Last week I was speaking at an evening event for a business organisation – the topic was Reconnection and Mindfulness in life and work. We got involved in the discussion on stress and how this is produced both physically and psychologically and of course spoke of work stresses .. it was a financial institution so end of tax year was a real trigger and avoiding fines by completion to deadlines .. and so on …. and it got me really thinking ..
Thinking about stress , the way we use the word to describe almost everything that pushes us slightly out of our comfort zone and the fact that stress is totally a concept we in our modern , safe world have designed.. that for many stress is only relevant to their world and in the greater scheme of things no real harm is done … and yet we remained fixated on stress.
If you think about individuals living in much more difficult circumstances , fighting for survival , hunting for food , living in war-torn cities , living with chronic or terminal illness .. we would hand on heart say yes that is stress and actually you didn’t choose it – you didn’t look for it – it came upon you and you needed to work through it.
But interestingly for those individuals who are not living in these conditions it appears that a large proportion of humans still actively seek to bring stress in to their world.
For clients there is the point in which stress comes upon them due to past events which did cause stress and having not processed these, emotions crop up at totally -unrelated times – causing feelings of stress about the stress or anxiety – help to move forward is needed here.
For some it’s a career choice where again there is life and death situations to handle – individuals will have a clear view of why they choose to do this – to help others and potentially to alleviate stress for others whilst taking on stress for themselves .
Then there’s the next stage where we really don’t have any life or death situations but we still feel stressed and look to create it – I do this all the time – I am a procrastinator , a last-minute dot-com girl – proud of the fact I never miss a deadline but, take everything up to wire .. and provide myself with a whole load of stress which can often keep me awake at night … why do we do this? .. why not plan ahead? .. what is it that pushes me to do this almost every time .. could it be, we are in fact, addicted to stress and have a need and desire for this which we believe allows us to function?
We know that in stress we produce different chemicals in our brain .. adrenalin is a key factor in this .. the waves of adrenalin mixed with excitement or fear can give us an edge , produce focus, allow us to push through barriers … we know that part of our brain is totally focused on keeping us safe – pointing our hidden dangers and ensuring we are in survival mode …. and yet for many of us again this part of the brain is not really needed on a regular basis. Our world is comfort led – the proverbial saber tooth tiger is no longer lurking behind a rock.
We see people talking of giving up the stressful life and looking for ways to drop out and live a mindful and peaceful life .. and yet this can cause them to be stressed – the ability to slow down an uncomfortable position in itself. .. and of course we get competitive about stress. Conversations about who is run ragged during their day , who works the longest , whose children are the most to handle and have the most clubs and biggest social life..and finally there is this world the digital world – a world in which we share our happiest times .. and develop comparitonitus so we can be stressed at how well everyone else is doing.
I am coming to the conclusion that stress is something we subconsciously seek , that if we were to be given a stress free world we would create concepts and deadlines and rules against which we could measure our stress – almost as if being stressed has become a comfort , a norm that we strive to hold onto …. the question is can we truly as humans alleviate stress from our lives .. and the bigger question is .. do we even want to ?
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If you need support for stress , anxiety , OCD , Depression or general well-being and confidence drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.