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Be Stress-Free: Eliminate 5 Common, Unnecessary Stressors

“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong – sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown

The human mind loves to find things to stress about.

There seems to constantly be something in our lives that causes us to worry. And when the thing that caused the worry disappears, we feel happy, but only for a short period of time until we find something else to stress about.

I’ve witnessed this pattern many times in my own life. As soon as I was able to solve one of my problems, my mind found me a new one.

Compared to other guys, my body is very skinny. It has been that way since I was a little kid. My friends used to tease me because of it. I laughed at their jokes, but inside I always felt horrible.

I felt like there was something wrong with me because I was different.

As I got older I started going to the gym so I could gain weight. Progress was slow since my body naturally leans towards the skinnier side. But slowly I began seeing results in the size of my muscles.

This is, however, where the results ended. I didn’t really get happier with my body at all, which was the main purpose of the training anyways.

I still felt skinny and there was always something in my body that wasn’t quite right yet.

At that point I realized that I was participating in a game that I couldn’t win. My body wasn’t the problem. The problem was what my mind was telling me about my body.

In essence, as long as you are identified and run by your mind, it will come up with “problems” for you to focus on.

Every single time a dilemma is solved, you can be sure of a new one arising that feels equally stressing as the previous one.

The good news is that there is a way to break free from this endless loop of stress. It starts by realizing how pointless and harmful this useless worry actually is.

Once you become aware of the negativity that these thought patterns create, it will be much easier to let go of your “problems” once and for all.

Here is a list of common stressors that are completely unnecessary to carry along with you. The simple act of becoming aware of them is a great start to becoming free of stress.

Stressor # 1: The Time

When we look at a clock, we don’t just see hands pointing to different numbers. We can also see our minds beginning to formulate some meaning relating to the time on the clock.

My typical mind chatter used to go something like this: “Oh wow, its 2PM already. By this time I should have gotten all my work done. I should have woken up earlier, like I said I would last night. I can never keep a promise to myself, can I? Why do I always fail in what I do?”

As you can see, if you let your mind run the show, it will devise some horrible story behind something as meaningless as the time of day.

There is another way. You could just acknowledge that it’s 2PM, and give no meaning to it. Realize that every moment offers a fresh start.

Stressor # 2: Other People’s Opinions of You

Could there be anything more pointless than to stress about what other people think of you?

First of all, it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of you. Some will like you, and others won’t. There is nothing you can do about it.

Secondly, it’s not even any of your business what anyone else thinks of you. They are 100% entitled to their own opinions.

Thirdly, there isn’t even any sure way of knowing what anyone else truly thinks of you. We would have to be able to read others’ minds to get the completely accurate view.

It is basically insane to waste energy stressing about what anyone thinks of you since you cannot control it.

Stressor #3: Being Successful

In your so-called unsuccessful state, do you find yourself envying the people who are successful? Do you think that when you reach this elusive state of success, you will finally be fulfilled and happy?

We have so many assumptions of what our life would look like when we reach success. But we base these assumptions on zero proof, since we haven’t experienced it yet.

Would the world stop turning if you didn’t end up being a success? Most certainly not.

Would you be letting people down if you didn’t become successful? Probably not, since they are busy worrying about themselves anyways.

Can success even be measured?

I say its time to stop worrying about success, and just begin doing what you love to do. I’m doing what I love as I’m writing this post about living a better life.

To this point I haven’t heard of a better measure of success than how happy you are in the present moment.

Stressor #4: Your Age

We cause ourselves a lot of unnecessary pain by our mental labels relating to our own age.

We have a picture in our minds of what our life should look like at a certain age. This picture is largely there because society has forced it onto us from an early age. But we can’t just blame society. We also played a role in accepting this to be the truth for us.

We don’t need to compare ourselves to others of the same age as we are. If we stopped comparing ourselves to others in our age group, there is no doubt we would be happier with being ourselves and more at peace with our present conditions.

Age is just numbers anyway. The eternal part of us is ageless, which means that it never gets old. Relate to that part of yourself, instead of giving numbers the power to affect your mood.

Stressor #5: What Is

Byron Katie says, “When I argue with reality, I lose, but only 100 percent of the time.”

This is the perfect quote to lead us into the most harmful stressor of them all: resisting what is in the present moment.

Many of us are so accustomed to fighting the external environment of the moment that we don’t even realize that it’s optional to do so. Or even that it’s completely useless.

It is this resistance of what is that leads to most, or even all, of the unnecessary suffering that we’re so accustomed to experiencing.

I used to be a great resistor of my life situation. I thought that resisting and fighting it would eventually lead me to happiness, but it didn’t. The resistance only fed itself and led me deeper into more resistance, and thus more suffering.

It’s not until I began becoming friends with the present moment that I began to experience peace.

