Can the things you love become stressful? Absolutely, but one way to combat this is to do 5% less. Stress is a reaction to stimuli in your internal and external environment that your organism determines to be a threat (i.e unsafe).
The stress response is based on a range of variables, including the severity of the threat, your own past experiences and the volume (amount of threats) among others. The focus of this post is on volume or the amount of stressful shit that you are dealing with at any given time.
Put simply, the higher the volume, the higher our stress load and the faster our behavior, and health begin to degrade. As such, when our stress load is really high for too long, we can get sick, have a mental breakdown or a panic attack. And if this goes on for too long, we develop full blown burnout or chronic illness and become totally f*cked.
Many of the stressors in our lives are unavoidable and must be engaged with continuously. That being said, there are many stressors that are discretionary. These stressors take the form of any voluntary or non time-critical responsibility or project that you have decided to do. For example, volunteering for your kid’s bake sale, or going to your friends dinner party, stuff like that.
Spoiler alert: These tasks may also take the form of things you “love doing.” Things you love doing (like growing tomatoes in your garden) create time scarcity and pressure and compete with other tasks. Those tasks still”need to get done”, as a result your stress response system starts to freak out.
Reduce the Volume
If you imagine your stress load capacity to be like a bridge’s weight capacity, the bridge doesn’t care if it loves the make and model of the cars driving over it or not. There are still too many cars on it at once and too many cars at once causes it to buckle and eventually collapse. The same goes for your nervous system. Therefore, too many responsibilities (which become stressful in volume) are simply TOO MANY RESPONSIBILITIES, and you are going to have a break down.
To avoid this, and to generally feel and perform better, I encourage you to try the 5% Less Rule. If you imagine a balloon that’s filled to 100% of its possible pressure, what happens if that balloon impacts something with even a modest amount of force? That’s right, it explodes! However, if that same balloon is 95% full, when it hits something it is able to absorb that impact, rebound and stay afloat. So, you want to be like that 95% balloon, full but not too full, able to take a hit and bounce back!
Another similar technique I like to practice is going 5% slower. Click here to learn more.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make a list of all the things on your plate. First start with the most significant (job and family) to the least significant (doing the dishes, making dinner). Next, eliminate or postpone anything you can. Find a minimum of 5% and delete it, defer it or delegate it. It may be hard, but I promise you, there is 5%(minimum) that you can get rid of from your life. Just doing the exercise will make you feel great. Not to mention all the non-doing that you’ve eliminated will make you feel awesome!
One last thing:
DO NOT FILL THE TIME YOU HAVE CREATED WITH MORE F*CKING STUFF!
Decompress. Nap. Cuddle. Stare off into the distance. Have someone rub your feet. Paint. Lie in the grass. Soak up the sun. Dream. Float like a balloon : )
For more ideas on how to destress, visit my Youtube channel here.