The following was transcribed from an interview on fear and stress for an upcoming book that is being written in a rapid-prototype / iterative style. Please leave a comment if you’re interested in helping out on the project!


There was a point in my life when stress almost killed me, literally. This happened during what would have appeared to be a very “successful” period in my life. But it was also a very stressful time at work, and the way I handled that stress severely impacted my health—leading to an emergency wherein I lost 40 percent of my blood in 30 minutes and was just minutes from dying.

Since that episode, I have systematically gone about reframing my work—not doing different work but approaching work differently—specifically to remove stress. And the result is that I’m actually much more effective at my job.

Here’s how I got to that point: I was a 29-year-old up-and-coming leader in a fortune 500 company. I was running a couple of teams, and one of them, which I cared a lot about, was being torn apart because of resourcing changes. We needed six more weeks for a project we really wanted to see through, but management was telling us that we needed to disband immediately.

I care about my projects, but not more than life itself. Tweet This Quote

Because I carried a deep sense of responsibility for my team, the conflict caused me to internalize a huge amount of stress. At the time I used to believe that you solved every problem with your head—you just needed to ramp up your focus and intensity. No problem was insurmountable if you could just think harder and work harder. But what I didn’t realize is that constantly ramping up my intensity was compounding into serious negative effects on my health.

And that almost killed me. The nurse said I had lost so much blood that I was about two minutes away from irreversible organ and brain damage. Upon arriving in the emergency room, I needed four simultaneous blood transfusions just to avoid immediate death, and a total of around 8 over the course of the night keep me alive.

I woke up the next day, and a couple different things happened. One was that I didn’t understand why I had become so stressed about all the things that I was stressed about. In what may have been my final moments, those weren’t the things that I really cared about. I mean, I care about my projects, but not more than life itself. The other was the realization that I was alive only because of the generosity of the eight strangers who donated the blood that was now in my body. And given that the human body is mostly liquid, at that moment I was more other people than I was “myself.”

That began a process that continues today. It’s an awareness of both how much we need each other and of the quiet power of generosity and kindness—that intelligence, problem-solving skills, and effectiveness aren’t the only skills that matter.

If you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less. Tweet This Quote

There’s plenty that could be said about that, but I think the more important thing is that I began to reformulate my relationship with stress. And there was a structure to how I approached that. I started with the idea that, since stress actually limits the brain and leaves it unable to work as well, if you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less. That was an important realization: “I care about this, so I need to learn how to relax about it so that I’ll be more effective.”

Beyond stressing about your general workload, if you dwell on the related risks and get wrapped up in thoughts of what could go wrong, you generate patterns of fear that start to seem normal. You get so used to being afraid that you actually start to accept it as a sign that you’re working hard: “Oh, I’ve got to give a big presentation, so I’ve got to be nervous.” That sort of thing.

Ambitious people tend to think of life as a series of high-stakes projects. That’s a dangerous thought process. We need to rewrite that entire dynamic. We need to look at all those situations that we’re stressed about as opportunities to express love and creativity. That sounds touchy-feely, but it’s very specific and scientific. The creative mind is the opposite of the fearful mind in many ways. The creative mind is expansive and parallel; the fearful mind is reductive and linear. So being mindful enough to shift some of that time you spend being anxious into a more expansive and relaxed, creative mode tends to produce better results.

And if you can change your mind in that way, it covers a lot about a lot.

About the author

Tom Chi

Tom Chi

Tom is the CPO and Head of X at Factory building teams that can build anything in the world. He is an entrepreneur, teacher, rapid prototyping enthusiast and part of the founding team of Google X.

  • Erika Tuprio

    It’s so hard to stay relaxed when the pressure on my job is so big. 🙁

  • Tom Chi

    You may have a demanding job, but stress comes from your relationship to those demands, not the demands themselves. Even after this experience, my job was still high-intensity (I remember doing conference calls while recovering in bed), but my first response was no longer stress. Precisely because I cared about helping people through my work, it made sense to bring attention, presence, care, and intellect before bringing stress.

  • Hanna Boyd

    The note you made about the perception that growing in your career is directly correlated with the amount of stress really resonates with me. I’d even say the feeling of conquering stress can be somewhat addictive. I know if I have a big decision or presentation coming up, I tend to dwell on it because when it’s finished it feels all the better that I “overcame the stress.” Definitely time to reframe that idea, thanks @disqus_Wa5SlhFwVi:disqus!

  • Danielle Hernandez

    It has never occurred to me that feeling nervous is a learned act. We only feel nervous because we have taught ourselves that being nervous is equivalent to working hard. How could we as people put ourselves under so much pressure that it could physically hurt us? This is something that needs to be addressed at many levels including the workplace, school, and everyday life.

  • arbrio

    The following video puts managing emotion into good perspective:

    Even though Mr. Sonnen specifically talks about the psyche of a fighter going into a fight, the mindset can be applied to anyone that needs to get something done. It is very important to separate between action and emotion when it comes to accomplishing tasks. There is only so much that thinking about something can do. Actions are what get things done.

  • yencheskcj27

    It is a common misconception that, as you said, you can solve “every problem with your head-you just need[ed] to ramp up your focus and intensity.” Most college students, myself included, buy into this idea, often with many negative side effects. I also liked how you pointed out that there are some of us who take personal responsibility with the tasks we are assigned and it deeply hurts us when we are unable to see a project through because we invest part of ourselves in a particular project. I also really liked your point that being too invested in a project can also lead to anxiety, and that we need to remember to cherish life more than our current work projects.

  • Amanda Wood

    This article hit home for me. I have been coping with Anxiety and Depression for about 6 years now and recently have been extremely sick due to my exhaustion from anxiety and stress. I have learned that life is not to be looked at like a grain of salt. The world is full of opportunities, but there is only one of you that can survive. Therefore, dealing and learning to cope with problems like anxiety, depression, and stress should come first before anything, even if the job can make or break your life, because without your health life is non-existent. It is extremely important to understand that life is valuable and if things are not right an individual should stop and understand themselves and their bodies before pushing themselves towards a rock at the end of a cliff. We as individuals get one body and one life, but that doesn’t mean there is only one path and one direction.

  • Camillewuensch

    I love this article. It hits home for me. I work two jobs(McDonald’s and a tanning salon) which I am managers at both and go to school full time, so I have so much stress it’s not even funny. Both places have different types of stress and it’s hard. At the tanning salon you can say that it’s “my store”. I’m the one that deals with customer complaints and trying to fix people’s accounts, I also do most of the advertising and getting the company’s name out in the community. On top of if the numbers are not doing well it falls on me to fix or change things to get us back to making more money. I stress so much over the store because I care about it and all the girls I work with and everyone that comes in and tans with us. I never really realized that if something we love so much could get better if we don’t stress about it. I will save this article and try to change my way of thinking and how I deal with stress about things from now on!

  • sgawinski

    I think this is a good article reminding people to take a deep breath and not to stress about something even if they think it’s very important. We stress about simple things, and we stress about a lot of things. I think if we work to “care” about things instead of “stress” about them, it’s basically the same idea but one is way more healthy. Stress is kind of a result of caring about something too much.

  • ReneeKirch19

    This was very inspiring to read, thanks so much for sharing! I could not have read this article at a more perfect time. Stress has been a big part of my life right now as I am transitioning from my college graduation to the broken path of my unknown future. Your words, “If you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less”, mean a lot to me and I’m sure to everyone else who has read this article as well. Stress is a big part of our lives, and it’s something that will never completely go away. What other things did you do to help with controlling the stress you were carrying? I know we are all taught specific coping methods when it comes to dealing with stress, but often times they don’t always work. That’s why it is so important to learn how to deal with stress and manage it in a more effective way. Reading what you have said makes a big difference in my thoughts about my stress and what is going on in my life, so thanks again. This will stick with me!

  • Taylor Schaeffer

    I relate so much to this article in that I stress a lot and tend to fear things because of what could go wrong. I love the quote “if you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less”. I have a problem with becoming pretty stressed out sometimes and I really like the idea of taking situations that I am stressed out about and thinking about them differently and I think it could help me out a lot.

  • ehannafin

    Wow! I too can relate to your experience. I used to stress over everything at work. Worried about performing and delivering quality work everyday. One of the more senior engineers on my team saw that I was working remote after hours. The next morning he pulled me aside and asked what was so important at work that I needed to up at midnight working on it. I said that I was answering emails and preparing spreadsheets. He responded with “if you worked all that extra time, does the work go away?” “No, it never does”, i replied. “Then why stress yourself out over it? You can only do so much in one work day and it’s not worth sacrificing your time away from work.” And that’s when it clicked for me and the stress was lifted. I think the hardest part about working is managing my work-life balance.

  • JeremyWahl

    I can relate to your story in that stress can cause a lot of fears. The biggest fear is what or when things will go wrong. I have the problem of over thinking. When I over think situations, i know that the situation is not that urgent but i always think what if things go bad. i hate the “what if” mentality but it always happens to me. I think it is important to have trust in the people around you to have your back. The best cure to over thinking is to be confident. I like your response to stress by changing your mentality.

  • JeremyWahl

    I can relate to your story in that stress can cause a lot of fears. The biggest fear is what or when things will go wrong. I have the problem of over thinking. When I over think situations, i know that the situation is not that urgent but i always think what if things go bad. i hate the “what if” mentality but it always happens to me. I think it is important to have trust in the people around you to have your back. The best cure to over thinking is to be confident. I like your response to stress by changing your mentality.

  • Theresa Fitzsimmons

    Thank you for sharing this story. I think the information you shared is important because, like you said, people become used to the “patterns of fear,” that they face on an everyday basis. It is important to think differently and in a more creative way. As a college student, the knowledge you shared about stressing less, is important because a lot of college students don’t know how to manage their stress or don’t realize how they got so stressed. I do think that stressing less starts with the way we all think, but are there any activities you do such as yoga or meditating to deal with stress?

