First, you have to be able to look past what an awful person she was.

Forget, for a moment, the trespassing. Forget the porridge-thieving. Forget the chair-breaking, and forget the falling asleep in Baby Bear’s bed… at the root of the Goldilocks story is a very important lesson: In all things, there is exists a sweet-spot. It’s not too much, it’s not too little. It’s just enough.

I’ve been thinking about Goldilocks a lot recently, as her tale of breaking and entering relates to stress.

When you feel like life is demanding far more of you than you have the capacity to deal with, the result is distress. It’s a horrible feeling. It makes your hair fall out. It makes your heart weak. It makes you snap at your loved ones. It makes life unbearable. It’s like playing tennis against Rafael Nadal.

On the other end of the spectrum, though, when it feels as though life is demanding basically nothing of you, the result is boredom. When things are too easy, or we are too comfortable for too long, we grow soft. We get weaker. It’s like playing tennis against a five year old.

The sweet-spot we are looking for lies somewhere in-between these two extremes.

It’s called eustress. This is where life is presenting us with challenges, but challenges we can handle, and that we grow stronger as we rise to. We might win sometimes, we might lose sometimes, but whatever the result, we feel engaged and present. Like playing tennis against someone who is ever-so-slightly better than you. Keeping you on your toes.

If life feels stressful, go easy on yourself. If it feels boring, set yourself a new challenge. If it feels brilliant all the time, let me know your secrets.

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