether it’s there or not. Still, I jumped on this opportunity to get hugely stressed out.

And then I remembered the most painful, horrible and hopeless moment of my life and thought, “I got through that and now, when my life is so much better, I’m making myself miserable over some stupid piece of paper? What kind of fool am I, precisely?”

Within moments, I felt such a surge of happiness that I started dancing in my office.