  • eayala3

    Stress is a dangerous thing, I never thought I would ever find myself fighting stress because I was an organized, and calm person. But stuff happens. Then things begin to build and pile up, and it becomes overwhelming, and that feeling begins to overpower you. When ever I get to that point, where my mind is out of control and I feel like breaking down, I just stop. I stop everything I’m doing, turn the lights off, lay on my bed, and listen to my music.

  • Kaylee Raucci

    I’m often stressed. About the little things and the big. It gets in my head and controls my days sometimes. Your article helped me see the light, and realize that I can come two minutes away from death if I keep stressing myself out. Stress does cause fear, I don’t know of any stress that doesn’t. What needs to be done is finding ways mentally and physically to stress less. Or the things I care about and are stressing about will seize to exist. So my question is how can us stressed out people cope with our stress in healthy ways?

  • rhildner

    I usually tend to think that working under stress or pressure makes me more efficient, and makes my work better. However, that’s often not the case, but I never change my strategies. This article is very enlightening, and provides great ideas about stress that I had never considered before.

  • Cossioj14

    This is a great article. Stress is a common occurrence in college for students that have multiple classes and hold a job at the same time. I liked the idea of approaching your work/school work in a different fashion. Sometimes we get stuck in our on way and its unhealthy for us, a little change of approach can alleviate stress. Changing the mind set of being nervous because something is big or important to saying lets give this my best effort because I care about it is great attitude to live by.

  • danac501

    Thank you for sharing this article! This article caught my eye and I was excited to read about it because it has to do with stress. I am a person who is stress out a lot and I easily get stressed. I have heard many stories of stress taking a toll on your body but never a story on how stress can kill you. Your story gave me a wake up call and I thank you for that! I always stressed about getting all my homework and studying done but now I see if I am stressed about getting it done, it wont be done to the best of my ability. So I am going to take a step towards completely my homework with out stressing but starting it earlier so I have time to get it done. I do have one question did you notice any signs of going downhill before you ended up in the hospital?

  • Garrett Nelson

    Thank you for sharing your remarkable story! Incredible what stress does to the body, but wow I did not realize it had the power to kill you. Of course we all need some sort of stress in our daily lives to be considered “healthy,” but only so much of it at once. The more we build up stress and anxiety and the more we think about how stressed out we are, it only seems to make it worse. I agree with how you say we need to take stressful situations and look at them as opportunities to express love and creativity. The creative mind is expansive and parallel is a great way to put it, rather than being uptight and anxious about any sort of stress you may encounter. Very interesting to hear how destructive stress can be to someone, which begs the question on how this is physically possible? How can you possibly loose that much blood in your system through an overload of stress? Are there any other severe symptoms that show an overload of stress in the body? Thank you again for sharing!

  • Luke Drumel

    What an amazing story! That is absolutely crazy that stress almost killed you, and was a tremendous factor to your health. I’m extremely happy that you shared with us that when you were so close to death, the things you cared about the most came to you were the 8 people that donated blood. It’s unbelievable true that we need others more than we’ll ever know.

  • Alise Brown

    This really puts things into perspective, whats really important? And what is worth the stressing? I think that everyone has things that created different levels and we all know that there is a limit on how much we can handle. Things aren’t suppose to stress us out to the maximum.

  • karinaz10

    This article has really created a better perspective for me. I admire your realization. I myself lead a high stress, high anxiety lifestyle. It is not until recently becoming a part of a stress management course that I have realized my stress and anxiety are unhealthy. It is hard for me, but I am slowly learning, much like you, how to choose wisely and handle stress differently. Thank you for your insight.

  • Kelly Martin

    This article really has opened my mind about more ways to handle stress. I often get stressed out over many things and I like these tips that were given. Stress is a dangerous thing and it makes people do crazy things. It also forces unhealthy behavior for the person stressed and others. Thanks for all of these tips, they are very beneficial for a new way to look at things.

  • hasselbemj31

    You have really helped me a lot with this article so thank you. You have really opened my eyes about stress and dwindled it down to something that seems so complicated to something so simple. If you care about something, stress less about it. I have always been someone who gets really nervous and stressed out about exams. As the years progressed I realized that more nervous I was the worst I actually did on the test. The only thing I would concentrate on during the test would be how my hands were shaking or how my stomach felt like butterflies. This took my focus off the test itself. Stress isn’t good for anyone especially when it leads you to the E.R. Since I have graduated high school I have got a lot less stressed on exams but it is for sure still a work in progress. I hope to one day not be stressed at all when a have to take exams.

  • Skowronssj06

    This article really opened my eyes about stress and how to handle it. I get stressed very easily being a pre-med student. I get stressed over big things and little things and don’t handle it the right way. So thank you for sharing your story and giving great advise like, if you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less.” I really care about my future, so using the tips and advice from you will help me reduce my stress.

  • Kristina Padlo

    This article is an eye opener. Stress is talked about so
    much and we all know it causes health issues but you never think it can happen
    to you. Most of the time we don’t even know we are stressed, like the article
    mentions we just associate this anxious behavior as normal. It was so helpful
    to learn how to approach stressful situations differently. “The creative mind
    is the opposite of the fearful mind”. Just knowing this and being able to think
    about it is helpful. Now I am more aware of what I can do or try to do under
    stress versus thinking its normal to be so nervous.

  • Carly Konkol

    As a college student, I think I speak for a lot of us when I say stress is a significant part of our lives. Deadlines, papers, exams and projects swimming around in our heads. As a senior, I can say my stress management skills has improved ten-fold. If I look at my assignment notebook and begin to feel anxious, I will lay down with my cat, call my mom, exercise or go out to lunch with a friend. Something that is completely unrelated to what is stressing me out. That way, I can come back to the stressor with a clear mind. I also have learned to look at one task at a time. It is easy to look ahead to the rest of your week and worry about what all needs to be done by Friday, but if I look at what’s due first, complete that, then move on, my stress level is much lower. Thank you for the post and your insight. I enjoyed reading it.

  • Brad Vogel

    I, as a college student with probably the most unconventional career goals known to humankind, can say that the struggle is real. Often times I see in myself instances similar to what is written in this article where the passion to succeed can at times consume us and by the time we realize it, it’s nearly too late. I think though that one of the biggest problems though that will continue to pave the way for stress of that magnitude is the cost of living and the fact that today’s society no longer believes in “haste makes waste” and “work your way up” type of career behavior anymore. Until we find ways to foster that these stress problems are not going away.

  • ryanhaberer

    This article really hits home for me, I know I used to constantly be overly stressed about things and it drove me almost crazy. I have learned that stressing over things does nothing positive for your life and will only hinder your chances of being successful.

  • earose14

    This article can relate to most college students. I feel as if I am stressed all the time. This article helps people to realize other ways to handle stress and life is more important than what your stressing over. When I am stressed I feel like I cant accomplish anything because I am so frustrated over things that shouldnt be worth being stressed over. If people find a solution how to not get so stressed you wouldnt have as much of a problem as this article seemed to show. Thanks for sharing it was very interesting!

  • thompsonjm99

    Very interesting article. I can relate because school and work stresses me out on a daily basis. Stress can ruin an entire day because i tend to lose my appetite and motivation to do physical activity or school work. I agree with some of the tips that you have given because I use some of them in order to relieve some of my stress. I believe stress is inevitable. What would be the best way to prevent stress?

  • mankobj22

    I think that a lot of people can relate to this article at least in the sense that they too have felt an extreme amount of stress at some point. But I think you offer a very unique coping strategy that isn’t often discussed. Sometimes you just need to relax, even about the things that you care about most, in order to achieve the results that you so desire. It may seem counter intuitive, but it will work. Stress can be one of the worst and most difficult obstacles to overcome. Try to de-stress and try to relax and you may find yourself being more productive than you thought.

  • Charles Fischer

    Great article that can be related to current college students, and recent grads, entering the job market, sometimes for the first time. They need to remember to take the time to take care of their body and mind.

  • Kent Miehe

    Thank you for sharing! Being a college student, stress can greatly effect my everyday activities. It can take control of my life sometimes, as it did for you once. I agree that if we can not stress as much as we are accustomed to, then we will be able to enjoy our lives so much more. How can I help a friend not to stress as much?

  • James

    Right now with school, football and just life in general you could say I am a little stressed out. Many of these things I make up things to be stressed about and like with your story those would not be the things that i would have been thinking about. This is a very inspiring article and I hope one day I can reach this level of thinking.

  • Hillary12

    This is a very interesting article. I understand not wanting to get so stressed out over something that you could potentially lose your life, but I’ve always felt like I work better with a little stress. I’m definitely a procrastinator, but I think it’s because having minimal time to do a project increases my concentration and actually gives me better results. I’m more stressed during that time, but I make it work and efficiently get the job done.

  • Kyree Brooks

    I thank the author for such an important article and for their time. It is very important to take care of your body and not to be stressed. Some times life moves so fast and we are so caught in the moment, we forget to breathe. Especially as a college student, you never know where your life may lead. It gets hard and you begin to crumble inside. Where will your future lead? How am I able to deal with being under pressure of my future?

  • Jessica White

    Stress can certainly take a toll on the body. I’ve also experienced the health issues that stress can do to the body. My experience wasn’t nearly as bad as yours but it certainly still gave me a wake up call. As a student in college, I stress over money, work, grades, family and more. Being in the hospital put things in perspective of what I truly saw as important, what needed to be stress over and what i needed to change so I don’t stress over it anymore or as much. Time management was a big thing that I needed to learn as well as prioritizing. This is a great article to bring up to future entrepreneurs.

  • shackletka05

    Thank you for sharing your story! The message you are portraying speaks very loudly to me. It is very easy to get wrapped up in thoughts about what could go wrong but it is thoughts like those that hold you back. I do feel the need for a small amount of pressure because I believe it pushes me in some ways but it is handling that stress in a positive way rather than allowing it to take over.

  • Alex Prailes

    This definitely opens my eyes majorly on how stress can actually change your body. I think everyone kind of understands that stress is not good for your body and doesn’t feel good when were stressed, however we don’t understand directly how it can impact us. I know sometimes when I stress I often think that if I just push through all the stuff I have I can finally relax, instead of looking at different ways to approach all the things I have to get done so I don’t stress so much.

