Stress is a pet topic for psychologists, an uninvited but long-settled guest in our home.
People leading the usual work-home-work lifestyle seem to have lost any hope of evicting that guest, and are trying to learn to live with it. There are heaps of articles on “stress management,” “stress reduction,” and “surviving a stressful environment.”
Stress is a normal part of life – do some yoga to keep your stress down!
Great. We can’t even imagine any other way to live. By forty, this guest is joined by warning medical tests as another “normal” part of life; by sixty, it’s pushing us out of our home and into a hospital bed or a graveyard.
Let’s change the way we look at things.
Stress is not a normal part of life. Stress is a killer.
Slowly but surely, it burns away our most important inner defense: the immune system.
In the natural world, stress is useful for getting away from danger quickly and effectively. The burst of energy required to escape danger is followed by a long recovery period.
But living in stress is unnatural. Living with stress means we’re constantly running away from some threat with little chance to rest or recover.
What kind of threat are you running from?
Take a close look at your day. Where does your stress come from, and how?
If you feel tired at the end of your working day, you’re already putting yourself under stress; reconsider how you spread your energy throughout the day, and see what you’re treating as a threat. Is it your workload? Your boss? The situation at the office? Wrong job?
If you’re telling yourself it’s time for a vacation, you’ve gone too far; you need to make deep changes in your life. I’ll say it again: what you need isn’t a vacation, but deep changes in your life. Go ahead and take that vacation, but come back to a different life.
If you’ve started feeling unwell, whether in mind (depression or anxiety) or body, you should stop doing what you’re doing right away.
Don’t hide behind the excuse of debts, children, or habits. Don’t lie to yourself, thinking things will get better tomorrow. Don’t look at everyone else living the same way, don’t follow the herd off a cliff.
Your sacrifices aren’t necessary. Go ahead and ask your loved ones what’s more important to them: your health or your money? Your smile or your debts?
Stress says you’re lying to yourself. That’s the one and only thing stress is good for. It’s a “Wrong Way” sign. It tells you you’re lost.
There’s nothing to be scared of. Just stop and take a deep breath. The good news is that your unique path is still ahead of you. Your purpose in life remains to be discovered, the most interesting part of your life is waiting on your doorstep.
Is there life after stress?
Imagine your life stress-free. You are not tired though you can work 12 hours a day. You can’t wait to get into the office each day and you get a lot done. You don’t have mood swings. Every night, you happily tell your partner about your day. You don’t want a vacation in order to rest, but in order to find new sources of inspiration.
Stress-free living: I’ve tried it, and it’s working. Now it’s the only way of life for me. You can try it too, and take a next step to your life fully lived.