7 Things Not Worth Stressing Over

Whether it’s maturity or loss, eventually, hopefully, something teaches us what is and isn’t important

by Suzanne Gerber • Next Avenue
beach meditation image
Photograph: Shutterstock

Oldest cliché in the book: There’s nothing like a serious illness or loss to shake you out of your stupor and rearrange your priorities. Or as Joni Mitchell sang, "You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone."

I remember a famous cancer doctor telling me years ago that every one of his patients said if only they’d known the relationship between what they ate and disease, they would have changed their diet overnight. So much of the world’s arts and letters and culture high and low is filled with coulda-shoulda-woulda’s.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get a glimpse of our future so we could be motivated to pay attention to the important things and make all those changes now?

Obviously we can’t (not with assurance, anyway), but there are certain things that most of us would probably benefit from. Like reducing our stress. Most medical professionals come together on this point: Stress is a factor in all major diseases.

We’re all highly aware that the farthest distance between two points is the leap from knowing something to doing it. But for me, a few recent illnesses (not mine) have acted like the world’s loudest and most unignorable wake-up call.

I’ve had a lot of quiet time to contemplate the things that just don’t matter when faced with losing someone you deeply love. And I want to turn these experiences into a positive — a big positive — where I actually do shift some priorities, stop just talking the talk, and make that giant leap to walking the walk.

Shifting Priorities

Here are 7 things I’ve determined cause undue stress in my life, and I’ve resolved to care way less about them.

Appearances: yours, mine and ours So what if I look like I just rolled out of bed? I probably did. If that’s how someone is going to judge me, I don’t think we’re going to get along anyway. The other side of that coin is being less judgmental of others’ appearances. Aren’t I usually wrong about 100 percent of the time? I resolve to look past everyone’s superficial “flaws” and discover their true essence — starting in the mirror.

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Photo courtesy of Vitaly Raduntsev/Shutterstock.com

First Published Tue, 2013-03-12 11:45

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