  • LeiderGM20

    Thank you for sharing your story on stress! I’ve always been told stress can be harmful but I never realized it Co old be that severe! But I feel like it is very hard to change peoples way of thinking about stress.

  • knapprl17

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s interesting to see how stress can have such a negative impact on your life when you bottle it up and just keep piling it on. I believe it is important to minimize stress where you can. At the same time is is just as important to go after what makes meaning in your life even if it causes you stress rather than just avoiding discomfort. You have to trust your body to take care of the stress and talk to people to relieve some of that stress.

  • d_millyy

    I love this article and am thankful for your story. Stress is something i’ve spent the last two years really looking into because it can do so much damage to our health mentally and physically and you may not even know it. I like to this of STRESS as the silent killer. My question for you is what are 3 things you do when you feel you are under a lot of stress to help you kind of relax, and see the bigger picture.

  • Shaquille Boswell-Downey

    If you change the way you see things and approach them it could really reduce your stress. when you open your mind to everything and accept all the stressors in your life it cause a huge amount of stress and thats when the stress kicks in. What you wanna do is take deep breath and the it one at a time and things will get better and you wont notice all the stress at once.

  • Kyle moore

    Stress is such a big part of everyones lives now because everything runs on time and money. I feel that if the mind and body can control those things and understand that that is truly not how the world works, then maybe your mind can be at peace. The ability to meditate or even just breathe deeply for a period of time I believe can help reduce the stress given to you.

  • SeanMcBride23

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your message really resinates with me. I think that it is very important to realize that the way that you approach work can really limit the stress you place on yourself. “Ramping up your focus and intensity” is not the best way to approach a situation. I often find, and I assume others do as well, that this is the first approach to tackle stressful situations. Your article and story really puts things in perspective for me.

  • tyler

    I found this article very easy to relate to, Thank you! I personally am someone who always is worrying, and gets nervous about things that are not even worth stressing over. It really is hard to not worry about situations because this is what we have been taught. Whenever you have something big coming up, we have made ourselves think that if we do bad something will happen and this is why we become so nervous. I am slowly learning how to not be so nervous over every little thing, I am only stressing myself out more. We place so much pressure on ourselves that we make ourselves sick it is horrible! Your article has really helped me to see that being this stressed can literally bring me so close to death and I do not want that! Stressing less is easier said than done, but I am working on it and this article only made me more motivated to work on it. What are some good stressing techniques?

  • Glassborow

    Thank you for this article and sharing your story. I am definitely one of those people who stresses over the smallest of things, and I know I definitely get side effects from it, for example I used to get stabbing pains in my head which obviously worried me a lot, and after a visit to the doctor he explained it was stress-related which surprised me…I didn’t think stress could cause things like that to my body! I think one of the things that can cause people to stress a lot is confidence – I know this is definitely true for me, like when I have an exam I worry I can’t do it which makes me worry more, its a vicious cycle. People need to take care of themselves more by having more time to relax and de-stress. What ways would you recommend to reduce stress levels?

  • Caleb Franklin

    I think anyone can relate to this article because we all have plenty of stress in our lives caused by many different stressors. I really liked the point you made at the end about getting wrapped up in thoughts about how something can go wrong. I know I tend to focus on the worst case scenario and assume said scenario is going to happen, and this causes stress overload for me.

  • Adam

    Thank you for writing this article. Stress is a part of life that everyone has to endure in their lifetime. Although what is being stressed about is normally an important part of life, it is good to know that your body and health is more important. No one can perform their best when they are under a lot of stress. It not only takes a toll on your mind but the body as well. If more people knew how to handle stress, it would make it less of a negative feeling.

  • Eric H

    Thanks for the article post. Everyone in their lives stress about large scale things and small scale things. It is up to us to cut out some of our stress and focus on the important things of life. Being a college student, stress is an everyday occurrence. I help manage it by taking time for myself and relaxing. If I was so bound up with stress, I would hate myself.

  • Schudakp21

    This was a really good article. Stress is a very big aspect in life and everyone has it but no one knows how to get rid of it. You can’t be productive if you are stressed out or at least as productive as you can be. Most people know that they are stressed but work right through it anyways. Stress is mostly about mindset and worrying less about stuff that is not important can really help. Stress can also be very damaging to your health which people do not realize.

  • Dannielle Wagner

    There are times in my life where I can just feel the stress building…and I used to hold that dangerous state of mind that nothing is more important than this big project…it determines my future and blah blah blah…but really what kind of a future am I going to have if I am working and stressing myself literally to death?? none. because dead is dead. A certain amount of stress is good, but almost bleeding out because of it…yikes. This article helps reinforce the idea that sometimes we all need to take a breather…just a little break to de-stress.

  • Dannielle Wagner

    agreed! Sometimes stress is just over powering and yes taking time to re-center yourself and chill out is completely valid. Some people think that taking a break means that your lazy or not ambitious but tell them that you’d actually like to be alive to see tomorrow and not kill yourself with insurmountable amounts of stress.

  • Dannielle Wagner

    I agree, this article reminded me to slow down and re-evaluate what is really important…and that is actually living through stress to see another day.

  • ReneeKirch19

    Yes I agree, thanks for sharing! Stress is something that is often to familiar to many people, but it very normal. Stress is apart of every body’s lives, and there’s no way to avoid it, there is however multiple ways to try to keep it at a minimal level. As a college student, I come across a lot of stress, but I make sure to do things that bring down my stress levels such as exercise! What do you do to keep your stress level at a minimum?

  • hmcavey

    What a easy article to relate to. I constantly try to push myself in every avenue possible. There are so many instances where I find myself stressing out to the point my stomach knots up while simultaneously thinking why in the world am I stressing about this issue? It’s simply not worth the toll it takes on your body and mind.

  • SasCas116

    Thank you so much for you post Tom. I wish I could tell you how stressed I am, and how it’s really affecting me. This was probably the easiest article to relate to because it’s so true! One thing I learned from your article is that if you care about something you need to stress less. I never thought about it in that way before, instead I just put more effort into it which caused more stress. The true desires of your heart will reflect within your life. Thank you for this encouragement in a time that it was truly needed.

  • SasCas116

    I completely agree with you Adam, in saying that you really can’t get much done with the load of stress on you! It isn’t easy and it’s like your fighting against something that much more, which is so bad for your health. I choose my body over stress! 🙂

  • B Keng

    True! College is stressful in general. It’s the time in our
    lives where we deal with school, family and relationships, But if you don’t
    take time for yourself, you’re just making yourself prone to a hectic life.

  • Jansscor16

    This is a great article, that serves as a reminder to not get caught up in the stresses of everyday life. Stresses will come, but I love your idea about expressing our love and creativity. There is no use in getting worked up over the little stresses, because stress can have detrimental effects to our health. This is very helpful in school, and I can directly use this when I begin my career.

  • Vanessa Roman

    I’m a college student and this article will definitely help me cope with stress. Coping with stress is important because we will face it in many situations.

  • silena_eve

    Its silly how we automatically assume we need to be stressed about a intense work load! I was just expressing to my friend the other day that I couldn’t hang out because I had “SO much homework to do.” Although it was true, I was getting over stressed about a thing I could easily handle if I put my mind to it. Its not like I was going to die from that week! I needed to take a step back and look at the whole picture and figure out how to manage the stress. School and work are only stressful when I choose to let them be. Thanks for the great article! I’ll definitely be paying attention to my attitude towards stress from now on.

  • adrianaferreyra04

    This is such a good life lesson. We need to understand that sometimes things happen for a reason and we are forced to abandon ship. Stress hurts our bodies so much. It is shocking to see that it almost killed someone. We need to learn how to spread ourselves out more and not bottle everything up. We aren’t super robots. It’s important to take a step back and take a deep breath every once in a while. We must continue to keep a balance of chemicals within our bodies.

  • rntom

    Wow, I learned a lot about stress in one of my classes and I definitely changed a lot of my coping techniques to deal with stress. Now that you’ve experienced it to such an extreme I’m more aware about how it affects overall health.

  • Katelyn Vaughn

    I agree with your comment! I tend to bottle up my thoughts and my feelings a lot and it is something that I need to work on because stress is definitely becoming an issue. I also agree that people need to realize that everything happens for a reason, and even if something bad happens to you maybe something great will happen for you later in life.

  • rall1

    It’s difficult to adjust one’s mindset away from a “high risk, high reward” mentality to one that finds meaning in the simple creative expression of oneself. I think the sentiment expressed in this article is paramount to not only maintaining a work/life balance but also finding a way to simply enjoy the work you do.

  • Julia

    I actually enjoy reading articles or tips on eliminating stress from your life. I believe in order to be truly happy and satisfied, you must have a low amount of stress or at least be able to cope with it. This article is interesting because it shows you how stress can physically affect you. Most people think stress is only a mental issue- that you are driving your own self crazy. In reality, it impacts the body as well. We have to be able to handle stress in a healthy way, especially as a college student.

  • bdelbian

    I completely agree Julia. If people took the time to even do just a little bit of research on the affects of stress, both mentally and physically, they would probably consider re-evaluating their lives. I won’t say that I am a master at handling stress because I am still learning and I have certainly had my share of breakdowns. What I do know, is how simple it can be to eliminate unnecessary stress when you take some time to really stop and think. I don’t necessarily always mediate, but I find that it is useful to just find some time during the day, especially on the days where I do feel some stress coming on, to really just think about all of the things going on in my life and prioritize. I have found that this helps me focus on what is really important and to realize that what I am dealing with is not as bad as I thought.
    Also, positive is very important in eliminating stress. A positive attitude is a sure fire way to allow yourself to keep moving forward despite the obstacles you may be facing.

