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ADD & Tolerance To Stress

Posted Dec 18 2011 11:26pm

May ADD’ers need to work at managing their stress. Some can’t cope with it, others fall into  a trap of hyper focus and others procrastinate themselves into issues that compound into stressful situations.

I’ve posted previously about the book by Richard Carlson called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. I revisit that book frequently and re-read #19, Lower Your Tolerance to Stress. Here is is: “It seems that we have it backward in our society. We tend to look up to people who are under a great deal of stress, who can handle loads of stress, and those who are under a great deal of pressure. When someone says, “I’ve been working really hard,” or “I’m really stressed out,” we are taught to admire, even emulate their behavior. In my work as a stress consultant, I hear the proud words, “I have a very high tolerance to stress” almost every day. It probably won’t come as a surprise that when these stressed-out people first arrive at my office, more often than not, what they are hoping for are strategies to raise their tolerance to stress even higher so they can handle even more!

Fortunately, there is an inviolable law in our emotional environment that goes something like this: Our current level of stress will be exactly that of our tolerance to stress. You’ll notice that the people who say, “I can handle lots of stress” will always be under a great deal of it! So, if you teach people to raise their tolerance to stress, that’s exactly what will happen. They will accept even more confusion and responsibility until again, their external level of stress matches that of their tolerance. Usually it takes a crisis of some kind to wake up a stressed-out person to their own craziness – a spouse leaves, a health issue emerges, a serious addiction takes over their life – something happens that jolts them into a search for a new kind of strategy.

It may seem strange, but if you were to enroll in the average stress management workshop, what you would probably learn is to raiseyour tolerance to stress. It seems that even stress consultants are stressed out! What you want to start doing is noticing your stress early, beforeit gets out of hand. When you feel your mind moving too quickly, it’s time to back off and regain your bearings. When your schedule is getting out of hand, it’s a signal that it’s time to slow down and reevaluate what’s important rather than power through everything on the list. When you’re feeling out of control and resentful of all you have to do, rather than roll up your sleeves and “get to it”, a better strategy is to relax, take a few deep breaths, and go for a short walk. You’ll find that when you catch yourself getting too stressed out – early, before it gets out of control – your stress will be like the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill. When it’s small, it’s manageable and easy to control. Once it gathers momentum, however, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stop.

There’s no need to worry that you won’t get it all done. When your mind is clear and peaceful and your stress level is reduced, you’ll be more effective and you’ll have more fun. As you lower your tolerance to stress, you’ll find that you have far less stress to handle, as well as creative ideas for handling the stress that’s left over.“

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