Awake & Alive
How to Reduce Stress

4 Areas to Assess Worry & Reduce Stress

We all worry. Most of us too much. But it’s not worrying that’s the problem, it’s what we worry about that’s the problem. Here are 4 areas where you should evaluate why and how you worry.

You see if you focus on all the wrong things you are likely to cause yourself stress and reach a destination you never intended to go, or become someone you never intended to be. It is because of this that you must always stop yourself when worrying, evaluate if we are truly worrying for good reason, and if not, let it go and change your thought process.

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That said, here are 4 areas where you should evaluate why and how you worry. Worry about this…not that!

1. Worry about competing with yourself, not about competing with others.

“A creative man is fulfilled by his accomplishments, and a competitive man is fulfilled by beating others.” – Laird Hamilton
No matter if it’s against friends, family, or a complete stranger, we are all guilty of stacking up and comparing ourselves to those around us. This is a horrible trap that only leads to resentment and will alienate you from those you think you are competing against. Your life and happiness have nothing to do with the career path of someone else, the attractiveness of someone else’s spouse, how much money others have, the kind of car they drive, or what their title is at work.

Looking at the big picture, the only thing that matters is how hard you compete everyday to improve yourself and your life. If you get up, work hard and do the best you can, that is all that should matter to you.

2. Worry about what you are doing to optimize your fitness and reduce injury, not about how others workout.

Some people like to bodybuild. Some like to crossfit. And others like to run marathons. Similar to item #1, we often worry too much about how others workout. When we start asking ourselves questions like, “Is their way better than mine?” or “Are they stronger than me?” our motives quickly change and we alter how we care for ourselves in order to try and be better than someone else.

There are flaws in almost any workout system and the one that is right for you is likely going to be a lot different than the program that is best for your neighbor. You see this a lot in corporate America; every guy thinks he needs to be a marathon runner or triathlete because heaven forbid his neighbor can run farther than he can. I have seen many guys fall into this trap the second they find out someone they know is into running, and they end up with blown out knees or with foot problems because they put their pride before their health.

Plus, in my opinion, why would you want to compete in who can run the farthest? No offense to anyone, a marathon is a great feat, but most marathoners I know have zero muscle and the strength of a spaghetti noodle. But I digress. Anyway, the point here is this: find a well-rounded approach that works for you and that helps keep you healthy and injury free. Avoid extremes, be consistent and focus on yourself.

3. Worry about eating fewer grains, sugar and processed food, not about following some rigid, qwazi-religious diet.

I put this one on here because this has to be one of the most pervasive things that distract people from maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Never diet. Ever. There are too many rules, flaws in all of them and there is very little room for discussion. Don’t believe me? Look up Vegans on Youtube. Veganism has helped a lot of people achieve a healthy weight, but it has also replaced religion for many.

Diets and diet pushers create rules and belief systems that once ingrained cause guilt when not followed. Instead of succumbing to any diet, simply focus on eating fewer grains and less processed food and sugar. It’s a simple approach and will eliminate 90% of the things you shouldn’t eat, which will help keep you feeling great and out of the hands of the diet cultists.

4. Worry about improving your net worth, not about saving for retirement.

Before the 20th century the concept of retirement didn’t exist. It was created and lobbied for by the annuity companies and other financial institutions in order to get you to lock your money away in accounts that you can’t touch until you are 59 1/2. Not only do they get to collect fees for the bulk of your working career, the government has decided to penalize you 10% if you touch your “retirement” accounts.

What has the result of this been? 60% of the nations wealth is tied up in retirement funds, while 99% of the nation’s citizens struggle with massive student loan debt, credit cards, auto loans and mortgages. Can you image how many problems would be solved if everyone paid off all of their debt, including the mortgages? I think it would be as close to peace on earth as we could come.

What you need to realize is that $1MM in a retirement account is the same as a net worth of $1MM in gold coins or fully paid for house. Instead of worrying about building a retirement account full of money you can’t touch, worry about building a life on a solid foundation built on debt free living, saving and sensible investing. I’m not a financial adviser, but as an entrepreneur I like the freedom of having full control of my money and being nimble enough to use my savings when I need it.

In the end there are a million things to worry about, including the next zombie apocalypse or getting caught picking your nose by a hot member of the opposite sex. Try not to worry about them all though or you’ll drive yourself nuts. Simply focus on the things in your control and remember to ask yourself why you are worrying. The answer to that question can almost always help you find the path you are searching for.

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