In times of overwhelm, the common thought is to cut back.
To remove things from your life.
To start saying “no” to things.
That’s not always the best way to deal with stress.
The truth is, most of us are living far under our potential. We’re way under the level of stress, focus, and productivity we could endure.
There’s a common theme that you might have heard about, the 40% rule. The general idea behind is that when you’re saying you’re done, you’re only 40% done. You can handle 60% more, you just think you can’t.
For years, I took the other advice. When I was overwhelmed with work, personal issues, etc., I started cutting things out. I’d cut until there were just the bare bones left.
Did I feel relaxed? Fully zen? Stress-free?
This wasn’t just once or twice in my life. It was quite a few times where I’d do this expecting to feel all this relief, and instead, it just produced more anxiety.
That’s the paradox to this situation. We’re told to relax when everything feels tough, but sometimes the answer is to do more.
Yes, sometimes you truly need to cut back, especially when it comes to most of us and our possessions.
Anyone reading this blog probably wants a bigger, successful, fulfilling life. This doesn’t mean materialistic success, this means true, deep fulfillment.
And to hit that fulfillment, you need more. You’re hiding from your true potential.
Start adding in more hobbies. Ones that make you happy and ones that challenge you.
Take on more work responsibilities.
Expand your friend group.
Try a new exercise routine that pushes you.
As soon as you do, you’ll hit a wall. You’ll whine. You’ll want to take things off your plate because you’re “overwhelmed”.
You’re not overwhelmed. You’re adjusting.
Think of your life like a body. When you start to work out, you’re sore and generally miserable for a bit. Then, one day you wake up and realize your body is craving being active.
What this does for your mind
When you view yourself as someone who welcomes more and welcomes a full plate, you’ll be magnetic to the people around you. Not to get all woo-woo on you, but this is the mentality of people who view life through an abundant lens.
If you’re like most people and you want more friends, more connections, a bigger network, more dates, becoming someone who views the world and their life as abundantly as possible is a rare trait.
Experiencing many things and opening your mind up to possibilities adds more joy to your life and will cut your stress.
Dealing with stress is all about perspective, anyway. There are millions of people who would kill for the stress you complain about every day because their situation is worse.
How this changes your stress
When you have more things on your plate, you’re able to handle more stress once you get through the initial “suck” period.
If you don’t have much on your plate, your partner fighting with you or your boss yelling at you is enough to ruin your week, because those things are all you have in your life. Your threshold is a lot lower because you don’t have enough stress.
It’s like someone who works out a lot: a 20 lb weight is nothing to someone strong, but it is too much for someone weak. It’s just a 20 lb weight. Same weight, different reactions.
The same goes for the stress in your life. Your boss yelling at you will destroy you if that’s all you do with your time. However, if your boss yells at you and then you have kickboxing followed by a hot date that night, you’ll care a lot less.
This doesn’t mean you fill your plate up so much that you never have time to process things, leaving you an emotionless human. It just means you’re able to put your stress into better perspective because you have other things going on.
Life is something you have to experience
You can’t think about having a full life. You have to go LIVE it.
It’s 2019, it’s go time.