The 80/20 rule is an excellent tool to help with reducing stress and understanding the causes of stress in our lives. The 80/20 Rule or Pareto Principle is a principle that sums up the idea that the majority of any output will come from the minority of any input. In each situation, the numbers will vary, slightly, but the overall idea holds true in most situations in life.
In business, for example, 80% of your sales success will come from 20% of your customers and 80% of your customer service problems will come from 20% of your customers. Any business program will strongly suggest that you heavily nurture the top 20% of customers because they are worth 80% of your sales, but you must also ensure the bottom 20% of customers are well-managed because they spend the least amount of money but they will also drain 80% of your resources.
To review this concept from a wellness perspective consider that 80% of your health and wellness problems will come from 20% of your stress and lifestyle choices or 80% of your health and wellness success will come from 20% of your wellness efforts.
If you think about the 80/20 Rule in terms of something obvious like smoking, you’ll agree that 80% of your health challenges can be caused by something, seemingly small, like smoking.
But, what about reducing stress? Can 80% of your stress and resulting health challenges be caused by just a couple of problem areas in your life? If you consider the domino effect, it certainly could be true. A seemingly small trigger can launch a series of problems, one leading to the other in each getting bigger in turn. Perhaps reducing stress or even eliminating stress altogether begins with simply identifying the small problem areas that got the whole thing started.
Consider the prescription drug fallacy. People take prescription drugs to deal with medical problems. The drug solves the first problem (in many cases, this is something relatively small), but taking these drugs may cause another problem, so the person takes another drug to address the side effects of the first drug and so on down the domino line it goes.
At no time, though, has the person engaged in any problem solving exercise or tried out a problem solving process to ensure the drugs were even needed in the first place.
A very common version of the situation is the use of drugs to manage diseases like depression or ADD/ADHD. Both of these illnesses are well known to originate in lifestyle choices, particularly diet, and each is easily solved by making simple lifestyle changes, but taking drugs seems to be easier, so we do it. In fact, reducing stress has been proven to have a big impact on solving problems with most, if not all, types of diseases and disorders.
Severe depression can easily steal 80% of our quality of life and oftentimes the root issue that caused the problem is quite easily solved and is probably very small. Maybe it is a lost dream that has snowballed into a feeling of total failure. Going back to beginning in revisiting the dream may solve the whole wellness challenge but we don’t do it. We feel powerless and so we turn to drugs.
Reducing stress and solving the wellness challenge is a combat sport, in many ways, and you have to want wellness "in your gut. You have to stop compromising.