Stress, like all negative emotions, is a manifestation of fear.  The critical thing to realize about stress is that it is not an external force, rather it is entirely self-created.  Nothing in the universe wants you stressed.

I believe stress arises from four main areas: people, place, performance, or pace.

People, well, are people.  We’re human, we’re bound for imperfection and when those people fail to come through, stress ensues.

Places can often denote memories.  Whether it be a positive experience at your grandma’s house, or a negative experience at your school.  Places can induce a stress state depending on your experiences within.

Performance, or better said, the expectations of performance can also induce stress.  You were supposed to close that deal, or get that raise, or get noticed by that boss.  But when those results are different than our desired outcome, anxiety runs rampant.

Pace.  Some things come at you fast.  Some things take way too long.  A divergence in the desired pace of things can cause an extreme amount of stress.

And yet, I can wrap all of these items up into one big word…Expectations.  While stress can certainly be derived from these items listed above, more to the point is that a variance to our expectations in these four items are what causes stress.  So, it seems proper that we should work on setting appropriate expectations rather than trying to change things outside of our control.

Someone in your life causing issues?  They are who they are, stop stressing about it, change your expectations and accept them as God’s creation.

A place in your life ramping up your anxiety?  Flip the narrative, appreciate something about it, and move on.

A project or situation not meeting your performance standards?  Lower the bar.  Nothing is perfect.  Be thankful for the work that is being done.

Something happening right now that’s taking way too long?  Pitch in and help out.  Empathize with the person causing it, their home life might be in shambles right now.  Everyone has issues, show grace.

Setting proper expectations will help you on your way to a stress-reduced life!