  • struckml03

    Wow, this was a crazy article! First off, what made you lose all that blood? Like how did it start? I know everyone says stress is so dangerous for you and can cause a lot of problems, but I didnt realize it was to that extreme. This is scary and something to focus on. Lately, I have been experiencing significant amounts of stress and I have no idea how to control it or where to turn. It seems like it all of a sudden just creeped up on me and took a tole fast! I really like how you said if you dwell on the things and get wrapped up in the thoughts of what could go wrong, you generate patterns of fear that start to seem normal. I bet that is what is happening to me. I instantly freak out over things and find myself more depressed and stressed than not lately. Ive been searching for an answer and I guess to refocus my mind is what I will have to do. How do you reverse if you already have created those patterns of fear?

  • Caroleigh Perkins

    I agree with you. This article definitely puts into perspective what can happen physically if someone lets being stressed out go too far. It’s very scary. I’m glad that through his experience he has found a way to create awareness so that hopefully what happened to him does not happen to anyone else.

  • kellydieball

    Dont stress!!!

  • kellydieball

    I agree!!

  • kellydieball

    I agree too!

  • kellydieball

    I always get stressed but planning out my day helps!

  • kellydieball

    🙂

  • Brad Moule

    Amazing. Stress takes a toll on each of our bodies differently. I myself have an increasingly difficult time managing stress. While I was in the US Army i collapsed and was rushed to the ER. the doctor showed that my body such as my liver was shutting down, as if I had a great amount of liver damage. The only things the doctor could come to is that I stressed out my body so much that it did not know what else to do. I was 24 years old, stopped drinking alcohol, no smoking or drugs for over 2 years and this is what happened. People including myself really need to find an outlet and just relax to insure that our well being is being taken care of properly.

  • Sara_Kay0316

    Glad your okay! Great story to inspire others. Stress is a very stressful thing, if you will, in itself. I know some individuals that can be very physically healthy but mentally the stress eats at them. I often get caught up in this. I realize that sometimes there is such thing as good stress but over worrying about things out of my control or things I could have more control over are the things that need to be re evaluated in my life. I am a huge procrastinator and it has served me good in college but there are times when I really wished I would have started something way sooner and it causes me high levels of stress, often spiraling out of control into bigger issues. I think taking a step back and utilizing a useful outlet such as a simple breathing exercise or yoga class my stress level might decrease greatly.

  • epmcinty

    Probably one of my favorite articles I have read thus far. First of all thank you Tom Chi, and glad you are okay now and have not only created such a better lifestyle and mentality, but for sharing it with us, people who have feelings too and are overwhelmed by the everyday stresses exuded on us. I agree it is very important to take what you can handle. Know your limits and only do what you can handle and put your entire soul into. It is true that we must transform our thinking and put the energy we put into being anxious and stressed into relaxing and realizing how important the task is to us and that we are better off taking a chill pill and exposing our best ideas possible. It is crazy how influential our minds are, and we create almost everything through our thinking whether we are aware of it or not. Thanks again Tom, all the best, look forward to learning more from your articles!

  • Kayla Martin

    This is a great article. I used to have a problem with over stressing about things. Then one day I just decided not to stress so much. I used to make myself sick I stressed so much. I never wanted to read in front of classes. I would become dizzy and nauseous, i’d sweat and get flushed it wasn’t good. I eventually learned to calm down if I would have to read in class I would read before hand so I would be ready for whatever I would need to read. Looking back I am not sure why I would get so nervous it wasn’t a bid deal reading in front of people it was just something that I never wanted to do.

  • Tawni Meyer

    Thanks for sharing this personal story, Im happy that you are okay. Thats a big challenge for me now, to earn to handle the stress because I have a lot of medical problems. Thanks for the advice!

  • alexlavine

    Stress can really build on you if your working hard toward something that your really passionate about. Having a great drive toward wanting to accomplish things is a great characteristic to have, but you have to have a way of getting away and dealing with stress in a healthy way. I used to stress more about the little things in life, but not so much anymore. I refer to the saying, “control what you can control” or “control the controllables.”

  • BastarKm06

    This article really hit home for me. I have a ton of stress, and I have had problems in the past dealing with it. I have been working on ways to cope with it, and so far it is helping. But this is a great eye opening article!

  • BastarKm06

    I had the same thing happen to me. I would literally make myself sick because of stressing. It came to the point where I wouldn’t want to even go to school or hang out with friends I was so stressed.

  • Kayla Martin

    I think it is really a problem in our society people just don’t know how to manage stress anymore. There are just too many things to do and with our phones everything can come at us at once. There should be a class in college or a class in life to help manage stress. Or something just so people can feel more relaxed about life.

  • AndreaOlsen22

    This article really shows how controlling your stress is crucial. Most people don’t think of the fact that stressing to much can actually be the cause of death. I can relate to this article due to the fact I stress about the little things, the things that don’t even really matter. I don’t know why I do, but I an others need to remember some things are out of our control, so why worry and stress about them? Worry about what you can control. Being in college, good students stress about upcoming assignments and exams. We need to remember we can only give it our best and if that’s not good enough it is okay. We also need to remember to take breaks from studying here and there if we don’t want to go crazy. The same goes for work. Don’t have such a chaotic schedule that you’re unable to take a break, rest, or do something fun with your friends.

  • Michellelele123

    You’re right this just goes too show how dangerous stress is and how we need to be careful before it’s too late! Even though I’m not quite sure how you lose your whole body’s supply of blood from being stressed wish he would have explained that, knowing the damaging affects can be a wake up call

  • catec18

    I agree and disagree with this article. When the word stress is mentioned most people jump right in with how it’s so bad and we need to do whatever possible to get rid of it. But many people forget that there is a difference between eustress and distress. There is a certain level of stress that gets our adrenaline going and makes us want to push harder and get things done. This kind of stress, no one wants to get rid of. But distress, I totally agree people need to do away with this! I think this article does a great job of emphasizing the negative impacts of distress in people’s lives. It could also do with mentioning some techniques for dealing with stress. I think there are many good stress relieving techniques that can be done even in an office setting such as throughout the day taking 2-5 minutes and clearing your mind or taking 5 minutes out of your lunch break to go for a quick walk. Simple things like this, though small, can make a mighty impact to productivity.

  • Abby2017

    Some stress can be good. It can motivate someone to do their best and the stress is that thing that allows someone to preform at something really well. If we think negatively about our stress then that is when it can be bad. We can also get really bad side effects from being under a lot of stress.

  • Amy Rink

    Thank you for posting this article! I find this to be very relatable because I am the type of person to over think all my work and to stress about the littlest things causing me to have bad anxiety! You’re post really helped me realize the ways I can change my ways and how not to let my stress effect my future work!

  • byrnesbk24

    oh my gosh I am so glad someone commented with this. I was thinking the same thing. You clearly don’t want to get to the point of burn out, or be so stressed that your immune system is down and you get sick. People really don’t realize the benefit of some stress. This is the type of stuff that can pound of a few hours work load in an hour to meet a deadline or push yourself when you are trying to finish a marathon. If you think about stress in a positive way you will actually be healthier, I watched a TED talk on this once. Its a really good way to look at stress to be less stressed, does this make sense?

  • Paigekenley

    Being someone who is constantly stressed I can totally relate to the way you were feeling and how that was caused because of your passion for your team.

  • DuchAM21

    As a college student with two jobs, I can definitely relate to being over stressed. Sometimes it is hard to take a step back, and tell yourself that everything will be ok, just relax. I know that I am no more stressed than my fellow classmates, but I “think” that I am, which causes me to actually experience the effects of being over stressed. There is a TED Talk about stress which states that if you look at stress as a good thing, your body will respond in a positive way. Here is a link to the video that I would highly recommend! http://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en

  • Chelsea Haffele

    I love your recommended TED Talk. It turned stress into a positive outlook and shows that we can all defeat stress. Stress is a part of life and we need to win the battle.

  • Chelsea Haffele

    I agree that stress can be good. Stress is motivating and gives the energy needed to complete the tasks that are stressing us out.

  • Chelsea Haffele

    I am a student as well and I agree that stress can be very difficult to control. Built up stress will just make me do worse on exams and makes me go crazy. I need to do things like work out and play sports and hang out with friends to decrease my stress levels.

  • Kendra Larson

    I really enjoyed your article. The message you brought forward was very powerful. I personally tend to stress a lot about certain things in my life. I am constantly worrying about what could go wrong or what bad could happen. I have experienced the bad health effects of stress but not as extreme as you have. Last semester, around finals, I was constantly stressing over everything that I had to get done. Through stressing so much, I did not sleep good, I ate poorly and I was just not happy. As the stress continued to control my life I eventually got extremely sick with the flu and I was completely helpless for three whole days. The stress that I put on my body eventually made my body break down. I can not tell you how horrible I felt thouse three whole days. It was one of the most miserable days of my life. After that experience, I knew that I needed to stop stressing so much over these little things in my life. I really liked what you said about, “if you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less”. I thought this was a really important message, and I really took it to heart. It is true, if you really do care about something, you need to stress about it less. Stressing about it more will not make it any better. Stress is the enemy and It just makes you miserable. Thank you for sharing!

  • purperoar21

    While stress fuels motivation and pressure to strive, it is not something that is always positive. Negative stress often can result in spreading yourself thin just for the sake of your work or projects. Like you mentioned, it is important to be invested in your work and projects but never more than your own health. Great message!

  • Ashley Gardner

    I loved this blog! I feel like everyone looks at life as challenges and having nerves and anxiety about big projects. I am defintely one of those people. However, after reading this, it makes total sense to channel those feelings in a new direction. It’s sad, because that is such common sense, yet no one actually thinks of it like that. Operation changing my mind set starts now!

  • Kayla

    I absolutely loved this article. I am putting together a project that incorporates photography in a self esteem, mental and physical health improving program where teenage girl will photograph their role models, and explore why they connect with their role models in such a powerful way. Photography will provide a medium to contextualize their view of themselves and those they admire, and I will provide education on how they can operate out of an expansive and creative mindset to reframe their own vision of themselves, and their world. Teenage years are filled with stress and judgment, and I love how this article touched upon how stress can kill you. When we build a healthy view of ourselves, we can lesson our stress and judgement and be more present to bring our gifts to the world.

