I give you a new way to think about stress
No point getting stressed.
Seriously. There isn’t. Not a single point on offer.
I’ve watched my fair share of people navigate through deals and deadlines, and it really seems that as a society, we venerate stress. We admire it. We take it on board and make a nice little nest for it. We nurture it.
Now stress does serve a purpose.
Back in the day, it was a big jolt of energy, just when you needed it. Sabre toothed tiger? Charging Woolly Mammoth on heat? Angry neighbour waving his murder stick about?
Big jolt of stress and Bam! Look at you go. Practically breaking land-speed records.
Stress was super useful. It was super helpful.
These days… not so much. The number of our problems that can be solved with a big jolt of energy and sprinty legs has become very small.
But out biology hasn’t caught up. It’s still calibrated to a by-gone era.
And so now, when you’re trying to figure out whether to add another bathroom, or actually just put in a dividing wall and turn the whole thing into a duplex, stress shows up and starts throwing unhelpful suggestions around.
“Have you tried yelling at it? Have you tired running away from it? Have you tried hitting it with a murder stick?”
We, obviously, can’t do much with those suggestions, but the impulses live on in our body. The energy churns around our system, and gets caught in whirlpools in the temples, or in the neck, or in the belly, or where ever it is you hold stress.
Stress is a frustrated impulse for powerful action.
And so now we need to manage stress. And I mean manage stress in the same way that we manage our weight.
Like our stress system, our digestive system is calibrated to a by-gone era – when energy-rich food was scarce, and it was useful to store fat for leaner times.
These days, many of us are learning to consciously manage our caloric input so our digestive systems don’t wreak havoc on our health (or so we just look awesome in skinny jeans).
In the same way, we need to consciously manage our stress system – we need to be selective about the stresses we take on, be judicious in the way we respond to stress, and colonic in the way we purge stress from the system.
This is a revolution.
It wasn’t that long ago that nobody used to think about their weight. People weren’t fussed about what they ate, the concept of a ‘balanced meal’ didn’t exist, and people didn’t go to gyms to try and burn energy like a little hamster in lyrca.
Now, this stuff is the norm. It’s in the collective consciousness. We understand the causes of obesity, and we know what tools are available to us, even if we’re not doing our best to use them.
I predict that oneday stress will take a similar place in the collective consciousness too. We will all know what kind of impact stress can have on the body, we will know how to avoid situations that are likely to cause stress, and we will have systems and institutions to help us de-stress.
Like Aerobics Oz Style. It’ll be like Meditation Oz Style, or something.
But for that to happen, we need to see stress for the evil it currently is. And I don’t think we’re there yet.
We’re still at a stage where we think stressed-out is normal, and almost the ideal.
If we see someone who isn’t stressed out – who is just blissfully happy – then we think that must be either a bit simple, or a bit unimportant.
“Stressed people are busy, productive and important. That’s why they’re stressed.”
Stressed people are people who haven’t learnt to consciously manage their stress-system yet.
And right now, that’s most of us.