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Got Tension?

Do you have tension in your life?

Let’s see. Between economic uncertainty, job pressures, and the multitude of circumstances competing for your attention, I’d say it’s a safe bet that we all experience the daily tugs of tension.

And that is a good thing.

Tension is natural, normal, and a vital component of a healthy, enjoyable, prosperous life. The key is to distinguish between the helpful, positive tensions that pull us forward toward improvement and the negative, destructive tensions that sabotage success and happiness.

As Glinda, the Witch of the North, asked Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?”, we should ask the same of the tension in our lives. Is it good tension or bad tension?

Bad Tension

Bad tension may manifest in our lives as stress, strain, or sickness. The prolonged presence of these negative elements can take an enormous toll, manifesting in serious physical ailments or depression.

You need to diffuse the negative tensions in your life. Recognize and reject them. And note that, in many cases, these factors are self-inflicted — a byproduct of our thinking, our actions, and our indecision.

Stress: (n) a biological term, meaning “The consequences of the failure of a human or animal to respond appropriately to emotional or physical threats.”

It is not the circumstances or threats that bring about stress. It is our failure to act!

You must take action to diffuse or remove the bad tension in your life.

  1. Engage in physical exercise.
  2. Breathe deeply and purposefully.
  3. Make the decisions you have been forestalling.
  4. Refuse to accept the burdens that you know will bring about unwanted, negative tension.
  5. Replace bad tension with good tension.

Good Tension

Tension can be a positive force that helps you understand your relationship relative to others and to life’s events, challenges, opportunities, and questions. As the “magnitude” of the opportunity or challenge increases, so will the tension. For example:

  • The tug of competing forces (pros and cons) provides clarity relative to your position.
  • The pull of a compelling opportunity draws you forward into uncertainty.
  • The desire to become better causes you to put forth extra effort, learn, and improve your abilities.
  • The connection you feel with others (a force created through communication, understanding, and shared experiences) serves as a guide or comfort when you are physically separate or pursuing different agendas.

When the tension is increased  it may stir your emotions and generate some uncertainty. This, too, is normal and natural. You may notice that your existing doubts become harder to overlook. Your fears inflame. Your beliefs and abilities become tested.

I say bring it on! Even then, it is not only possible to relax and embrace uncertainty. It is a mandate!

When the stakes are real and immediate you can turn your tension into a heightened focus. Build the confidence to overshadow your doubts. It’s not as though they will go away completely. But doubts can drift into the background noise just long enough for you to take the next purposeful step down your own version of a “yellow brick road.”

Keep leaning forward,


  • This blog is just what I needed to hear. Not what I WANTED to hear – but definitely what I needed. I think you understand the difference!

    Around the Holidays, I think its even harder to make tough, life-changing/enhancing decisions because nobody wishes to initiate conflict or shake-up comfortable surroundings. If only we could accept that fear precedes great acts of opportunity.

  • Foluke Areola says:

    Thanks Dan. Great! Henceforth, I am going to refuse to accept burdens that I know will bring about unwanted, negative tension and appreciate the positive force of a GOOD TENSION.

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