Under such pressure, it is easy to lose your cool and “go bananas.” To avoid stressing out, there are plenty of things you can do: meditate, run, take a nap, and so forth. But taking the time for that once your mind is in “banana-mode” is not easy. And it may only help you calm down for a moment. Because as soon as you’re going back to your usual business, the stress may come in again.
Therefore, I’d like to share eight things you can do to attack some of the root causes of “going bananas”:
- Look For The Truth: In this age of fake news and alternative facts, it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction. Taking things for true at face value can easily make you “go bananas” about things that simply aren’t true. Therefore, always try to check whether or not what you see or hear is really true.
- Look For Nuance And Perspective: The information that gets easiest to you isn’t usually the most nuanced and it often just reflects one perspective. To avoid “going bananas”, it is useful to always look for nuance and alternative perspectives. Life isn’t black and white. It comes in full color high definition.
- Do With Less: Another source of stressing out is always striving for more. Whether it is information, attention, stuff, money, health or anything thing else that we can obtain and gather, it is tempting to always want more. But this desire creates more stress as well. Therefore, try to do with less.
- Go For Real Experience: How often do you take the time to really immerse yourself into one experience at the time with all your senses? I hardly do. Instead I multitask: listen to music while writing, drive my car and talk, think about my plans for tomorrow while walking in the forest, etc. Focusing on one experience at a time is far less stressful.
- Accept Negatives: It sometimes seems we are living in a “happiness society” where all sadness, fear, pain and risk needs to be avoided or resolved instantly. But these are just as much part of life than the positives. Accepting that and stopping the quest for only happiness can be quite relaxing.
- Don’t Try To Be Special: A great source of “going bananas” is trying to be something you are not. It is easy to lose yourself in a rat race trying to be better in something or to be unique and exceptional. Resisting that temptation can be quite liberating and significantly reduce stress.
- Don’t Look At Others: It is easy to lose yourself in trying to be like other people—friends, family, pop stars or anyone else. And it is also easy to stress out by thinking about what they would think of you or what they would do. So don’t. Look at yourself and try to be yourself. That is much less stressful.
- Take Responsibility. It is easy to blame others for your stress—our boss, our family, school, the media, government, and so on. Even though they may be an important cause of stress, at the end you can only do something about how you deal with that. Trying to change them, just creates more stress. Therefore, take responsibility and look at what you can do differently.
Of course, trying to solve some of the root causes of “going bananas” in this way, is no guarantee for a stressless and happy life (see point 5 above). But it can help. And it is much easier said than done. But it can be done. How? The nine-step approach against “going bananas” outlined in my previous article should help. And for a more comprehensive explanation, you can also have a look at my new book “No More Bananas: How To Keep Your Cool in the Collective Madness.”
This post was published earlier here on my forbes.com page.
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