Photo by Mariyath

Avatar of Juha Kaartoluoma

About Juha Kaartoluoma

Juha Kaartoluoma writes at Prince Awakened on Introversion and Manliness. There you can get his free ebook: Self Reliance: The Man Empowered. And if you liked this article, you might also enjoy one of his top articles: Is Hollywood Robbing Your Manhood?

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  • http://livelovework.wordpress.com/ Chrysta Bairre

    Thank you! I am always grateful for the reminder that I am powerless over people, places and things. I cannot control much of what happens around me, instead I can focus on acceptance and gratitude and make the best life from what I have. I try to celebrate who I am, right this moment, every day!

    I have learned that success is self-defined, and I am successful right now because I am doing the next right thing and I will do the next right thing after that. Whatever achievements I gain because of this process will come from mindfully participating in my life. When I mindfully participate, great things happen!

  • http://livelovework.wordpress.com/ Chrysta Bairre

    Thank you! I am always grateful for the reminder that I am powerless over people, places and things. I cannot control much of what happens around me, instead I can focus on acceptance and gratitude and make the best life from what I have. I try to celebrate who I am, right this moment, every day!

    I have learned that success is self-defined, and I am successful right now because I am doing the next right thing and I will do the next right thing after that. Whatever achievements I gain because of this process will come from mindfully participating in my life. When I mindfully participate, great things happen!

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant article!  Thank you!

  • Karen Mead

    I love this post – I needed to really hear each of these points and especially #5.  Thank you for starting my day off re-directed!

  • Meghan

    Thank you so much for this post. Many of the points you made hit close to home, even the part about body image. Over the past year or so, I have dropped some weight, I look much better than I did, but I am still not satisfied. Now it is another issue altogether, like my muscles aren’t defined enough. I also liked your point about ‘age expectations.’ I’m 24 and a lot of people I know are engaged, married, and even parents. I’m single and just graduated college this spring. I’m unemployed, looking for work, and I’m not sure where to go next!

    Your article was very encouraging and easy to relate to. Thank you!

  • Selina

    That is amazing insight – I constantly struggle with exactly what you referenced. I’ll be doing some shifting in my thought patterns now. Thanks for this article – it resonated well with me.

  • Selina

    That is amazing insight – I constantly struggle with exactly what you referenced. I’ll be doing some shifting in my thought patterns now. Thanks for this article – it resonated well with me.

  • Selina

    That is amazing insight – I constantly struggle with exactly what you referenced. I’ll be doing some shifting in my thought patterns now. Thanks for this article – it resonated well with me.

  • http://losing-civ.blogspot.com Sarai

    Wow – I remember feeling like that too – and you know what? You’re just starting out on the most amazing journey – enjoy every awesome moment of it… you don’t realise it yet, but the people around you are super-jealous of your freedom!! Enjoy it while it lasts ;)

  • Altlaw

    Not exactly realistic for most people who have jobs, children and other obligations to give no meaning to time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mollycmccord Molly McCord

    Thank you, Juha! It’s a good day to remember that the human mind does love to find things to stress about, and how to move past those limiting thoughts. Blessings to you on your journey!

  • http://twitter.com/sriniovasan srinivasan sankar

    This is an absolutely amazing post! Thanks a lot for posting this one Juha!

    Many Thanks!
    Srini

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Juha for this awesome post!

    You hit the nail on the head with all five reasons – and ones that I know I work with myself and my clients everyday.

    Being young and driven, I often focus so much on #3 that I can tend to stop and just enjoy life. 

    Thank you for your inspiration!

    Best,

    Sirena

  • Krazy177

    Man, i felt like i was able to relate with everything this article wrote about. Thanks for the wonderful insight! 

  • Curlysue724

    Thanks, I needed this today!

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  • Smurfxx

    So true,thanks for this.I feel like I need to print this out and carry it in my pocket :)

  • http://www.wiseatwork.net Susie @ WiseAtWork

    Hi Juha.

    So many times throughout the day in our society it’s easy to move to the not-enough mindset. This post is a great reminder that we can recognize and embrace the abundance of ourselves and all life.

    I laughed aloud with the Byron Katie quote! SO SPOT ON.

    Thanks so much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.stefany Lisa Stefany

    “When we look at a clock, we don’t just see hands pointing to different
    numbers. We can also see our minds beginning to formulate some meaning
    relating to the time on the clock.”

    ugh, so true. don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome & necessary to keep track of time, but i tend to go overboard. i used to go so far as to keep track of the amount of time i “moved” during the day, the amount of time in between meals, the amount of time i allowed myself to sit still…etc.

    when i started loosening my grip on time, i felt so much lighter. it was like i had to report to “time” everyTIME i wanted to do something.

    time can be  (and is) a great thing, but when it’s taken too far (like all things), it can weigh you down like crazy.

    thanks for the validation. :)

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  • Meghan

     Thank you very much Sarai :) I know one day I will look back and miss this freedom – thank you for the reminder to enjoy it!

