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Gift of Stress


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Identifying "Potential"
Focusing on the actual situation, not just a potentially stressful one

Stress: noun - A reaction that commonly occurs when
 your current situation doesn't match your ideal situation.

Sometimes our imagination creates scenarios that take over
our thoughts. We can then become trapped in a downward spiral
of negative possibilities.

1) Realize - ideal situation:
Regarding your apartment, you're only responsible for
yourself and anything you damage, but not for past or
future residence issues.

2) Review - the real-life situation:
Before you moved into the apartment, a prior tenant damaged
the floors a year ago. The two roommates who occupied the
apartment with that tenant are moving out in two weeks. One
has already received her security deposit back, the other
will get his in the next day or two. No one has talked about
who will pay to repair the floors, and you suspect that once
they move out the roommates will not contribute.

You've asked the landlord to send an inspector to estimate
how much the repairs will cost, but he won't arrive until
next week and this is weighing on your mind NOW.

3) Reveal - ideal vs. reality comparison:
You're not liable for any repairs YET. The ideal situation
hasn't been challenged. Something else must be causing this
stress. Let's re-visit Step 1.

1a) Realize - refine applicable ideal situation:
You don't want to be POTENTIALLY responsible for others'
damage to the apartment.

3a) Reveal - updated ideal vs. reality comparison:
You're POTENTIALLY on the hook for 2/3 of the total security
deposit to fix the floor.

4) Stress Release tactics - these will neutralize the effects:
Quantify: You'd rather not use any of your share of the
security deposit to pay for the repairs. But if you were to,
how difficult would it be? What would you have to do to bear
the burden? Could you work a few extra days to cover the added

Diffusion: For the moment, the liability is shared. Discuss it
with all those involved immediately. What is their position
about who is responsible to pay? How much can they contribute?

5) Stress Reduction tactics - these will lessen the effects:
Give yourself credit: Whereas before you'd be unaware of the
liability, this time you saw the potential pitfall. Next time
you will look to assess the risk even earlier.

Pass the buck: Transfer the potential cost of repairs to the
incoming roommates.
** To some this would be unethical, to others, completely
acceptable. The litmus test is to look at the situation from
the other person's perspective - in this case, the incoming
roommates'. If you feel it would be fair and ethical to have
this done to you, then your conscience can be clear. Otherwise
you run the risk of feeling guilt.

As a coach, it is not my job to suggest one direction over
another, but rather to help clients be aware of possibilities
and let them choose their own path based on their values
and priorities. **

6) Remind yourself:
Aside from enjoying a life of lowered stress, you deserve
to recognize and reward yourself for taking the time and
putting in the effort to undo years of harm. Giving yourself
a reminder of what you've learned will help you maintain the
progress you've made. It's easy to skip this step, but that
makes the process less enjoyable, which is the antithesis of
what we're working towards.

What will be your reminder? Pick something that will stand
apart from the little things you give yourself to make this
experience more memorable.

7) Repeat as necessary:
Releasing stress is an ongoing process that gets easier the
more it is applied. With each application of the Seven R's
deeper layers of stress will be revealed and released.

Broader discussion:
Stress vs. Worry

I define stress as a reaction when your existing current
situation doesn't align with your ideal current situation.

I define worry as a reaction when your existing current
situation doesn't align with a potential 'negative' future

(I put negative in quotes because we can't really know what
the long term outcome of an event will be.)

To illustrate:

Let's say you can't swim, and someone's thrown you into a pool.
This would cause stress for a lot of people.

Now let's say you can't swim, but you're walking along the
edge of the pool. Some people would worry about falling in.

What's going to give you an extra boost?
Confidence in yourself that you CAN handle ANY situation.

General Stress Strategy:
Be aware when you're only dealing with the potential for
a bad situation instead of the actual bad situation. The
stakes are much lower. Give yourself that comfort.

It can be useful to have plans to deal with possibilities,
but until the moment arrives you're really only dealing
with probabilities.

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