  • Persophine Reid Tiapula

    i totally recommend this to everyone! I’m going to send this to my mom as well..a lot of people put their lives on the line for their work because they are stressing too much! I think if you’re doing something you love that stresses you out, you don’t really love it. It’s always good to relax and do things to help relieve stress. a lot more things get done and you enjoy doing it as well..

  • Ashley Gardner

    I completely agree with you! I loved the robot comparison. People think they can take on so many things and at first you totally can. But people need to realize that in the long run your body will eventually start shutting down.

  • milkienr18

    This article hit home for me because something similar happened to my mom because of work and all the stress she was under she wound up in the hospital twice, and it actually forced her to quit her job because of all stress. I think that refocusing your mind of the positives and to stop focusing on the fears is a great idea. I also agree that we make our fears worse the more we feed into them.

  • milleram97

    This is music to my ears.
    I am under a lot of pressure and stress all the time with work, school and trying to keep my friends close. That has left me with a slight cold and headaches for the last few months.
    Your body isn’t meant to work on overload and the brain doesn’t function as well with it like you said.
    My mom just called me today about this very topic actually, how she went to see her doctor because she has been forgetting things and how her body just aches day and night because of the strain that it has put on her. My mom is older, but she’s not in her 80s. These kinds of things shouldn’t happen to those that are young, they should be signs that you’ve lead a full life and experienced it. That requires actually taking a minute of your life to do that.
    I love how you said that if you care about something, you won’t stress about it.
    Things that actually matter to us shouldn’t take a lot of effort in planning, they should just be a byproduct of what we do. They should make us happy and proud, not stressed and worn down.

  • Erin

    Wow that is a crazy story! Stress can really get to people and I have been through that so many times. Being a college student with three jobs can be extremely stressful for me. But finding some effective ways to calm me down or just take time for myself has helped me to keep my stress under control. A lot of people think that being stressed is no big deal but clearly it can cause some serious health issues. I was really stressed about a project once in high school and my teacher asked me, in 3 days will I care about it, what about after a week, or a month, and will this still be important a year from now? And that really helped me to look at the bigger picture it honestly took some of that stress away. Sometimes you just have to step back and think about what really matters.

  • Erin

    Yes, I totally agree with this. Your life is so much more important than your job. And your job should just be a part of your life therefore it should be something that you enjoy. I love how you said, you probably don’t love what you do if all it does is stress you out. Relieving the things in your life that stress you out can make you into a happier and more well off in the long run.

  • Kendra Larson

    Being a college student as well and working on the side, I can relate. There was a time in my life where it was super hard to balance work and school and I stressed my self out so much to the point where my body just broke down. I got really sick with the flu and I was out sick for three whole days. It was one of the worst times of my life. I could not eat, it was incredibly hard to sleep and I had no strength to do anything. After this experience, I realized I had to make a change in my life and not allow stress to overwhelm my life like that again.

  • gaulrappkj17

    I totally agree with what this article says. We do stress ourselves out so much and it is almost weird if you are not stressed out. We live in a society where stress seems to drive us. Instead we need to distress and actually enjoy our lives. Because we only have one life and we need to take care of ourselves so that we can enjoy the things we love.

  • Taysia Justus

    I’m so sorry to hear that your stress got so bad you almost lost your life. Whereas I am not fortune 500 employee I have experienced a lot of stress in my life lately and the best advice I ever got was that “stress should be seen as your body positively responding to the situation” if you view stress as positive, your body’s response to an uncomfortable situation, you will be much better off handling stress.

  • Elaminsj25

    My stress management class is completely about keeping yourself healthy. The first topic we covered was getting enough sleep. Is easy to get caught up in everything that is going on in your life and career but my professor always says that you cannot save the world if you’re not alive to do so. Your health should always come first. If your health isn’t first then you’re doing everything wrong. I’m glad that your story has a happy ending.

  • CamilleYip

    I feel as though sometimes when things get stressful we tell ourselves that we can pull an all nighted just this once because its only once and it won’t be that bad on our health if we only do it once but then if we keep the mentality that it isn’t that bad for us if we do it once in awhile then after awhile all those times add up and it really takes a toll on our health.

  • Ashleigh Hartlaub

    This article really made me realize that stress can effect us more than just physical. Is aspect of his body being more than just his after the blood transfusions was eye opening to me. It also made me rethink on how I handle stress and that stress can turn so serious that our life could be close to the end. Even though being in a stress class, you don’t really think that stress could get that bad but it really could and thats scary. He probably thought the same thing with handling stress and look what happened to him.

  • DavidMizelle1

    I am by no means super ambitious, but I definitely consider things that need to be completed as high stakes projects and also have a nasty tendency to procrastinate and wait until deadlines are close to really get started on things. Often, this is when some of my best work occurs because I think I need a little bit of the adrenaline that comes from pressure. However, I don’t necessarily think that’s healthy and I believe changing my mindset so that I think of projects as a way to be creative as opposed to something that needs to get done, it might help me start things earlier and relieve some of the stress I create in that manner.

  • FalkinerRR23

    I agree with you. Pulling an all nighter not only affects our health but it’s going to affect the next day even more. You’re going to be super tired and are not going to want to do anything productive which then leads you to having to pull another all nighter to get things done on time. Which then leads to a vicious cycle.

  • barema28

    Stress can be used in such a positive way if it is used correctly! Good stress and bad stress will always be in our life’s, but it’s really just how you approach it and what your mindset is like you said in the blog. Really liked this because it happens to so many people , too much stress and everything starts to fall apart.

  • ryanstorto

    Stress comes to everyone differently. But it also affects us differently as well. I notice this often with me and my friends. Alghough we are all in college and not in the business world we feel and react to stress on different levels and for different reasons. I’ve tried to learn to kind of pick my battles about what to be stressed about. I can’t sit and stress out about all of my classes and football all at once or I would never get work done or accomplish anyting. I’ve learned that it’s not healthy and in the end all of my work suffers. But I really think that your quote “I care about this, so I need to learn how to relax about it so I’ll be more effective” will help me in the future.”

  • CamilleYip

    Exactly! and doing it multiple times is even worse! Also after you pull an all nighted I feel as though you may have stayed up and studied for nothing because the next day you are too tired to even think during your final or whatever you were cramming for in the first place!

  • flaschbm09

    I completely agree and also think that it’s easier said than done. Like you were saying, we live in a world were stress is almost conditioned into us from others and media. I think that we need to start small and take the time to take “deep cleansing breaths” every once in a while and take a step back from the stressful situation or situations.

  • Lindsey Kessler

    That was a very powerful and unfortunate story, and I thank you for sharing it. We can’t sweat the small stuff, because we need to conserve our energy for the creative mind to be more productive in producing better results in our daily tasks. I was dismissed from school twice because I suffer from anxiety. I cared about school so much, that I worried I would fail… and I did. I am fortunate enough to overcome my anxiety, and for the first time in my life, I am able to relax, enjoy life, and enjoy what I do. I am now a student who gets A’s and B’s, who has been nominated for a writing award at my school, and who produces strong work in my classes.

  • Timothy Joseph Basaldua

    I feel like more sleep is a solution to a lot of my problems and stress. I feel like I only need 5 or 6 hours of sleep a night, but when I get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night I feel much more clear, focused, and energized. I can relate to the physical affects that stress can have on your body. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten headaches and stomach aches over things that were so petty. I’m usually a positive thinker, but my stress increases when I think of all of the bad things that could happen. I agree that you can’t save or change the world if you’re not alive to do so. Stress can be avoided. So all of the other symptoms that come along with it.

  • Timothy Joseph Basaldua

    I agree that stress can be a good thing. I’ve realized that there can be good and bad stress. Good stress can be buying a new car or presenting a project that you have worked countless hours on. Bad stress to me is like not being able to pay bills, illness, etc. I think that the bad stress motivates me to make my situation better. Once I get over the anxiety and the physical symptoms, I try to take charge and move forward. It takes too much energy to be stressed out all the time. I know for me, I do not have enough time in the day to complete anything it seems like. I think it’s important to make time for fun, but then prioritize your tasks that need to get done right away.

  • Lauren Schlicht

    There is so much truth with what is being said in this article, its incredibly moving. There is a quote I just recently came across that reads, “the mind is everything, what you think is what you become.” and honestly I have never believed something as much as I believe in that quote. I find it very similar to the story and advise given by the author. Sometimes we have the tendency to get so wrapped up and worked up about the smallest things. I really like when the author said she used to believe every problem was solved in your head, focus more, be more determined….however, anyone with anxiety or high stress levels knows how hard it is to accept that that is not the case. Changing your perspective can do SO much to benefit your overall health.

  • Lauren Schlicht

    I couldn’t agree with you more, todays culture is so high-strung, always driven by stress. Something that really stuck out to me was the quote, “if you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less” and it is so very true. When you care about something dearly you exert so much of your energy regardless if its positive or negative and eventually has the ability to snowball into something you would have never expected. You let your feelings get the best of you and you stress out. I like how this quote is explaining that if you really care about something, you need to take time to step away and be sure you are not overthinking or exerting too much of your feelings into it that can potentially be harmful to yourself.

  • Anthony Davis

    I feel as though this article made some extremely helpful points and that you are right about lot of the facts that you stated. I feel that stressors can tremendously effect your health and that there are a lot of ways around them but ultimately individuals should learn their ways around them to live a happier life that is more centered around things that they want to do.

  • Anthony Davis

    I completely agree and I think that I will use some of the tactics used in his article in my everyday life when I feel stressed out and bogged down. I feel like this article had some extremely beneficial information and that everyone would live a better life if they looked at stress in a different light. Just as you said changing perspective can overall benefit your health.

  • Lauren Schlicht

    Absolutely! We live in a culture where everything is driven by stress. I cannot remember a time in the last few months when I didn’t complain of being stressed out. Its one of those things where you pick and choose your battles with whats important to you but people need to realize that making yourself sick over stress isn’t okay. I often wonder where we would be with our mental health if we took on practices like mediation and yoga every day like certain countries do, I’d assume we’d be living a much happier, healthier, stress free lifestyle.

