Is Life too Stressful? A Different Take on Handling Stress

There’s a lot of people in this world who feel ‘stressed.’ PicsArt camera app

Many of us have attended workshops titled ‘What is stress?’,  ‘How to handle stress’ etc. They offer basic  practical tips, but do they really address our underlying behaviours and motivation, or why we might react in this way?  With a little reading, I discovered a different way of looking at, and handling, stress.

Marc and Angel recently posted on their blog about the thinking processes behind one’s own personal feelings of stress.  They believe that ultimately it is one’s own behaviour, (not good luck or lack thereof), that impacts most, on whether a person feels happy and successful, or not.  By ‘behaviour’, Marc and Angel are referring to:

How you react under stress.  Whether you decide to meet your commitments or not.  How you communicate and interact with loved ones.  Your attitude toward bosses, colleagues, employees, and customers.  How hard you’re willing to work to do a job right.  Whether you’re focused and disciplined or scattered-brained and distracted.

Some people certainly have more than their share of bad luck; others may experience a lack of opportunity, in life, through circumstances totally out of their control, and this of course, will impact on their stress levels, and how their life pans out.  Others might manage to cope and even be successful for a time, muddling through, until the pressures in their personal, or professional lives build and boil over into feelings of STRESS. It is then they might find they react with self-destructive behaviors, or other actions that cause them even more personal grief. These behaviours often affect those closest to them in a very detrimental way. Do you recognize any of the commonly beliefs or behaviours that may trigger stress, outlined below?

Belief 1

“It is all too hard! I don’t have time”

Do you believe life is too hard for/on you?  Is it too hard to find time to exercise or get fit, resolve conflicts with loved ones, spend with your family, or follow-up on an opportunity? Marc and Angel believe that “You are where you are because of the choices you’ve made in the past.”  It really is just as easy to develop good habits as bad ones.

All of us make a choice to go online, watch TV, or spend time with the family; we also have the choice to work on a special project, go to the gym or further our education, and even the choice to show kindness and concern to those around us, just as much as we have the choice to sit, sleep in, or chill out and let things slide.

It takes around three full weeks to begin to develop a new habit and building a new habit, every day, IS hard work. However, hard work pays off and this has to be a personal choice one consciously makes, and that choice is relatively easy. It might be even easier for you to think that life has thrown you a curve ball and that this effectively prevents you having any choice in the matter. If you do happen to think this, ask yourself if you really want to put in the hard yards to effect real change in your life? Then hang in there for the three weeks, and see if it is easier to keep it going, after that. Develop a habit that will help you deal with your inner stress. Use a star chart/reward system or whatever works for you. The first day you miss, in those first three weeks, might break the whole habit, so hang in there and persist!!

Belief 2

“It’s Not My Fault” – Shifting the blame

When we consider our motives and those of others, we often look for who is at fault and this inadvertently causes stressful feelings in us, because we feel it is unfair/unjust. Some of us blame family, friends, parents, teachers, the education system, work bosses, even the government. Many times I have been guilty of this very thing, yet I like to believe I am the one who is in full control of how I choose to deal with my life! So how can I blame external people or things for taking the ‘responsibility’ for my personal actions? I can’t as I am the one with that responsibility. If I want to grow and move on with my life, I have to accept responsibility for the whole of my life, as the only person that can really do this is ME. This gives me choice and with it, the confidence to tackle life’s crises, as opposed to feeling stressed that everything negative that happens in my life, is completely out of my control.

 “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”  [Sigmund Freud]Don’t let this be you.

When you blame others for what you’re going through, you deny responsibilityyou surrender full power over that part of your life.  In reality, the price of happiness and success IS responsibility.  And no one else is responsible for you. [Marc and Angel]*Europe 2011second batch 016

 

Belief 3

People Can’t be Trusted

I know a few people who find it extremely hard to fully trust anyone. Of course, some level of discernment is a natural defense mechanism that we use to protect ourselves, but most successful people don’t assume that the world is out to ‘get’ them.  They are relatively trusting of others to do the right thing/task. In doing this, they build up a supportive community around them, by conveying trust by their words and actions.

Contrast this with someone who is suspicious and distrusting of others, who must do or verify everything themself. These are people who are full of negativity and this closes the door to any new friendships and possibilities. This belief causes loads of stress and physical fatigue, as they attempt to analyze the intentions of those they interact with, on a daily basis. This self-destructive behaviour, which they falsely believe will protect them, will in fact cause them anxiety and stress.

Trust grows trust. Distrust breeds suspicion. There  are many more good people than bad in this world. You are one of them.

Belief 4 

Others seem to Manage

Comparing our situation with other people’s, seems to not only elevate stress levels, but also makes us feel less competent, in an instant.

