It recently occurred to me that we can generate a lot of unnecessary stress by placing too much importance on relatively minor events in our lives.
During the gas crisis in the 70’s, and several times since, neighborhood gas stations lowered their prices by, say 20 cents per gallon. They did it for the publicity, and cars were lined up around the block to take advantage of the low prices. C’mon, people… if you buy 20 gallons of gas and save 20 cents per gallon, you’re looking to save $4.00. (Less, of course, the cost of the gasoline that you use going out of your way to get to the sale and then waiting in line.)
Think about the stress that that causes. Will I get there on time? Will there be a long line? Should I leave earlier? Will I be late for work if the line is too long? I have to drop the kids off at school so should I get the gas before or after? Jeez, the line is moving so slowly; am I going to get out of here on time?
The real question is whether that stress is worth the less-than-$4.00 you are going to save. I think not.
The Oscars are coming up soon and we never miss it. But we have a wedding to go to that day and we’ll have to rush home. If the reception runs late we will be antsy to leave. Sure, we could record it but we like to watch it live. Is it worth the stress of chomping at the bit to hit the road, and then stress about possible traffic and other delays? I think not. We’ll record it.
You have a special friend that promised to call you at a certain time. This call is very important because, to you, it reveals how much they care about you and whether the relationship will progress. Anticipation of the call is very high which is stressful by itself. The appointed time comes and goes without a call, and now you are feeling rejected and are losing hope that this person really does care. More stress. But really, does the call really mean what you think it means and if they didn’t call is that the reason or were there extenuating circumstances? The more importance you place on this call, the more stress you will have waiting for it and dealing with the aftermath if things don’t work out the way you hope.