  • http://twitter.com/ever_evolve Juha

    Hey Karen!

    #5 is my “favorite” also :)

  • http://twitter.com/ever_evolve Juha

    Hey Meghan! I’m glad you could relate to the message. I’m about the same age as you and I know exactly what your situation feels like. Just keep at it, one day at a time.

  • http://twitter.com/ever_evolve Juha

    Thanks Molly! The mind really does love creating problems. Now that I’m aware of it the whole thing amuses me. Well, at least sometimes.

  • http://twitter.com/ever_evolve Juha

    Number 3 is a tough one for me also. I’m glad you liked the post!

  • http://twitter.com/ever_evolve Juha

    haha, thanks Smurfxx!

  • http://twitter.com/ever_evolve Juha

    Hey Susie! I totally agree with the lure of the not-enough mindset. 

    When I find myself stressed out, I sometimes ask myself: “What in this moment is lacking?”, and the answer is pretty much always – Nothing is lacking.

    Asking this question gives me a better perspective on things.

  • http://twitter.com/ever_evolve Juha

    I’ve been there too, and it wasn’t fun.

    Sometimes its good to ask yourself who the boss truly is, you or your watch?

  • http://twitter.com/ever_evolve Juha

    The outward success we may have is truly secondary, compared to doing the right thing moment after moment.

    I’m glad you like my post!

  • Callistalicia85

    Thank you soooo much… I am so grateful that i actually took the time to read this, It’s exactly what I needed to hear at the moment, the universe work in such a beautiful way…

  • Callistalicia85

    Thank you soooo much… I am so grateful that i actually took the time to read this, It’s exactly what I needed to hear at the moment, the universe work in such a beautiful way…

  • http://www.OneMansWonder.com Jeffrey Willius

    What a great reminder — Thanks! Especially powerful is the one about “what is.” This really encompasses all the others, don’t you think?

  • Clakesha13

    This blog just made me feel a whole lot better about myself, I don’t feel to bad about a lot of things going on in my life that was bother me, thank you.

  • Melissa

    loved it :) thank you! 

  • Plumbgray

    I really liked that article  very much. Content right on the button for me Thank you

  • http://profiles.google.com/johnevanscs John Evans

    I’d like to be able not to worry about what other people think about me, but unfortunately I have to depend on them for jobs, housing, and so on…I have to worry about whether I’ll have enough money to survive based on how I get along with people. It must be nice to be so comfortable with other people that you can stop worrying and write smug articles about it.
     

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  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi John!

    My name is Lori, and I run this site. I saw your comment, and I felt compelled to hop in here.

    I know how stressful it can when you’re struggling to get by. I’ve gone through many periods of time when I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough to pay my bills and survive. However, I think Juha’s suggestion was to avoid stressing about people’s judgments–not completely disregard feedback you may get from your boss, or to treat people thoughtlessly because you believe their opinions don’t matter. I think there is a difference between treating people poorly because you don’t care how they feel, and treating them well, but letting go of the need to win their approval.

    I also don’t think Juha intended to write a smug article. He’s been a pleasure to correspond with through email, and I trust he has only the best intentions in sharing his thoughts with the community here.

    I hope that you’ve had a nice weekend~
    Lori

  • Secret2be

    Thank you, sending to my daughter who is a lead sex crimes investigator. 

  • Ajay Madan

    5 stress free formula works , but not always, varies for different circumstances

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.stefany Lisa Stefany

    touche, lori.
    ;)

  • http://twitter.com/riduridu Mahmudul Hasan

    This is great  ! 

  • Sally

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom, I just wish that I had found this earlier.  A couple of months ago, I finally quit my job after realizing that with the horrible working conditions and the fact that after only a few months of just getting married, my husband and I were headed towards divorce due to this job.  I felt so happy and soo proud of myself for standing my ground and realizing that, the job was so not worth it.  However this joy was short lived.  You see, I’ve always been a workaholic and now being jobless, it felt like being in a race car; going from 90 mph to 0. 

    I tried to keep busy with cleaning, decorating, cooking and baking (my true passions) but, it wasn’t enough.  I started back up with Japanese dancing again and it too left me feeling like I didn’t belong.  In short I was and still am having I guess an identity crisis, but in a good way.

    They say that when life is really busy, you should stop and smell the roses.  Before when I was working I couldn’t even stop, never mind smelling the roses.  But now, every morning when I take my Timbit (my dog) for a walk around the pond nearby, I marvel at the baby ducks, the different birds fliting about, the different flowers and I always find some thing new that makes me smile and really appreciate life. 

    Not finding job was at first very stressful but, now like everything in life, I realized that everything happens for a reason.  This I realized, happened because I needed to stop and really appreciate everything in my life and especially the people in my life. 