  • alexlavine

    Lauren, I really agree with you on that quote. I think the way in which we view ourselves ends up being who we are and who we become.

  • Kaila Witthun

    I really like this. I stress out about way too much that doesn’t even really matter much to me. As finals roll around this semester I have taken steps throughout the semester to even better prepare myself so I don’t stress as much as I typically do. I had no idea that so much stress could pretty much kill you. I am glad that you found a way through it and have learned from it and now sharing it with us. Thank you.

  • Nathan Tessar

    I really enjoyed this post. I love the quote “If you care about something, you must learn how to stress about it less.” I think everyone should live by that moto and I know from reading this article, I will definatly take that quote in consideration as a move forward with my life. Thank you for this post!

  • Lauren Schlicht

    I really think that having a postive outlook on life has the ability to do so much for someone’s overall well-being and overall health. Physically or mentally it all stems from within.

  • Austin Jones

    My problem is always getting my thoughts wrapped up in what can go wrong. I feel like if i dont tell my self im going to fail then I wont. Its all about the mindset i create for myself. Its easy to dwell on things and let them stress you out.

  • Bjackson5

    I can relate very closely to how stress can effect ones life. My heart palpations may not have been as serious, but experiencing a panic attack was good enough for me. Stress can be very exponential and unexpected, which is why it is much more important than completion or success.

  • afallon14

    Being a college student, stress affects my life a lot and it is hard to deal with it in the right ways sometimes. I build up a lot of things in my head about school and work and extra curricular activities and sometimes I need to vent them all out. It is hard to not let things stress you out when there are so many things going on. It is important to take a step back and reflect on what is stressing you out.

  • keyser03

    Stress is one of the biggest reasons we get sick. Our ability to fight off germs is lowered, and we catch a disease. I mean the word itself is literally “dis-ease.” No ease. Stressed. Make sure you have people around you to tell you if you seem off, or if you’re taking on too much hours, or aren’t getting enough sleep because you’re up all night from anxiety. Listen to them and make sure you take the time to take care of yourself

  • Desiree

    defiantly agree, being a college students is very stressful and i feel like im constantly draining because of it and its not good i have trouble sleeping all the time. school, homework, studying then on top of that im an athlete as well so managing time is a struggle. i need to figure out ways to live somewhat close to a stress free life. Stress can really take a toll on someone physically and emotionally.

  • kolinjk29

    I experience stress on a daily basis being a college student. The pressure of working and going to school at the same time really puts a lot of weight on my body. Keeping up on homework, studying for exams, and on top of that working 35 hours a week as a bartender. Sometimes you need to just kick back and relax and do something that you enjoy. Putting to much stress on your body can really affect your daily living such as your sleep pattern and your general health. People that are under constant stress are known to have lower immune systems which exposes a greater chance of getting sick. Something that I done to manage my stress is to go for a long run or get in the gym and hit the weights. It allows me to to clear my head and makes me feel good about myself knowing I am doing something that is going to benefit my health. Thanks for posting.

  • kolinjk29

    I can relate to this. I agree with you that when finals come around everyone in school becomes stressed out. Its great that you have found a way to take some stress off at that time by preparing ahead. I have always tried to do that but seem to keep falling back into procrastination. Good luck

  • Steven Hass

    This article relates to me in so many ways. I started to experience severe stress when I was a junior in high school. It comes and goes but I always seem to get it the worst when the school year is winding down. There are a lot of things that go on where people see them as these giant obstacles such as exams and presentations. I’ll have to keep this article in mind especially this time of year.

  • Steven Hass

    I’ve recently been having heart palpitations, and it definitely doesn’t help the situation. I’ve been having trouble sleeping because I’m nervous all the time as well, so I think I need to keep in mind that I should put my health before other things, even if it is school.

  • Steven Hass

    Completely agreed. If we can focus on our mental health, we can finally relax to get things done that need to be done.

  • Steven Hass

    I never thought of stress as being good or bad, which is a really good way to think of it. I’ll have to keep that in mind the next time I feel overwhelmed.

  • kgonyo

    The idea of learning to stress less about what we care about really caught my attention. Usually, the things that we care about the most are what stresses us out the most. After all, we want the things we care about to be taken care of. However, this stress hurts not only ourselves, but the things we care about, as well. Learning to stress less about these things can bring more joy to both parties.

  • Tyler Hebert

    Most important quote from this article. “If you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less.” Prioritize the things you care about and make sure you are doing these things or paying attention to these things when you are being most productive so that you don’t stress about these so much. You don’t want to stress about the things you care about.

  • Stress is inevitable and cant be avoided forever. So that’s why I’ve learned that managing stress is an absolute must. There are almost countless way to do it and not all techniques work for everybody, so that’s why its important for everyone to find something they can do to relieve stress, especially in the most stressful environments.

  • Jpl89

    I agree with this article. There have been points in my life where I have I become way too stressed about mostly unimportant things. And I’ve seen people reach levels of stress that seemed so unhealthy to me and I knew that I never wanted to let stress get ahold of me in that way.

  • Sarah Reynolds

    I think it is important that we priorize the things that we truly care about and not stress over the things that are unimportant. Just need to stop and recaluculate so that we don’t become overly stressed about things that truly our top priority.

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  • BEATYSM25

    Stress can so easily consume people. I, too, have experienced adverse health effects from stress, and I can relate to the realization that being stressed all the time isn’t worth it. I think a certain level of stress can be beneficial, but it becomes extremely problematic when we can’t turn the stress response off. Personally, I have found it beneficial to continually ask myself, “at what cost?”

  • Jamie Valentine

    I am in a Graduate Program that emphasizes self-care. It was at first, a very odd concept for me. But I began to realize that listening to my body and saying I cannot take on that project at this time does not make me weak. It allows me to be even better at the other tasks I am involved in by not spreading myself too thin. I will probably be working on this one for life!

  • Lanette Andrew

    Stress, or as I call it, worry, has been part of my life and mind for so long that I believed it to be my constant companion. Reading this article gives me another chance to change perspective and reconsider how I view potentially stressful situations. Giving myself the choice regarding stress feels more loving than “coping” mechanisms.

  • Rebecca Radspinner

    This is something that everyone needs to be aware of. We are so used to having stress in our lives that we discount the impact that it has on our minds and our bodies. I spoke with a highly successful social entrepreneur not too long ago and he gave one of the best pieces of advice. He said that in order to be truly successful you need to maintain your physical, mental and spiritual health, instead of bottling up stress and becoming only focused on work or school.

  • warmingsmorming

    I own my own business and I wouldn’t wish it on Adolfo hitler. I get so stressed out at my business I have fantasies about going postal on total strangers. Of course I never would. I also just want to die. I drive by cemeteries and think about how lucky all those dead people are to be out of this miserable existence. The funny thing is that apart from work I’m a pretty level headed guy. I find running a business to be pure torture. Iva hated it for over thirty years now. I feel trapped by commitment to customers , employees, family, suppliers ……… Today I stressed out so bad I lost my mind. I feel better now because I just had a double screwdriver heavy on the vodka. I’m so ashamed of myself for actually loosing my mind in front of my family today. Vicious cycle . Death would be very welcome.

  • Peter Marten

    Some time i don’t wan’t to do a work.. but i covance my self for work… because some works are more important then ruest……

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  • theyoshyg

    The idea of that “nervousness” being an internal sign of working hard really resonated with me. I sometimes feel I’m not working hard enough unless I’m stressed out

  • Ben Jackson

    Stress is no joke: Health wise is can and will destroy the strongest of men and women, young and old! It is a hard thing to understand until you have one of those life and death moments due to not giving it the attention it most truly deserves!
    You were lucky to have kiss death’s ass that day and lived to talk about it! Most people don’t! The fact that you are taking the time to share the moment is helpful to yourself and those of us that have also Kiss that Bubble Butt of stress in the ER!
    Lets hope some other who haven’t will take this lesson in and slow down and smell the flowers of life in their next stressful moment!!!

  • Azra Samiee

    The amount of pressure we put on ourselves is so detrimental to our health, the fact that can effect our brain function is frightening. Stress is the silent killer but its great that the author was able to find other ways of managing his stress as a young entrepreneur so it didn’t follow him through life.

  • Patrick A

    What do you do if you accomplish this, and multiple co-workers tell your boss you’re not working (on a computer) because you don’t look miserable (which happened to me). There’s really no escape from misery in this life. The author is a RARE case. The rest of us are going to die at our desks in pain.

  • Stephanie Keenan

    Excellent post! We hear about how stress can and is killing us, but your ability to connect it to our relationship with FEAR was brilliant. I will be using this connection from now on when I talk to my coaching clients about stress and explaining how to let it go.

    Fortunately the end of my rope before giving up the intensity and stress wasn’t nearly as dramatic as yours, but it was still dangerous and I see people around me suffering every single day. I suffered from severe adrenal fatigue not once but 5 times before coming to the conclusion that I don’t suffer from depression… my adrenals were completely smoked and I was exhibiting major depressive disorder symptoms.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us hard-charging super-achievers and summing it up in one statement about learning how to stress less about the things you care about. You nailed it… we think that if we can just be a little more intense, buckle down, and gut it out that it will all work out.

    Back to the stress and fear relationship… you mentioned being familiar and comfortable with expecting fear with things like big presentations, but I would go so far as to say many of us are addicted to that “high”. Thanks again for the lessons!

  • Nik3000

    What did you do to help adrenal fatigue? sounds like I may have it, only just read up about it.

