For most of my life I didn’t know there was a switch. I’d made a few half-hearted attempts to deal with the issue, but these usually involved some sort of medication, (well, let’s be honest - alcohol).  It never occurred to me that there was a master switch that would turn it off, so I never tried to look for it.

My switch is the music of James Taylor and Carole King.

When I think of all those times when I was held up in traffic jams on the A303, waiting on hold to be connected to an overseas call centre or sitting in Outpatients trying (and failing) to understand why once again the doctor was running late, it never occurred to me that I could just switch off the stress I was experiencing.

Do I want to arrive for an appointment a bit late but calm and relaxed, or do I want to arrive a bit late, wound up and irritated? There’s no contest is there?

For many people, perhaps most, the default decision is to accept stress as a normal reaction, but is this because they are choosing to be stressed? I have a little electric pump in my chest that reminds me about the consequences of stress, so now I just decide not to be stressed. It’s not going to work every time, but the more frequently I make this decision for simple problems, the easier it becomes.

I know that some people reading this will say, ‘I work best under pressure’ or perhaps ‘you have no idea of what I have to put up with’, well to these people I have a simple message, stop reading and turn the page – you are a lost cause. There you go, as easy as that. I am not stressed that you choose to ignore me. It’s actually not important to me, but on the other hand, before you criticise me, why not give it a go.

You may feel that you have to win the argument, get to the front of the queue, or correct some sort of injustice you have experienced, that’s fine, carry on, you are obviously a very important person.

But, when you have a moment to yourself, find the switch that works for you.

Just Zen It.