The Stress-Hope Teeter Totter

Why do you want to annihilate stress? The best reason for annihilating stress is because when you are in a stressful situation, you lose hope. You lose focus on your goals. If you are a business professional responsible for bringing in new business, you may feel you want to give up.

Stress and hope sit at opposite ends of a teeter totter.

Do you remember when you where a small child playing on a playground at school. Many schools provided equipment for exercise. One of these pieces of equipment was a teeter totter. A teeter totter or seesaw as it is known in some places is simply a board balancing on a fulcrum with a place to sit at each end.

Two children sit on a teeter totter with the heaviest child sitting first in order for the lighter child to take a seat on the other end to balance out the load. They alternatively shift their weight to cause their seat on the teeter totter to go up and down.

Stress and hope work the same way as the two children conducting the balancing act on the teeter totter. Stress or fear as it is more accurately defined, and hope, or goals as it is more accurately portrayed, sit at opposite ends of the teeter totter.

As one end goes up the other end goes down. As stress increases its end goes higher in the air and hope goes down. As hope climbs higher in the air, stress goes down. Stress and fear are always opposing hope and goals.

It seems accurate that we need to annihilate stress and fear in order to elevate our hope and our goals.

I remember the movie the “Shawshank Redemption” where the wrongly imprisoned character, Andy, told the other inmates that hope was something no one could take away from you. He said “hope is a good thing, maybe the only thing.”

We begin our lives here on earth, knowing that we could die or be incapacitated at any moment. This is why stress or fear is always near the surface of our thoughts. The major thing that keeps us going is “hope;” hope for good health, hope for enjoyable relationships, hope for positive achievements and hope for enough money to pay for all of our desires.

To the degree that we can diminish stress and fear, we can elevate our goals and elevate hope. Is it difficult to keep hope alive while eliminating stress and fear? Yes it is difficult.

Fear is always appealing to our senses. Advertisers for example focus on our fears.

I remember an automobile commercial that started out by two guys arguing in the car and then an accident ensued. The two men were okay but shaken up visibly by the accident. Anyone watching the commercial can identify with the fear and stress associated with the accident.

Television newscasts focus on several fearful, stress causing events before they get to the sports news, business news or weather. Viewers become hooked on these stressful situations as they arrive home from work and while watching television.

Through all of our entertainment options we observe stress and fear. Words to incite fear are abundant in our spectator sports.

Think about the words and phrases you hear by sports commentators. Think about words and phrases like, “sudden death,” “elimination round,” “Yankees murder Red Sox,” “Spurs defeat Suns.”

The overwhelming majority of sports fans are affected by these terms because they are supporting “losing teams.” There is usually only one world champion in any given sport, meaning all of the rest of the sports fans “feel stress and the agony of defeat.” We experience the other end of the teeter totter as we lose hope.

Do you think we may carry some of this loss of hope into our jobs and our personal lives?

We are so used to being motivated by fear and stress that even our leisure time activities reflect it. Isn’t that a shame?

Always remember these statements: “When we are playing on the teeter totter, stress is at one end and hope is at the other end.” “We need to develop a quiet confidence to move our minds and bodies in the direction of hope.”

What is your ultimate goal? Where do you want to be in five years? If you could time travel to a place in your life five years from now and look back at today, what would you tell yourself about today. How important are the stressful situations you face right now in your life? Would today even be that important in your overall success? Five years into the future, would you still be thinking about your favorite sports teams’ loss of five years ago, or the price of gasoline?

Think about what life will be like five years into the future. Think about your victories, your goals and your hope.

The Teeter Totter Exercise:

Take three slow deep breaths. As you inhale slowly, breathe deeply from the bottom of your lungs. Before you exhale, hold your breath for a few moments and then exhale very slowly. Push all of the tension out of your lungs.

See yourself on the teeter totter flying higher in the air. Think about hope. Think about your specific goals and feel in your mind, your heart and your body that you have already achieved your goals.


Stress and hope are constantly competing on your teeter totter of life. Stress always equals fear and hope always equals your goals. Use the teeter totter exercise daily and you will take a huge step to annihilate stress and propagate hope.

Source by Wayne Perkins

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