72 Secrets to Happiness
Secret 8 Stress





Stress is unavoidable and created by external as well as internal sources.  There is no good stress.  If you let it build up it can literally end your life.  Fortunately there are some mental tools which can help you out and if used correctly these tools can minimize the harmful effects of stress.

Stress is actually a really harmful form of reactive thinking.  We all react to things because if we did not we would probably all die young.  You need to react when a car is about to run you over.  You need to react when a fire is burning in your home.  Good reactions, life saving reactions, only make up about 1% of situations which really need to be reacted to.  99% of our reactions are not life threatening and should be thought about a little before just simply reacting mindlessly.

We all  need to react quickly to life and death situations, we cannot just stop reacting to everything.  Reacting is normal and important as discussed above, but we need to learn how to recognize non life threatening reactions quickly and then give them some thought before doing something stupid. 

For instance suppose you are in charge of a young child and that child wants something and starts crying.  This is a case where most of us know the proper way to react is not to scream shut up but to be firm and say no.  And if punishment in necessary it is better to time out than to spank.

But what if you have been waiting for a parking spot for several minutes and someone comes at the last second and because you were blocked that person just took your spot.  If you become very angry which most of us would then you are very likely to do something stupid or a the very least raise your blood pressure to a dangerous level.

Now what if you caught yourself becoming enraged and asked yourself the question, will yelling make me feel better, will it teach the other guy not to cut in line?  Will your anger ruin your mood for the rest of the day?  What if the other guy just did not notice you, what difference does it make what the other guy was thinking?  You need to get another parking space anyway so just let it go and see how good being calm and under control feels. 

There are two mental health rules at work here.  If you are giving and kind then others will treat you with more kindness.  If you were the guy who cut in line just because you could then you are not going to be able to find lasting happiness and others will treat you badly.  Which seems to be the better choice?

There is an old farm slogan that says, "You reap what you sow." Plant happiness not anger and lasting happiness will come your way.  Stress cannot survive if you do not feed it with bad reactions.
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