Personal Growth

Stress: Crazy Busy No More

March 27, 2018   /
Jean Caton, MS, MBA, RD

Do you ever wonder why the workaholic is an admired addict, when other addictions are scorned?

Jimmy Buffett’s song asks, “What if the hokey pokey is what it’s all about?”

“Stressed is desserts spelled backward.”—Brian Luck Seaward

This article will provide information to help you achieve ultimate business success without being “crazy busy.” These suggestions can help you prevent stress from stealing your energy, health, and productivity.

The first step
Congratulations for taking the time to read this article. If you are a successful businessperson who is often “crazy busy,” reading this is an indication that you realize “crazy busy” is an unacceptable way of living and that you are contemplating change. Staying high on stress, drama, and adrenaline (crazy busy) unfortunately is a way of life for many people. However, stress is harmful to your health. Controlling stress is as essential to a healthy lifestyle as is nutritious food and exercise. 

Stress in context
These are truly stressful times. But all times are potentially stressful, are they not? Unfortunately, today’s society considers “crazy busy” as a normal, unavoidable state. 

When you begin to think about becoming less busy, you may first think, “Is it possible to reduce the stress in my life?” Not only is it possible, it is critically important to do so. The benefits are worth it. The scientific community is learning more and more about the negative impact that stress has on health. Excessive stress is a drain on workplace productivity. When it comes to wellness, stress management programs are worth the investment. 

What do we mean when we say, “I’m so stressed?” Stress is not real. You cannot fill a box with stress. You cannot put stress in your office rubbish barrel and throw it away. The American Institute of Stress says that no one agrees on one definition of stress, because what is stressful for one person may seem pleasurable or have little effect on others. We all react to stress differently. 

If you were to ask a dozen people to define stress, explain what causes stress for them, or how stress affects them, you would likely get 12 different answers.

Stress is defined as a physical, mental, and/or emotional response to an event that causes tension or an uncomfortable feeling in our body or mind. Simply put, stress is a result of a situation that has an effect on us, primarily because of how we think about it in our mind. We can choose to change how we think and therefore control the stress that we allow in our lives. For example, we think we must do this long “laundry list” of activities. We get so wrapped up in doing things that we lose sight of our values and priorities. Examine your “to do” list and choose only those things that are truly aligned with your most important priorities. 

Frog in boiling water
The frog in boiling water story is a wonderful analogy for what has happened to our society when it comes to the level of stress we consider acceptable. The story states that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water, then the water is slowly heated, it will not jump out. It will die. Translate the message in the story to our inability to notice and respond to a gradual increase in the stress in our lives. Smartphones, social media, instant gratification, and the arrogance of indispensability are resulting in a way of life that is increasingly stressful. The temperature of the water in our lives is reaching the boiling point.


NEXT: Stress is a Choice