One of my favorite techniques to eliminate, or at least substantially reduce, stress in your life is to always remember, it could be worse. I know this is sometimes hard because your situation seems so bad. At times of stress, some of you may say, “Who cares if it could be worse, my situation sucks right now!” I want you to know that I do understand that you will go through experiences in your life that could easily bring you down, but this first tip is the ignition needed to make these experiences less stressful and even possibly beneficial. It may sound crazy, but once you shape your attitude in this way, you can make the problems you encounter seem like pebbles in comparison to the boulders that you or others have dodged in the past.
There are two steps to this life-changing tip; the first is given here and the next step will be explained in a future blog. Initially, you have to find a person, situation, or story that you consider to be a genuinely catastrophic situation. This will serve as your ‘reference stressor.’ To make your ‘reference stressor’ even stronger, consider using a situation in which the individual eventually overcame the catastrophe and possibly even benefited from it. Here are some examples of good ‘reference stressors.’
If you are religious, Jesus is an excellent example. The Bible tells of his graphic persecution and how he succeeded in surpassing his tormentors for the benefit of all mankind. It is hard to believe that any of you have encountered a stressor such as this.
If you are not religious, don’t worry, there are plenty of other examples of ‘reference stressors’ which can be just as useful. An example that impacts us all is a past war. Tales of tragedy and death stemming from war are easy to find if one simply turns on the TV, reads the news, or surfs on the internet. The men and women who serve our country in times of war come across situations that most of us will be lucky to never even witness, much less be involved in.
Finally, other ‘reference stressors’ can also be drawn from things such as those intimately involved in a terrorist tragedy, a famous sports figure’s triumph in the face of inevitability, or even a ‘passed around the fire tale’ that may or not be true such as the one that follows.
After the horrific forest fires in an unmentionable state, the fire marshals were roaming the burnt remainders to determine the extent of the fire’s damage when they came upon an appalling site. At a closer look, they realized that in the middle of the burnt forest there was a seemingly beaten and bruised scuba diver. In full scuba gear, with a half-full oxygen tank nearby, he lay beside a tree in the ruined forest. “How could this be,” they asked their selves. After further investigation, they found out what happened. Everyone knows the way to put out a fire is with water. And it takes a lot of water to put out a forest fire, so helicopters use gigantic pales to scoop up water from the closest ocean. In this case, the scuba diver happened to be a little too close to the surface and a little too far away from his boat. Needless to say, he was scooped up by one of the large pales and dumped onto the forest. WOW! What could be worse than that?