  • Ariel Castro

    “If you care about something, you must
    learn to stress about it less”. I think that is the best line on this article
    and the one that really got me reflecting. Over years of school and other responsibilities,
    I came to the conclusion that if you stress less about something, chances are
    you are going to perform better because you are taking out some pressure off
    your shoulders and focusing on what you have to do. It does not mean that you
    do not care; it just means that, even if you fail, it is not the end of the
    world (although it may seem like it sometimes). Last semester, when I had tons
    of exams accumulating and deadlines approaching fast, I had to push my body to
    the limit. At one point, I had not slept in 32 hours. I tried to, but I was so
    stressed that I just couldn’t . I had never reached such a level of anxiety
    in my life and it was clearly taking a toll on my body as I gained several pounds.
    However, I vowed to take a different approach to things this semester. When I
    was assigned with a project that would normally take me a month to complete and
    was told that I had to complete it in just two weeks, while managing to prepare
    to take my finals, I was happy. Yes, instead of getting stressed, I embraced
    the challenge. I saw the project as something that would give me a ton of
    practice in my craft and I was actually happy to start it, despite knowing that
    it would be hard to finish it on time. Worrying about it at that moment wouldn’t
    have changed a thing. I think the key is realizing that worrying or stressing will
    not make you overcome your challenges: it’s the way you face them and the
    work you put in.

  • diego hidalgo

    There is a lot of truth with what Tom Chi says in the
    article. I agree in every possible way. Personally I feel very identified by
    this article because I feel that I lived a similar “problem” in my life. I have
    played tennis since I am 7 years old. It first started as a hobby, and then it
    turned into something a bit more serious and important. I was homeschooled the
    last two years of high school because I needed to spend more time practicing
    and travelling around the world to play tournaments. I was one of the best
    juniors in the world at age 17, so that make me put lots of expectations on
    myself. I felt pressure not only from myself, but also from my family, coaches,
    sponsors, and even friends. The pressure was something that was more mental,
    than something that was really happening. I was the one putting the pressure on
    myself, not my coaches, sponsors, parents, or friends. Later on, I decided to
    join the University of Florida tennis team because I was not enjoying being a
    professional tennis player anymore, I felt very stressed and miserable every
    time I had to play. The main reason why I joined UF was to get rid of that
    stress and focus on different things outside of tennis, like studying, friends,
    family, etc. Sometime I feel like we stress too much on one thing because we
    want it so bad, but we don’t realize that there is so much more in life outside
    that one thing. After three years of being part of UF´s tennis team, I have
    learned and mature in many different ways, mostly because I have learned that
    in my life there is a lot more than just tennis. I honestly felt very
    identified with Tom´s story, and I believe this quote says it all “I care about
    my projects, but not more than life itself.”

  • Gabrielle Browne

    After reading this article, I am actually at
    awe! What had first gravitated me towards this article was the title itself, “Stress
    Almost Killed Me.” Stress has always been an issue for me and continues to be a
    constant struggle. Whether it is because of school, work, relationships, or
    family, stress always finds a way to parade me during my busiest times of my
    life. And like you Tom Chi, when I am really passionate or much focused about
    something, I am all in no matter how stressed I get. My three constant
    stressors are school, relationships, and family and if its not one, it is the other.
    After reading this article, I feel like I will be more cautious when it comes
    to stress. The fact that you had endured something like that is extremely crazy
    and thank God you are ok. I do not want to drive myself into a stress coma
    because I cannot find that specific median. I want to find a healthy balance if
    there is one. Stress is literally like a drug and as you mentioned that
    sometimes it becomes a norm because you made the fear become a regular thing
    and that is similar to a drug—the more you take it, the more tolerant you are
    to it, becoming immune to it. I do not want to be immune to stress, I want to
    be able to attack it now and be able to handle it better. I really did
    appreciate this story and this is an actual testimony in my opinion. You had a
    hardship and you found something positive that will not only help you but help
    people in similar situations as you, such as myself. I am going to take in
    consideration how influential it is to change my mentality towards stress and
    learning to relax more from it, in order to be more effective. Lastly, another
    thing that resonated with me was your comment about generosity and kindness and
    how there is a “quiet power” between the two, a power that “that intelligence,
    problem-solving skills, and effectiveness aren’t the only skills that matter.”
    This stuck out to me because in the real world people always focus on characteristics
    that are more so gained through experience and school rather than things that
    you have learned based on growing up or your family beliefs, or simply your
    personality. Sometimes characteristics like generosity and kindness can move
    those mountains that these experience based qualities cannot.

  • Mitchell Lamoriello

    The words that Mr. Chi expressed in this article can prove
    true to so many people throughout the world. With the increase of technology
    and information, we find ourselves becoming more stressed. Objects and
    creations that were meant to make our lives simpler have in fact added to our
    stress. Our day-to-day actions might be simpler, however, our lives are a lot
    less simple. Personally, stress started for me at a pretty young age. School
    was always a focus for me and I would constantly stress about upcoming papers,
    projects and exams. It is understood that a little bit of stress and anxiety is
    ok, but it can never hinder what you are doing. I also found myself stressing
    when it came to getting in to college. Applications, SAT’s and keeping a high
    GPA all proved to be difficult at times. Now that I am in college I have
    anxiety when it comes to different things. Being more independent I now have to
    focus on finances, school, health and try to hold a good social balance.
    Lately, I have found myself stressing about things that shouldn’t stress me
    out. Mr. Chi is extremely insightful when he speaks on stress hindering your
    ability to work. Often times we work so hard because we believe it is necessary
    to be successful. If we are sitting idle we begin to feel restless and
    disappointed with our effort. What needs to be understood is that we all need
    to take time to “sharpen the saw.” A part of the article that struck me was, “if you dwell on the related risks and get wrapped up in though of what could go wrong, you generate patterns of fear
    that start to seem normal.” This part was extremely relevant to me because of
    the fact that I have often found myself fearing the worst-case scenario.
    Whether it was my or a test, I would always think the worst was going to
    happen. This eventually created an environment where I was convinced the worst
    was true. Lastly, we must create not only an environment that is positive, but
    a mindset that is open. By taking time to relax we can create a calm state of
    mind and begin to think more creatively and rationally.

  • Katherine Hackett

    Stress is something that affects every single person in this world. It does not discriminate and it does not play around. It can harm one’s health in so many ways its unreal. To name a few, sleep deprivation, health deficiencies, aneurisms, and even heart attacks can all possibly results from stress.

    This post was eye opening and helped me realize the extent to which stress can push people, as I am positive you are not the only one that this has happened to. This semester in school, I took a stress and anxiety management class that taught me many new ways that I can go about handling the stress in my life. I feel like having some type of release, whether it be exercising, meditating, sleeping, etc., is extremely important to a person’s success. I learned that the way I can reduce stress is by doing yoga exercises and crafting. These are simple remedies to help reduce stress that can benefit my body and my brain immensely over time.

    An eye-opening phrase of this article was “If you care about something, you must learn to stress about it less.” This resonated with me because when I think about this phrase and when I think about the things in life that I care about most, they are the things that I stress most about. This is something I need to learn to change in my life so that I can be more productive and effective in my accomplishments. I am thankful for this insight because as a senior in college, I will need to reevaluate my approach to stressful situations when I start working full time as a consultant. I appreciate you sharing your experience with the world because while our problems may not be to the extent of yours, it puts into perspective how little problems can turn into big problems and even become life threatening.

  • James Predelus

    Stress almost killed me too. I related to this article so much be I ended going to the hospital for the first time in years because I felt as if I was having a heart attack. Fortunately, it was just “chest muscle spasm due to possible stress,” the doctor said. You wrote, “Ambitious people tend to think of life as a series of high-stakes projects. That’s a dangerous thought process.” You are absolutely correct. I have my mind set on graduating and finding a career. Working really hard to get through the obstacles in life that barriers to my success. I put a lot of importance on my academics, family and self. If I feel as if I am personally slacking I get anxiety and work much harder to achieve the goals. You and my doctor helped me realized the significance of relaxing and not letting the things that can physically kill me, destroy me. For instance, worrying so much about a final paper when it in no shape or form can hurt me physically. I personally would like a healthy stress level in my life. I think that will promote longevity in my life.

  • Lauren Cardia

    1.
    As
    an aspiring young professional graduating with my Bachelor of Science in
    Business Administration in the spring, I have not yet experienced the intensity
    and stress that can sometimes come along with a job. However, I still found
    this article to be extremely applicable to my own life as I often find myself
    caught up with stress regarding exams, internships, and post graduation plans.
    I am constantly worrying about maintaining a high grade point average and
    having a job lined up in the spring. And, just like the speaker in this
    article, I often keep my feelings bottled up inside. I found this post to be
    extremely impactful and one thing that truly resonated with me was “if you care
    about something, you must learn to stress about it less”. I never thought of it
    that way! Usually the things that I care most about are also the things I
    stress most about. It is very true that stress can limit productivity and I vow
    to be more aware of that. Also from the perspective of a college student, I
    believe many “overachievers” can identify with this very well. We put so much
    pressure on ourselves, whether it is driven from high internal motivation or
    the influence of our parents, friends, peers, etc.

    Tom, I am very grateful that you
    shared this article and ways to change our mindsets when it comes to stress. I
    am also very glad to hear that you survived such a traumatic situation. Your
    ability to take a terrible situation and turn it into a learning experience for
    the sake of others is truly inspiring and goes perfectly with your discussion of
    the generosity and kindness of others. I will strive to implement these tactics
    in my own life and share them with people around me!

  • Cali Cramer

    This article definitely
    hits very close to home for me as someone who has struggled with anxiety, which
    incorporates stress management, for as long as I can remember. I commend you
    for sharing your brave story that I am sure was not an easy one to share with
    people you do not even know. I really
    have not thought about how much my stress actually negatively impacts my
    work. I always assumed that if I was
    stressing it meant that I was taking on a task that I really cared about and
    working hard at it that that in the end I would achieve the best possible
    outcome. Your alternative outlook really makes me question that. Looking back,
    I realize that I typically take on a task at a very slow pace because I am a
    perfectionist, but in the end I get so stressed that I end up rushing to finish
    and do not do my best job. Work does not
    have to be done in a high stress, technical way. It would be better for me to work in a way
    that I focus more on my creativity and free thinking rather than the strategic
    details. I also like the point you made
    about how we all need each other. I am
    typically an extremely independent person because I like things done a certain
    way and don’t trust other people to do it as I would, which definitely
    contributes to my stress. I would be much better off if I could let go and rely
    on the people around me for help and trust that they are capable. I definitely
    plan on learning from your experience and trying to change my approach to work
    in order to be free from control and eliminate stress, which I know will end in
    better results.

