Not enough stress to go around

A friend pointed out to me yesterday that sometimes it’s a good thing to have more than one thing on your mind because you only have one “pot of stress” and you dole it out to all the things that are stressing you at the time. If you’re only stressed about one thing you can assign 100% of your possible stress levels to that one thing which makes it much harder to keep your life in balance than if you have 3 stressful things weighed at 33.3% each or, even better, weighted for natural prioritization at 50%, 30% and 20%.

I find this a very interesting way of looking at the matter, and therefore an enriching experience. Perhaps thinking of stress this way will help me not to assign the whole pot of stress for something that may not be as critical as my first instinct suggests.

Of course the big problem with stress is when I’ve already assigned my whole pot-full  and then something else comes along that definitely needs to be assigned some of my stress-allowance. I could describe my past reactions to that situation in terms of suddenly realising my percentages add up to more than 100%, in which case they aren’t percentages, which does not compute, therefore brain crash ensues and I cannot function. Perhaps in the future if I think about reassigning some of the stress I can keep all the percentages adding up as they should rather than suddenly falling apart because there isn’t enough stress to go around and I don’t know how to carry on with the new stress as well as the old ones.

So in the future I will be carrying around my little pot of stress. Hopefully most of it will stay inside the pot most of the time, but when it is assigned to things I will remember that there is only a finite amount of stress in the pot and the laws of mathematics insist that I have no more than 100% to use.


  Image: Michal Marcol /


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