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How to Use the 80/20 Principle to Reduce Stress

The 80/20 rule popularly known as the Pareto Principle was born by an Italian, Vilfredo Pareto, after observing that approximately 20% of the people living in Italy owned an


astonishing 80% of the wealth. It reflected a simple symmetry of inequality then, and the principle gradually spread to other areas of life, particularly stress relief. According to Pareto, 80% of any output comes from 20% of any input. From a wellness perspective, 80% of your health problems will come from 20% of the lifestyle choices you make. Smoking, for example, is one of many small choices that may cause many health problems. When it comes to stress something that seems trivial would be enough to trigger significant problems in some people. Someone might say something about your appearance thinking it is a joke but if you take it to heart, chances are that it will weigh heavily on your mind. To deal with the negative thoughts you may run to the bar or club for a drink but end up spending money meant for your bills. Later you might have to lie, and the domino effect of stress continues. Depression easily steals 80% of one’s quality of life and most often, we fail to realize that the root cause is not what people say but low self-esteem. Simply working on your confidence would be the 20% thing you need to do to avoid stress. In today’s society, people with depression or ADHD quickly turn to drugs in a bid to manage the situation but if you were to follow the 80/20 principle, the dependency on drugs would be diminished. Attention deficit problems, stress, and depression are usually because of lifestyle choices so the simple solution would be to make changes to the foods you eat, and how you work out and find ways to improve your outlook on life, even get a life coach or seek therapy from a competent therapist. Anyone can use Pareto’s principle to reduce stress, especially during the festive season, Valentines’ Day, children’s birthday, or the anniversary of a parent's death when there are countless matters to attend to. Try making two columns of things that bring you stress and those that bring you joy. If for example, you find that shopping causes you a great deal of anxiety, have someone else do it for you so you can focus on activities that bring happiness. Trying to impress others is one of the reasons why many people feel dejected, rejected, and unwanted. In line with Pareto’s principle, you should protect the 80% that encompasses happiness and well-being by invoking positive thoughts and embracing simple solutions to big problems.

To your success,

William J. McClelland CLC, CNC, MPNLP

Disclaimer: Please understand that the content of this article is not meant to replace the advice of a licensed physician. The information provided here is intended as educational material only and should never be interpreted as medical advice. If you feel your condition is a medical emergency, please immediately contact your physician or mental healthcare professional.

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