In life we come across a whole myriad of different kinds of situations, each requiring us to respond in different ways. Not knowing how to address the different vicissitudes of life is a cause for much of the difficulty in it. There isn’t a single clear cut solution to all your problems but there are guidelines that can help. One such guideline is to simply not react to a situation by panicking or getting stressed (if you can help it).

A certain study[1] has shown that 85% of the things people worried about simply do not happen. Furthermore, of the 15% of events that do come to pass, 79% of subjects found that they either were able to handle the situation better than expected or that they learned a valuable lesson from it. This makes 97% of all fears and worries essentially invalid.

This is not to say that when you have a problem, you should simply ignore it. By all means solve your problems and take steps to mitigate them. But how stressed out do you have to feel to do this? I believe the answer to this is not at all.

When a problem arises, you will find yourself in two possible situations:

  1. There are things you can do to address the problem
  2. There is nothing obvious you can do to address the problem

If you can identify things you can do to help address the problem, then there is no need to stress or panic. Simply do what you need to do step by step.

If there is nothing you can do to address a problem, then stressing about it or panicking about it won’t help either. In fact, being in a stressed mindset will make it likely you will make it worse.


There is no right time to be stressed.

  1. I originally heard this quote at a meditation retreat, it was referred to by the Tibetan Lama Sogyal Rinpoche. I have since tried to track down the source of the study it was taken from and it seems to be from a book called “The Worry Cure” by Robert L. Leahy. ↩︎