It is common knowledge that many people live their lives in a constant state of chronic stress. This is a serious problem because it triggers the release of negative hormones and neurotransmitters that play havoc with your health.
But it actually goes deeper than that. Chronic stress means that you are constantly being pushed and thus rather than being able to stop and smell the roses, rather than being able to actually enjoy your life, you end up simply trying to survive it. Not only that, but you remain constantly reactive, constantly reacting to events and thereby unable to actually become proactive and to decide the course of your life and the direction you want to take.
We all have different stressors that do this to us. Some of us are struggling with debt. Some of us are overworked in the office. Some of us have problems in our relationships.
But no matter what the problem, they all affect the body in just the same way that being chased by a lion would. As far as the body is concerned, we are in danger and it needs to produce the right hormones to increase the heartrate, to contract the muscles and to prevent energy from being spent anywhere else – whether that’s on digestion or the immune system.
From a psychological perspective, this means that we are simply burned out and worn out. What many of us don’t realize, is that energy is a finite resource. Many of us think that time is a finite resource but in fact, energy is much more limited. If you spend all day worrying about work and if you don’t get home until late at night, then how are you going to choose the direction you want to go? How are you going to write that great novel, workout, find time to develop your career in directions that excite you?
All you are doing is treading water. And burning out all of your energy, your passion and your vitality.
So, what’s the answer?
Well, overly-simple though it might sound, the answer is to make the choice to focus on things that really matter to you and to stop worrying about the things that don’t. Learn to face your fears and to stop being driven by them. Learn to take the risk that’s necessary if you want to try a new career or write a book.
Say ‘enough’ and give yourself that break. Whatever it takes.