I'm going to reveal the #1 cause of the modern world's stress epidemic by the end of this post. Think you can guess it before then?
A Fact with Wow Factor
An early "mid-life crisis" trend is taking hold in the UK. A survey revealed that the phenomenon, previously seen most commonly in 50-somethings, is increasingly commonplace in young adults in their 30s. [Source]
Stress Less Tip
How the heck did stress get so out-of-control?!
A quantity versus quality measure of life dominates the lifestyle of far too many pre-retirement men and women. A college professor of mine often said something along the lines of, "Say yes more than you say no, and you'll find yourself swimming in opportunities."
It took many years of trying to "do all the things," several bouts of burnout, and finally listening to a podcast interview featuring personal development coach Michael Hyatt to make me realize that every time I say, "Yes!" to one thing, I need to say, "No!" to another. I set a new ideal of creating and maintaining a balance of quantity (so I don't feel bored and unfulfilled) versus quality (living up to my life's purpose without neglecting my own health and happiness).
My Iceland honeymoon was the perfect example of prioritizing quantity over quality and saying, "Yes!" to too many things. My husband and I made minimal plans at first, because we rented an RV. At that time, you could park overnight almost anywhere. As the trip neared, however, we be both felt a need to prepare more to get the most out of our time there.
We planned out every day, every overnight stop, every sight to see along the way, every paid excursion, etc. As a last minute gift, our neighbor with some personal connections to a tour company booked us a snowmobile trip on one of Iceland's glaciers. Waaaaaaay to fun to pass up, so we squeezed it in. Barely.
By the time we acknowledged how tired, crabby, and stressed we felt, not a drop of excitement to continue remained. We stopped. We rested. We took in what was right in front of us.
Our resting days turned out to be the only two days the sun came out! We enjoyed several amusing conversations with a local cafe owner, and we stayed in one place long enough to fully experience the beauties of the seaside including more rainbows than I've ever seen in such a short amount of time. Pretty awesome.
Saying, "Yes," resulted in a number of experiences we could check off our list but at the cost of fully enjoying one another's company and this intriguing land of fire and ice. Saying, "No," left us with the best memories. Those warm, fuzzy ones that create pictures in your mind to make you smile for years to come.
It was all the difference between starting our honeymoon off like this:
And ending it with this kind of feeling:
"The only way to keep life from sucking us dry is to change our approach to making decisions... If we're going to get what we want, we have to master these two potent words: yes and no." ~Michael Hyatt
Saying, "No," is easier said than done, I know. If you want to make the challenge easier, get tips from Michael Hyatt himself in his quick-but-powerful article, "Do You Dread Saying Yes But Feel Powerless Saying No?"
Say, "No," to something optional in the next week! It seems like such a simple thing to do until you try it. Then, you realize what a BIG deal it really is. For starters, it gives you more courage to do it again.
If you're worried about what others will think, people tend to accept a polite refusal when delivered with sincerity and transparency. Be bold by saying out loud that you've already committed to X. If you take on Y, too, it's not fair to X that you won't be devoting the deserved effort and attention.
Drive home the point that you'd prefer to fulfill an obligation to Y with the same amount of care and energy. Extend an invitation to check back with you another time. Make them see you're worth the wait.
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