  • Stephanie Keenan
  • Noah Green

    I really enjoyed reading this article because it makes sense as a stressed out college student. Sometimes I feel like I am not doing enough to be successful and that there is someone out there being more proactive than myself. I get worked up with the idea that I am not living up to my potential and it becomes an irrational anxiety. I really like how Mr. Chi states, “If you care about something you must learn to stress about it less” because it makes me realize that I really do care about my education, but if I stress too hard I am no longer going to have the motivation to keep moving forward. Life is about balance and I do not want to end up going insane because I was too focused on irrational fears. This really opened my eyes to balance my life.

  • Samuel Cannon

    This article really spoke to me because I often find myself worrying about things that are completely out of my control. I really could relate to Mr.Chi when he stated, “if you dwell on the related risks and get wrapped up in thoughts of what could go wrong, you generate patterns of fear that start to seem normal”. I have been struggling with staying present in my life and not focusing on what may or may not happen. It only makes sense that if I spend all the time that I worry on something more meaningful and productive I could be that much more successful.

  • G Krishna Rao

    I am a Sr. Software engineer in my company. Since i joined my company everything was running smoothly. After 1 and half year of my job i came to know that my project is going to end now. As i was a third party resource to my company, i was afraid to be terminated from my company. Since i didn’t get any official mail on it so far. During the days i was working in the company but didn’t have any extra thing to learn. Now out the fear of loosing job i tried to interview in other companies but got rejected all the time as they wanted a guy who has learned advanced technology. I am 31 now and going to get merry most probably this year only. Now i have a fear of loosing my job. This only thing is killing me internally as i am stressed out completely and this thing almost killed my appetite. I have only one question now(What will happen now??)

  • Jac Williamson

    I was able to relate to this article immensely, just not on the severity of the stress levels. I’m currently a student-athlete on the volleyball team at my university. I had to get knee surgery in January of 2014 and again on the same knee in January of 2015. Naturally I’m a very positive person and going through the recovery process challenged that and I experienced mild levels of depression. I threw a big pity party thinking of how much pain I was in, how I was useless to my teammates, how I couldn’t exercise, and how part of my identity was taken from me. I noticed that my negative attitude was affecting those around me. The happy-go-lucky girl was gone and replaced with someone who sucked the life out of the room the second she walked in. I had a massive wake-up call when my best friend finally called me out on it. He said, “Jac, I know you’re going through a lot and you know I love you, but you’ve been pretty shitty to hang out with lately. I miss the old Jac.” After he said this to me I felt like I got slapped in the face and woken up. I ended up realizing that the only thing I had control over in the whole situation was my attitude, so why not chose a good one? Once I started waking up and choosing to have a positive mindset, everything looked up!

  • This was a very inspiring post. Thank you. I have the same problem you describe of the series of high-stakes projects. I will need to do something about that 🙂 Again, thank you. As a shameless plug, I have written a post about my own work system, that helps me to alleviate stress. If anyone is interested, it is here: http://blog.houen.net/the-day-you-became-less-stressed-at-work/

  • Fadi Botrous

    Just don’t let these ideas control you. this will never end and life challenges are continuous. what happen will happen just learn to accept it and to always do your best without being stressed

  • Alice Smith

    Great piece. I’m going through the most stressful period of my life right now. I’ve just completed my graduate degree, started a new job, and my wife of 4 years has now decided we need to divorce. It’s almost too much to handle. I’m walking on eggshells at home and I can’t focus for S**t at work. Your article focuses on work-related stress, but I think an interesting conversation is how work stress and home stress can compound and create an even worse situation or seep into other aspects of your life.
    Honestly, at this point, I just want her gone ASAP. Trying to file for uncontested divorce using http://www.thistoo.co so that we can just be done with it.

  • Kleinash

    I can’t help wondering, a year from this post, do you feel the same? Are you still with us? I don’t have my own business but I do care to much about what others need and tend to give more than I should but I am working hard to right those wrongs because just like no one replied a year ago chances are no body is watching and all those people you feel answerable too would much rather have you with us than your product or service. And if that’s not the case then they can go jump. We have one life and there are ways to have happiness daily. I have found a few podcasts I love and a few ways to calm like the hippy dippy meditation which turns out only to take 10 mins and sets my day right. Buts people like me can suggest stuff up the wazoo it’s means nothing if you don’t want it to. So do you still feel this way, are you still with us and if the answer to those is yes what are you doing about it?

  • warmingsmorming

    Wow I can’t believe you responded to this post a year later. The answer is yes I still feel the same way but not everyday. Some days are better than others . I need to change my attitude completely. I have way more days behind me that ahead of me. Thank you for your caring response. Peace be with you.

  • Kleinash

    But you are still with us. Is it worth it? I’ve been doing so much reading and listening on chronic stress situations, which can only be likened to drought hundreds of years ago, but with an abundance of designer food now that our bodies have no way of knowing how to handle which facilitates all kinds of internal struggles.
    The onus is really on you, there is very little risk in this world, I believe most of it is perceived, in our heads. We create our own mental prisons based on some premise that there is danger when really it’s only the danger of living life as though it’s a battle, and not living it in service to each other.
    I get the whole attitude change thing. Attitude vs aptitude blah. That has been a slow process change for me (kaizen). And recently I had to reframe how I look at issues, rather that they are more like opportunities to explore without the fear of something looming unexpected around the corner.

    I hope you do find peace in your acceptance of your situation, but more I hope you are able to jump to test (because you do have them) your wings, and that you feed the right wolf.

  • George PS Mouyios

    I can relate to this posting as well. This year has been very rough for me. Lost my beloved grandmother after a long health struggle along with step grandfather. My 30th birthday was a bit after grandmother’s funeral so wasn’t too celebrated and shortly after all that got notice our whole department was being laid off. Positive note it was a 6 month lead time to find job.

    Now I’m just starting my new job and finding quickly how messy the systems and tools I have to work with are and with assholes type A douch business users. I really am hard on myself to know every procedure and have the answers so that I look competent to folks training me and to end users. This was my first week and I was just stressed enough that I kind of mentally shutdown and didn’t care. Overall I was told I did good. I need to relax and let things kind of fall in place, gather my thoughts, rewrite my notes on computer, and start fresh come Monday. In the end it’s a job and I probably shouldn’t let it kill me. Easier said than done :-/. The worst feeling is when I get a headache and kind of shutdown a bit and have items to do and end up doing close to no tasks which compounds to next day.

  • JamesDMugg

    What do you do and why?
    I guess it’s the case of, lying on your deathbed, would you be happier to have gotten the work done or the living done.

  • Andrew

    I am so sorry that you feel this way. I too have felt at times that owning a business had me as trapped as I would be working for someone else, but with the added stress of having to manage everything as well. Though I don’t know what is right in your situation I decided ultimately to close down my business that was making me unhappy and start a business that allows me to work when I want, for how long I want and is in an industry I am much more passionate about.

    I would encourage you to take the time to weigh your options. Maybe selling your business will give you the relief that you need. No one should be content feeling that stressed and I would hate to see something happen to you. Your family likely could not bear that.

    I was pretty suicidal and I realized none of it is really worth it. It is better to lose everything and gain your life back.

  • Andrew

    As someone who has struggled with serious bouts of depression and incredible amount of stress associated with attending university, starting a company and juggling all of my personal endeavors; I can definitely relate. I have oftentimes felt helpless and felt that the stress has inhibited me from working to my fullest ability. I have had times where I couldn’t hold food down and my hair literally fell out. I have Having a million things to do actually makes it difficult to do anything. I noticed that I oftentimes end up having a paralysis where I just decide to do nothing because my stress gets so bad that I cannot focus, I get headaches, etc.

    As part of this realization I have been slowly cutting activities out of my schedule that have been creating stress and I am taking a semester off school in order to regather myself and devote my time to my company. Focusing is incredibly important and is one of the things that Unreasonable talks highly about with their emphasis on the GyShiDo movement. I have been creating more and more habits, like writing in a daily journal of my entrepreneurial endeavors, and designing game ideas for 5-minutes a day to spur my creativity.

    I have also found, for me, running and other exercise are some of the best ways of reducing stress and clearing my mind. I also feel more productive and thus less stressed if I wake up early and tackle my most pressing tasks as early as possible.

    I think that one of the biggest things mentioned in this article is that ambitious people focus heavily on being the best they can be and take on high-stress projects and create undue stress on themselves.

    Though, I feel it neglects to mention how American society has truly created a culture around never being good enough. Throughout schooling children are taught that getting the highest grade possible is best. Later in high school these measures are utilized to compare them to their classmates for universities. The competition is incredibly intense so students have to not only obtain perfect grades but also do community service, own a multi-million dollar company, have recommendation letters from the president of the United States, know how to perform open heart surgery – just to have a chance to go to one of the top universities in the country (obviously, this is a slight exaggeration, but is how students truly feel).

    The weight of the world is on their shoulders. Then they get into the school of their dreams (or don’t) and their stress hopefully can be over. That is until they realize that in order to get the job they want or to get into graduate school those grades are again important. Now they have to study all hours of the night and sacrifice great amount of times all in an effort to get the grades needed to get them to the next step. Then say they are applying for jobs, they are going to be competing against other students who worked just as hard as them to try to obtain positions at top companies.

    Let’s just say they are lucky enough to obtain their dream job, now while working for these companies they must perform at their very best in order to compete for incredibly selective promotions. All because American society puts a greater importance on money and physical possessions than it does on happiness and general wellness of its citizens and defines “success” based upon social standing.

    Some questions I have for the author:

    Though you talk heavily about not making things to be high-stakes projects what else did you do to reduce your stress? How do you cope with things when stress seems to creep into your life? Do you feel the ideals of our society had any influence on the undue stress placed upon you?