Marc and Angel explain this one better than I can:

Don’t let envy (or jealousy) get the best of you.  Envy is the art of counting someone else’s blessings instead of your own – there’s nothing attractive or admirable about this behavior.  So stop comparing your journey with everyone else’s.  Your journey is YOUR journey, NOT a competition.  You are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself.  You are competing to be the best you can be.  If you want to measure your progress, compare yourself to who you were yesterday.*

Belief 5

Expectations – they ‘should’ have …

Expectations breed disappointment and stress. Has anyone ever felt every expectation was fully met? I doubt it. Many conversations  I hear, revolve around working out why others around them have said, or did, this or that and what the others, in their opinion, should have done. These “shoulds” are statement that are difficult or near impossible to fulfill. Try not to have expectations of others. Rather, believe that most people are out there, trying to ‘be’ the best they can be, with what they have got, and with the information to hand, at that very moment in time.  It may not be right, we might not agree with it, but we cannot expect any more than this.

A Final Word

Life is Dynamic, full of change, drama and is often unpredictable. It can be scary, but the universe has a plan and it is always in motion. This is beautifully summed up by these wise words from Marc and Angel:

Some of the great moments in your life won’t necessarily be the things you do; they’ll be things that happen to you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life.  You have to take action, and you will.  But don’t forget that on any day, you can step out the front door and your whole life can change in an instant – for better or worse.  To an extent, the universe has a plan that’s always in motion.  A butterfly flaps its wings and it starts to rain – it’s a scary thought, but it’s part of life’s cycle.  All these little parts of the machine, constantly working – sometimes forcing you to struggle, and sometimes making sure you end up exactly in the right place at the right time.*

Questioning our underlying beliefs may assist in reducing the extent to which we feel stressed and this, in turn, may help us to modify those undesirable behaviours that can be destructive. Eliminating expectations and comparisons with others, might change how we ourselves react to stressful feelings, and gives us confidence to take responsibility for our own life. Developing new habits to deal with stress, takes persistence, but carries with it a multitude of benefits.IMG_9148

 

 

How we can handle Stress is Something to Ponder About

Advertisements

About Forestwoodfolk

Scandinavian culture, literature and traditions are close to my heart, even though I am Australian. I have Scandinavian, Frisian and Prussian/Silesian ancestry and for that reason, I feel a connection with that part of the world. I am an avid Nordic Crime fiction reader, and enjoy photography, writing and a variety of cooking and crafts, and traditional decorative art forms. Politically aware and egalitarian by nature, I have a strong environmental bent.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, behaviour, Community, depression, Health, Mental Health, Motivational, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Is Life too Stressful? A Different Take on Handling Stress

  1. Yes, but how to handle the stress of uninmaginable grief? The grief of losing ones children for instance? Can you imagine children going overseas never to be seen again?

    Like

    • I don’t feel qualified to comment on this kind of stress or this kind of unimaginable grief, Gerard. I cannot and hope I never have to face the thought of losing a child, in any way, shape or form. Someone close to me has lost 3 out of her 6 children and she has made her way forward in life after these three separate tragedies. The ache for her gets less with time, I think, but one would never ever get completely over it. It would be a daily living memory and I think would require professional help. I am merely posting some simple tips people can incorporate in their everyday lives, if possible. Do you have any suggestions as to how they might cope?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would think it best to remember the good and loving times together.and with time it will become more bearable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. M-R says:

    Expectations – so rarely met as to cause me never to have any.
    “Some of the great moments in your life won’t necessarily be the things you do; they’ll be things that happen to you. That doesn’t mean you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life. You have to take action, and you will.”
    Did you post this with me in mind ? she asked egotistically. 😀

    Like

  4. Tara says:

    An interesting and well written post. I’ve bookmarked it so I can go through it in more detail later.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. milliethom says:

    You’ve presented some very valid and thought-provoking points in this, Amanda, and written it all so well. I agree with all you say and have always believed that ‘You are where you are because of the choices you’ve made in the past.’ I now need to read this all through again to make sure I haven’t missed any important points. Very interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. lulu says:

    One of the good things about aging is that I feel less stress, but maybe that is because life treats me well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that is true, Lulu, but there I feel a different kind of stress, or perhaps it is different triggers? Aging is fantastic in many ways as it makes you wonder why you worried about such trivial things. Time teaches us that everything, like bad weather and trouble, passes. Thank you for commenting!

      Like

  7. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing their ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Leya says:

    Very interesting post indeed. I am often stressed, but know why, and I have finally decided to stop being a teacher. This term will be my last one. It’s not easily done…those big decisions.
    I have sent you on the mail – and hopefully on the correct address!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh! This is a big decision but I am thinking that quality of life is the most important thing for you now? Will you look for other employment? Or retire to blog, photography and other leisure pursuits? And I have received your email. Takk saa mycket!

      Like

    • Leya says:

      I will send you the rest now – as it works! No, I will retire to leisure pusuits and I want to learn more about photography. I also plan to take up my painting again – and reading all those books lying around the house…Travelling again. Now together with my husband more – joining in when he is lecturing on his travels. I believe I am at least as good as he is at photographing… My old mother will also get more time and so will my dog. Oh, there is no ending for my plans…and of course I will be a back-up at school if they want me.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds delightful. And your mum will like that she sees you, as will your four legged friend. Thanks for the photos… they are just wonderful and excellent choices.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.