  • Sally

    I just got married and I will be 40 this year.  Just remember, do things when you are ready and not when people or society tells you to.  Congratulations for graduating!!  You will find a job and while things won’t always go as planned, they happen for a reason.  Good luck!!

  • Sally

    I just got married and I will be 40 this year.  Just remember, do things when you are ready and not when people or society tells you to.  Congratulations for graduating!!  You will find a job and while things won’t always go as planned, they happen for a reason.  Good luck!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001642911068 Jen Nguyen

    This post truly hit home. I am like a professional at stressing. I believe I stress quite a bunch every single day, it’s sad really. Even as a child I stressed a lot, growing up in an abusive household. Coming home, I was always stressed out and being constantly scared of my parents beating me for no apparent reason. I always stressed over my body image as I got older..and what other people thought of me, and this all stemmed from how I grew up. I’m never good enough for my parents no matter what I do. I bet even if I worked towards being a surgeon right now, they would still hate something about me. So I simply gave up and stopped stressing over impressing other people around me, including family.

    I gotta admit, sometimes I do still worry about what other people think of me. Growing up, my parents never accepted me – still do not. So I always used friendships and whatnot outside of the house to feel accepted. I always felt like it was the end of the world if I figured someone hated me or found me annoying. It got pretty bad.

    Now I’ve been doing much better and just holding it down for myself.

  • Phatphizzy

    Thank you very much for this blog – I can relate to every word!

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  • tim

    I think you missed the point.

  • Henry

    Thanks for sharing Jen.

  • http://twitter.com/PollyPissypants Clare A was W

    I going to bookmark this post and reference it as often as possible! Thank you it’s wonderful.

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  • http://arnietattoo.com/ Arnold

    Looking at the clock always gives me anxiety, yet I always manage to be on schedule. I stress for nothing. I just need to let go.
    Thank you!

  • Aline

    Good thoughts for someone like me who study something completly different and harder than actual job and cant get a leave from job yet.

    I felt stuck and fight with present all the time. You are right, but sometimes having to dedicate 8 hours to a job I completly have no connection and see no result in real world in terms of real product is hard.

    And comparing to friends who can study 24/7 the disciplines, aiai. But you are right is all about mentality usually.

    Thanks

    Aline

  • Anamateve

    Juha!! I really enjoyed reading your post! So much because i have come to some of the same realizations as well!  Sometimes we give sooo much meaning to what others think of us and, like you say, we waste so much energy into trying to change how they perceive us and by doing that we become unhappy because we are not being true to who we are!! Thanks again :) Right now I’m sitting down reading blogs about things we can’t control and enjoying that instead of becoming stressed out about not being able to change my friends happiness….. 

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ODKWMO4HR74FDNCMONQRV4O7JA datspliffy

    inspiring story jen. absolutely fabulous story, and heart-breaking. Thank you.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ODKWMO4HR74FDNCMONQRV4O7JA datspliffy

    beautiful story. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MUCJGS3PD4BQXPQAR2SCXHJXQE Banjo

    But, it is realistic not to fret over lost time. You make the most of the time you have left, not pretend pretend you can change the past.

  • Kathy

    Wonderful advice!! Thank you so much I feel better already:)

  • Me

    ‘What is’ is. If you fail school you can’t get to college, if you can’t get into college your chances of ‘success’ are slim.

    At least that’s what’s drilled into my head every day. I really hate it.

  • http://emiliciastyle.blogspot.co.uk/ Emily

    This is an amazing article! So very true, I especially agree with #2. And the age one – I always felt that because I’m starting university later than most other people my age range, there was something wrong with me, but it’s just nonsense really. Why should i compare my lives to them and use that to measure my success and where I ‘should’ be? We’re all on different journeys and different paths! Thank you for sharing :-)

  • Kristoffer

    Very good post, as a person with a keen interest on stress and particularly the human psyche – it is enlightening to see a message focused on what we actually mentally can do to prepare ourselves for what life has in store for us. Often you find the focus on what you can physically do, or change, about yourself – like in your example of your body. But as noted, it often just treats the symptom of the problem, and not the actual source. In order to really become stress free, and thereby also get an overall better health, you need to change your entire outlook on the things that are stressing you out.

    Wanting to develop yourself is fine, but when it comes to the expense of feeling bad about the person you are – something is clearly wrong. People more often need to take a minute, hold up, and appraise themselves for who they are. Changing our ways, because we want to, because it would be rewarding. Not because of external demands, other peoples opinions or what society “expects” of you. Or what you expect from yourself, for that matter.

    Stress affects us all, but employing our minds to combat it, we really do have all the tools there already. The rest is just practice, and practice, and practice.

    Regards,
    Kristoffer, from http://howtohandlestress.info