Allow me to start with a story: The angel of death was visiting a small town. A guy recognised him and asked, “Why are you here?”
The angel said, “I am going to take life of 20 people of this town day after tomorrow. So I am just having a look around.”The guy got really panicked. Next two days he shared this news with all his friends, family, extended family members; all the people he knew. Two weeks later, the angel of death was again visiting that down and bumped into that guy. This time the guy was very angry and said, “You said it would be 20 people but 450 people died last week!”
The angel gravely replied, “I took life of 20 people. The rest died of stress.’
Yes, we are talking about stress today; the number one silent killer in the world. Is there anyone who didn’t have stress in life? I’m afraid, there is none! Have a look at these facts:
According to the Center for Disease Control/National Institute on Occupational Safety & Health the workplace is the number one cause of life stress – 80% of workers feel stressed regarding their job. Nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress. 42% say their coworkers need help reducing stress. 40% of workers report their job is “very” or “extremely” stressful. 26% said they are “very often burned out by stress” (Yale University).
Stress is responsible for 30% of all disability claims. Stress causes American businesses an estimated $300 billion a year. 60% to 80% of workplace accidents result from stress. Stressed employees spend 46% more on health care. Stressed-out employees have considerably higher health care costs than their more relaxed peers. A recent study found that as many as 90% of visits to the doctor’s office can be linked to stress.
110 million people die every year as a direct result of stress. That is 7 people every 2 seconds! World Health Organization terms stress as ‘the health epidemic for 21st century.’ And the list might go on but I am not going to panic you with these data, rather I'm going to give you a relief that there are three simple ways to handle stress in our everyday life, especially in work life and family life.Let me share a piece of story from my life.
In 2016, before applying for Express Entry Canada, my wife Mouly took the IELTS test and scored 7.5. But later she figured out that if she could score 8 in the total bands of IELTS, that would significantly increase her total marks in Express Entry and that would pave our ways to have immigrant visa. So, she settled for a second IELTS and that really put her into lot of stress. She started thinking all the time ‘what if I don't get 8?’ And she was very restless with this thought and couldn’t properly focus on her IELTS practice and study. It was in July, 2016. So, I thought of talking to her one to one. I sat with her one day and asked, “Mouli, what can be the worst?”
Giving me a weird look, she said, “I may not get 8.”
“And we are still qualified to apply for Express Entry, right? “Right.” Was her answer.
“Then why are you so much stressed? Think about the worst and accept it. Really accept it in your mind. Once you accept the worst, that will make you decisive and composed. And once you are decisive, you'll be able to properly focus on your study and give your best shot.”
Mouli thought for a while with her chin down. Then she looked up at me and smiled with a nod. Later I realised how badly she needed this pep talk. She took IELTS exam on 3rd August, 2016 and scored 8!
Well, to sum up, stress is an inseparable part of our life. It started from the moment when you are born ‘upside down.’ You were stressed and you cried. That was the start. It will be gone when you are also permanently gone from this world. So you can’t leave it but you can manage it with these three simple ways in everyday situations:
1. While having stress, ask yourself ‘what could be the worst?’
2. Except, REALLY accept the worst. When you accept the worst, it will make you calm and composed.
3. Now with this calm and poised state of mind, give your best shot to improve the situation. All the very best!
The writer is a Communication Trainer & Public Speaker