A simple question to lower your stress
I’ve been putting more energy than I would like to into fretting over other people’s behavior lately. I was talking to my friend T. about this—telling him about some recent conflicts with people who are peripheral to my life but whom I nevertheless have some unavoidable contact with, and whose actions and methods have been making me crazy. (I’ve also been getting caught up in others’ reactions to those same people’s actions and methods, which makes me even crazier.)
T. works in a corporate environment in which urgency, self-involvement and tunnel vision are part of some co-workers’ standard m.o. He told me that his blood pressure, which has been rising as he gets older, has been a wake-up call and that he’s been rethinking his reactions in order to minimize stress. He said that when a situation pulls at him, “I’ve learned to ask myself, ‘If this person didn’t think it was a problem, would it be a problem?’” He offered the question as one I might want to try.
I like this question. It’s helping. I’ve been using it not only as T. asks it, but also with my own twist: “If I didn’t think this was a problem, would it be a problem?”
And now I offer the question—T’s version and my take on it—to you.