CHAPTER 19: Lower Your Tolerance to Stress



Lower your tolerance to stress…easier said than done. I thought that we are supposed to raise our tolerance to stress! You know, take on more and handle more. This is a very appropriate time of year to identify the stressors in your life and to practice techniques that are designed to help you lower your tolerance to stress. As we move through the holidays and into a bright new year, I am looking forward to increasing my knowledge and insight about not sweating the small stuff, enjoying life more and stressing less!

There are days when I feel that I can handle a lot of stress, then there are days that I can come to a boil in an instant. Some things are easier to tolerate, while others cause an immediate reaction that may not be so pretty. So what does the Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff philosophy recommend? What can I learn in chapter 19 that will help put stress in its place?

First let’s make a list of what our stressors are. Mine may be different from yours and we might have a few in common. Pull out a piece of paper and pen and let’s do this together. If you want to make this a more fun and less stressful exercise, use different colored ink or colored pencils to color code your stress items. Red might be high stress and black might be the everyday common stress. This is not a scientific project, but might help pinpoint what priority you are giving stress in your life.

Here goes…

  1. Work – My work consists of handling our business bookkeeping and record keeping, interacting with customers, employees and family.
  2. Family – Everything from a divorced adult son and all its complications, a daughter with serious health conditions and her upcoming wedding, an aging mother in law and all her issues, to my wonderful husband with whom I work and manage our businesses and his active never-ending outdoor activities while attempting not to piss me off!
  3. Writing, blogging, playing guitar and singing – Yes, even these relaxing activities can add a layer of stress as I try to satisfy my personal goals and engage my  creative side. These things are to be my pleasure, but sometimes they become like another job.
  4.  Technology - Keeping up with smart phones, computer software, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, on and on…Constantly  being connected is stressful and an imposition.
  5. Pets – Our dogs drive me crazy and often need as much attention as a 2-year-old. They have their own unique way of making their wants and needs known, plus my husband I have to plan our outings and vacations around pet needs :-(

I’ll stop at 5 because that is enough for this blog post. There may be more, but I’m sure that they fall somewhere in the categories above.

Dr. Carlson points out: “What you want to start doing is noticing your stress early, before it gets out of hand. When you feel your mind moving too quickly, it’s time to back off and regain your bearings. You’ll find that when you catch yourself getting too stressed out – early, before it gets out of control – your stress will be like the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill. When it’s small, it’s manageable and easy to control. Once it gathers momentum, however, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to stop.”

Do we want our emotions and stress rolling and gaining momentum like a snowball? Do we want to heap on more stress to see if we can “handle” it? So, what can we do to learn to lower our tolerance to stress? First learn to recognize it, as pointed out in the paragraph above. Next, back away from it (if possible), take a walk, get a glass of water, make a cup of coffee, do some “Planking” and “reevaluate what’s important rather than power through everything on your list.”

Look for alternatives. Are there some items that you can delegate to others? For example, is there another person, who can throw in a load of wash, pick up some groceries, or run an errand? Can you take one item off your list and move it to another day to get done? Can you unplug from technology for a day or half of a day and amuse your brain with something that diverts your attention and even makes you laugh? By lowering your tolerance to stress, by using the strategies to break the cycle, you will (hopefully) find that you are becoming more effective tackling those stressful items or situations and will be stressing less in the long run.

The Butterfly Effect



Lower your tolerance to stress by making a list of your stressors. Get in touch with what is really stressing you out and what importance you have given it (or them). Next, be conscious of what is stressing you and back away until you can evaluate how best to handle it, thereby taking the pressure off at the moment. Practice, practice, practice.

I look forward to your comments and insight as we continue on our path to stress less and enjoy life more!

Hello and welcome! If you are new to this blog site, or to The Don’t Sweat Adventure, please click here. Once your curiosity is satisfied, and are ready to begin, then move to the first post on May 1st.

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  1. Everytime I think I have stress under control then Wham! Tis the season to be stressed. I started out on this particular day with a great attitude listing the things I wanted to get accomplished. First I MUST work out. This alone has proven to be the greatest stress reliever in my life. The stress level after working out is near zero. Then I just can’t seem to leave well enough alone. I decide to do a little shopping at the local Wal Mart. To even consider entering that store is stressfull enough . To do the actual entering is the beginning of what is considered the “grandaddy” of all. I question my decision as I walk from my car to the door but something seems to draw me like a magnet into the store. Coupled with the fact it is a season of shopping, the day I decide to shop is the day that schools are closed because of inclimate weather.I think every mother decided on the count of three to go to Wal Mart with two or perhaps four of God’s creations.( off spring) And each mother decides to get the cart that has the wheels that drag and squeak at a decibel that has not yet been documented. Now simutaniously every mother that is in isle three decides to hollor for her children, who by the way are all in isle twelve. Between the mothers yelling for her offspring and the creatures playing dodge ball with a loaf of bread I decide that I can no longer be in the same dwelling as they are .I proceed to the check out. Ummm. Why are only three lanes open when there are two hundred and fifty people waiting to check out? Guess it is either the checkers’ lunch break or they decided that life is too short to deal with such bedlam. It took forty-five minutes to check out. The check out was a little longer because unknown to me my cart had somehow got tangled up in a sting of gloves that were hanging on the bottom of my cart. Evidently I had been dragging them around the store for the entire time. Security was called and I was cleared of any wrong doing. I only was issued a warning.

    I will not tell you what the rest of my stressful day was like. But I will tell you that I went to the Wine and Spirit store on the way home. There are two out of the four bottles of wine left. I took a deep breath and another glass of wine and was on my way to a very relaxed evening.

    Haven’t yet determined if the Book on “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is working for me but I will give it another Chapter or two.

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