Let’s look at what Stephen Covey has to say about Stimulus – Response. “While the word proactivity is now fairly common in management literature, it is a word you won’t find in most dictionaries. It means more than merely taking initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions.
“Look at the word responsibility – the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people
recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.
“Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment. If the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn’t, it affects their attitude and their performance. Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them.”
How does this relate to stress, anxiety, and depression? You can choose to be reactive or proactive, as shown by the charts below we saw in the last posting.
A Reactive Person
STIMULUS > RESPONSE
A Proactive Person
STIMULUS > CHOICE >RESPONSE
Reactive people are thrown around in a storm, victim to whatever stressful stimulus is thrown at them from the physical world or their own thinking and emotions. They are controlled from the outside in and are always vulnerable to excessive stress and thus depression.
Proactive people carry their meaning within themselves. They are controlled from the inside out and are able to control their stress level by their value system (such as, God controls my life; these stressful things don’t) and their thinking, and are able to keep anxiety and depression at bay. So the key to controlling your stress is in your thinking. It is not important what happens to you; it’s important what you think happens to you. You have the power to think in a different way. Changing your thinking can profoundly change your life.