Like it or not, stress is a potential problem for all of us. Stress can reduce your quality of life. It can also reduce the quality of your relationships. That’s why it’s important that you learn how to avoid stress.
The key to avoid stress, I believe, is this: live with margin.
Margin is the difference between your maximum capacity and the capacity you use. Living with margin means living below your maximum capacity.
Think of your life as a bucket of water. If you fill the bucket to capacity, then even a small shock can cause the water to spill out. But if there is enough space between the surface and the top of the bucket, the water won’t spill out.
Your life is similar. If you fill your life to capacity, then even a small disturbance can stress you out. But if you live within margin, you can remain calm even when problems come.
How do we create margin then?
In essence, there are two ways to create margin:
- Increase your capacity, and
- Reduce your load.
Increasing your capacity is like having a bigger bucket, while reducing your load is like putting less water into the bucket. Both can create margin.
Let’s look at them one by one.
1. Increase your capacity.
Increasing your capacity means increasing your ability to handle responsibilities. Here are some ways to increase your capacity:
Exercise increases your physical energy, which enables you to do your tasks with focus and intensity. You can then get more done in less time.
- Have a “quiet time.”
By “quiet time,” I mean time for your spiritual routines. This could be praying, reading spiritual text, or something else that works for you.
This strengthens your purpose which, in turn, increases your work motivation.
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